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June 2009
Some Business Insights From Those At The Top…
By Jeff Raynor

Sales in Uncertain Times

     • Sales people need 20 percent more prospects to stay even. No one can rest on their laurels, nor assume that a sale is coming in. Get as many prospects in that pipeline as possible!

     • Nearly 50 percent of deals are lost to “doing nothing.” When asked, business owners had no real idea how to identify their target customer. Don’t chase garbage; use a score card to benchmark good customers and target new ones just like them.

     • Lack of insight into sales activity and the target markets loses 10 to 20 percent of all sales. Revenue reductions from the previous quarter are due to financial reasons, poor service, or unforeseen competitive advantages. Do you track and take corrective actions?

     • It takes 20 to 30 percent longer to close a sale. People are afraid to buy—which is actually quite strange, because now is the best time to buy. Present clear and compelling value combined with a sense of urgency. Be diligent in your follow-up process.

     • Companies that significantly reduce sales and marketing in 2009 will be gone in 2010.

     • Sales are critical but will not cure all ills. Cash management, upgrading personnel, and touching base with all aspects key to your business is a must. Do not accept mediocrity from yourself or your people.—Allan H., Scottsdale, Ariz.


Without Confidence, Leadership is Hollow

     Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. More fundamental than passion, communication and empowerment, leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. Especially in uncertain times, leadership is about having the confidence to make decisions. If someone is afraid to make and commit to decisions, all of the communication and empowerment in the world won’t make a bit of difference.

     While the fearful will agonize over decisions and always make the safe choice, the confident will take the information that they have and take action. That is the definition of leadership.

     Not only does confidence allow you to make the tough decisions that people expect from a strong leader but it’s reassuring to your employees. It allows you to lead meetings with authority, to accept candor and open communication. And the greater they perceive your force of will, the more faith they will have in your company and its mission.—Ed H., Charlotte, N.C.

     Jeff Raynor, M.B.A., Certified TAB Facilitator®, heads The Alternative Board® - TAB Carolinas™, a global, small business CEO-peer group and executive coaching firm. Contact him at 704-554-6200 or visit

Jeff Raynor, M.B.A., Certified TAB® Facilitator, heads The Alternative Board® - TAB Carolinas™, a global CEO peer group & executive coaching firm
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