Not a week goes by when I don’t get a call from a CEO frustrated with their company’s sales. With very little prodding, the CEO will talk about how he or she feels that their company is not getting their fair share of the revenue pie. I let them vent as if they are lying on a psychiatrist’s couch. Finally, exhausted from sharing, the CEO will ask, "How can you help me?”
Obviously, it’s premature to fully diagnose the situation, but I ask the CEO to share with me their readiness for change. From my experience, I’ve found that most CEOs and business owners are good-hearted people who always want to do the right thing. However, sometimes the right decision isn’t an easy one. If they are calling me, it is because they’ve come to a fork in their business road and aren’t sure which path to take.
These executives have the option of continuing along as they have and, of course, getting the same results. They also have the option of pursuing the other road… meaning the dreaded word "change.” There are many who say they are ready for change, but they aren’t. Simply put…
CEOs enjoy eating steak, but don’t want to know a cow died in the process.
In other words, CEOs want the revenue they want, but aren’t necessarily willing to sign up for the tough changes required to achieve it.
I’ll ask the CEOs questions like…
What will you do if after fully evaluating your sales organization, I find that the salespeople on your team do not have the ability to execute the strategy you have in place?
Or, what if it turns out that the pricing strategy is off, or the compensation is not set properly? What will you do?
Change is painful, there’s no doubt about it. As I delve into a CEO’s tolerance for change, it becomes easy to identify those who have reached the point where frustration translates into action. Much like any sales situation, just because a problem has been uncovered, doesn’t mean the prospect is ready and willing to address it.
Some of my CEO counseling sessions never become anything more than interesting conversation. The ones who become clients subscribe to:
"What made you UNIQUE yesterday, makes you a COMMODITY today, and EXTINCT tomorrow, unless you ADAPT to change.” –Lee B. Salz
See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.