Sales Apocalypse: The Brutal Reality for Order-Takers

September 13, 2023

Yeah, sorry to break it to you, but the days of cruising through an ever-growing economy where any salesperson could hit their quota are officially over. Welcome to the downturn where only the high-performers will succeed, and your order-takers of the past are in for a rude awakening because, let's face it, they suck at sales.

Adios to Easy Quotas

In the good ol' days, it was a cakewalk. Your sales team merely had to take orders from customers lining up with open wallets. Meeting quotas felt about as challenging as tying shoelaces. But guess what? Those days are as gone as the NFT craze.

The New Reality

Now, we find ourselves in a world where salespeople need to do more than just stand by the cash register. They must actively hunt down leads, charm skeptical prospects, and close deals like their lives depend on it. If you've got team members who excel at little more than nodding and taking orders, well, it's time for a reality check.

High-Performers Take the Stage

In this downturn, only the sales stars will shine. The top-notch salespeople—the ones who can cold-call with a smile, craft persuasive pitches, and close deals that would make a used car salesman proud—are the ones who'll thrive.

Skills Over Shortcuts

It's not just about pushing products anymore. It's about building relationships, understanding customer pain points, and tailoring solutions that make your competitors look like amateurs. Those AI tools you invested in recently will help, but if your team lacks the fundamentals of modern selling, or the grit & motivation it takes to succeed when things get tough, it's gonna be a long road back to the double-digit growth you saw in the last few years.

Retrain or Regret

Here's a thought: Instead of hoping for miracles from your order-takers, invest in their development. Train them, challenge them, and turn them into the sales experts your company needs. Those who adapt and rise to the occasion might surprise you. Those who don't? Well, let's just say they'll be first in line at the job fair. So what can you do right away to get on track and help those who need it most?

  1. Reset and Re-focus. Spend time with your team on your ICP (Ideal Client Profile). Over time it's easy to lose focus on the person or type of customer that most needs your product or service and is willing to pay for it.
  2. Clean up your pipeline. Chances are that your CRM has become bloated with deals that will never close and your team has become lazy in maintaining their deals. Establish discipline on what it takes to qualify prospects into opportunities and how each one should progress through to a closed deal.
  3. Manage your income-producing activity. Yes this was easy when people were calling you & your team...and now that the phone isn't ringing you must create new goals around the outbound & follow-up actions that move the needle. This is where the high-performers ALWAYS outshine the lazy ones.
  4. Readjust your goals. Yes, you should push your team to grow. However, if your market is contracting by 30% and your goals are to grow by 10% over last year your team will get frustrated and not even try. Be realistic here and work with your team to get a pulse on the market. They hear what their customers are telling them so make sure you listen.
  5. Steal market share. The high performers always seem to grow, and in a contracting market most of the growth is from going after lesser competitors. Put in the work now and when the market turns you will be prepared to dominate.

So, yeah, it's not business as usual anymore. The "order-taker" era is over, and it's time to embrace the new reality. Success in this downturn belongs to the high-performers—the sales dynamos who can do more than just fetch coffee orders. Give them the tools and training they need, and your sales team might just come out of this downturn stronger than ever.

Need help with the next step? Reach out for your free Sales Strategy Session -link in the comments.

Raise the Bar!

Mike Chudy

Owner of Austin Sales Consulting