Marketing efforts and events don’t bring the so much needed leads as used to be.
Sales are decreasing.
Revenue decreases, costs remain the same and the outlook is not very promising.
The CEO feels the heat of the financial pressure: the need to have enough revenue to pay the bills to keep the company going.
The CEO goes into sales due to recession
As he is very proud of himself for his achievements in his early days in his career in Sales or as founder of the company, he takes the decision to address himself customers and find potential customers. He has done it before so he must be able to succeed.
He will show his sales people that he can generate leads and close deals even during these harsh recession times. He will show them how to sell.
Self confident he starts to call his customers and starts to look within his all so important relationships for leads. Still he manages to get a few appointments with customers and through relationships, but these are more out of politeness than because of any real demand.
After a few weeks or months he comes to the conclusion:
- His old sales methods aren’t working anymore.
- His long lasting relationships with customers are not bringing in any sales.
- He is not respected as he taught he was.
- They ask questions he doesn’t know the answer to.
- They expect immediate decisions as he is the boss: no time to think.
- The meetings turn out to have a different agenda than purchase.
- The meetings are rather short.
Soon his pride starts to evaporate and his ‘magic of the past’ is clearly gone.
The few deals he brings in are sometimes not really profitable as he has taken decisions quickly during a meeting with a potential customer in order to get the deal.
He now has to face the truth there is no last hope. No more trick to pull out of his hat.
No way to go anymore as he has used up all his potential.
The 5 problems the CEO faces
He is faced with 5 problems:
1. His status with customers.
2. His trust relationship with customers
3. The moral of his sales people
4. The bypassing of his sales people
5. The respect from his employees
The CEO status with customers:
The status he had with customers allowed him to jump in when the sales process was not moving forward or a problem needed to get solved quickly. He could arrange things that sales people couldn’t.
After addressing the managers or directors of the customers, he has lowered or degraded himself to just another salesman.
The CEO trust relationship with customers:
The directors or managers of the customers knew they could rely upon the CEO for:
- Solving special cases
- Having someone knowledgeable listening to their problems
- Receiving even free consultancy.
As the CEO all of a sudden changes his act into selling, this trust relationship has been broken.
The moral of the sales people:
By addressing customers and potential customers directly, he has bypassed the sales people. This kills the relationships between customers and salespeople as they become second choice.
Additionally they fear that they will be missing their commissions.
These facts don’t make them happier or motivated.
The CEO bypassing of the sales people:
By addressing the customers directly, the status of the salesmen is also jeopardized: it is clear for the customers they no longer need to talk to the salesman as they now should address directly to the CEO.
The respect of employees for the CEO:
As the CEO fails too bring in any significant sales, the respect from the employees of his company will have decreased as his ‘magic from the past’ where he relied upon is gone.
He has proved to be not any better than any of the sales people. Thay can lose faith in him.
Instead of sales: demotivation and loss of faith
Thus instead of bringing in new sales, he has driven the company even further down:
- Customers will address to him directly
- Sales people get demotivated.
- Employees have lost their faith in him.
The death of the CEO salesman
No way out anymore.
What he should have done is to assist the salespeople during the last parts of the sales process in order to take the right or best decision when the customer or potential customer is ready to buy.
Is your CEO getting into sales?
With any success?