Your Growth Problem

Growth Problem - QuitterGrowth problem defined: in a new sales role, especially if you are starting your own company, you are very likely to become a victim of your own thinking when sales and revenue don't ramp up as you thought they would. You'll give up and quit. Perhaps this has happened to you already...and maybe even more than once.

The Cause of Your Growth Problem

In an employee sales role, you have a wage or salary. That will stave off giving up for awhile, but eventually you'll get discouraged when reality doesn't meet your expectations.

Here's your growth problem: you believe growth should be linear. But it doesn't work that way. And when growth doesn't proceed as 2, 4, 6, 8 etc., you get frustrated and quit.

What's disappointing and deadly about this is quitting resets you to zero. You lose any credibility you may have developed in the niche you were working in. Your specialized knowledge becomes useless. You are no longer "the person to talk to about X." Growth is back to square one.

People give up too soon.

So if growth in business isn't linear, how does it actually work?


Mapping Your Growth Problem

Check out this graph:

Growth Problem - Graph

The horizontal axis is time passing, and the vertical axis is the money you earn. Look at the green, exponential curve. Growth occurs very slowly at first. Nobody knows who you are. Contrast these results to your expectations: the red, linear line. The gap between the green and red line is your disappointment. Is it any wonder you quit?

Your growth problem is entirely one of expectations. You go in with the linear view. But reality is exponential. So for a long time, things are slow. But at a point things take off. You can see that critical point on the graph. Enough collateral, belief, awareness and results are out there to really blow up your business. People who you've never spoken with before start contacting you, because they know you can solve their problem.

Too bad most people gave up long before. And then they went straight back to 0,0 on the graph, completely starting over.

In my experience with many companies and my own businesses, it takes three to four months to start getting known as "the person to talk to about X". And up to a full year to start getting those serious inbound inquiries from new prospects. Sure, you can speed this up with advertising. But without the "Oomph" of effective marketing and fulfillment collateral, you are going to have a tough time converting those inquiries into sales--until you've hit that critical point on the exponential graph.

Update To Your Growth Problem for 2023

This article was originally written in 2014. That was the year I started this blog. In the eight years since then I've watched many people start something, pursue it for a few days, then give up and jump to something else—putting themselves back to 0,0 on the exponential growth curve.

Success does not come from outside. It comes from you. You must persist, develop new plans, learn and apply new skills to keep striving for what you want. You must give yourself and the exponential growth curve time to work.

Of course, persisting without learning and modifying your plans ie. course correction is a recipe for frustration.

But this is one of those timeless principles rather than shiny objects that we discuss here at salestactics.org. Many people would rather believe the source of success is outside of themselves, and keep chasing those shiny objects. You cannot say, now, that you were not advised.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. If you found this useful, please consider Liking, Sharing or Commenting to let us know! And if you want more key info like this, get the free Small Business Sales Effectiveness Report! <<


Your Barrier To Entry

barrier to entryWhat I've seen over the years here is people learn of an idea: the magic bullet (of the week). They put it into action ONCE and it doesn't work (for whatever reason...poor quality traffic; insufficient traffic--key issue, that one; lousy conversion tool; insufficient followup; poor target market definition; etc.)

And then they announce, "It DIDN'T WORK!!" to the world.

They really have convinced themselves that because they tried this thing one time, one way (imagine, trying only a single headline and then saying the whole project was a failure) it doesn't work. Ever. For anyone.

Then they jump on after the next shiny object...the new magic bullet of the week.

That's the silliness I'm fighting against here. It's rampant.

Many variables are involved in online marketing. Basic math is required to be good at online marketing. Based on the evidence I've seen, people want to remain ignorant of both and yet still be successful.

People: that ain't gonna happen.

Stick with something longer than three days. Test one variable change at a time. Yes, keep your eyes open for what works and what doesn't, and why.

Imagine there's a fence you have to jump.

That's the fence you need to get over to start making sales and being successful (BTW, did anyone ever tell you Making Sales is the RESULT, not the guts of, internet marketing? Kinda changes your perspective...there are all these things that need to be done and go right BEFORE you make a sale).

Now imagine all the wannapreneurs, here they are, running full tilt at that fence. Some of them don't even know the fence is there. Many underestimate how tall it is. But there they are, full of false and highly temporary enthusiasm based on some magic bullet they heard about and have awkwardly (how else are you gonna do it the first time) put into practice.


Sure are a lot of broken bodies fallen at the foot of and atop that fence.

What Barrier To Entry Means For You

This is called, in professional marketing terminology, Barrier To Entry.

Most people lack the perspective, the stick-to-itiveness to pass that Barrier To Entry.

What does this mean for you, the individual?

Don't be like the herd. The herd is all beat up and broken in front of that fence.

If you can behave differently, and get over that fence, you'll be Inside.

And Inside is where the money is.

Once you figure it out...how to get over that fence, that Barrier To Entry...you keep that knowledge forever. You know what the process is.

Oh sure, some little techie this or that may change. A variable may need a dial or level adjustment. But you know what the variables are.

Stick with it. Measure and manage. Be intelligent.

Blindly and mindlessly following magic bullets is stupid. You'll end up crashed on the fence every time. Even if you do "succeed" you'll have no idea how to duplicate what you just did.

Barrier To Entry Today

This post was first published in 2016. Is there an update for today?

My impression is that this concept is part of human nature. It is unchanging. We all know "the information is out there", often free of charge. Yet few people will knuckle down and do the research, personal learning and testing necessary to develop skill. They randomly try something once, and when it doesn't work everything related to it is a "scam".

Remember that this is a hurdle separating the wheat from the chaff, the successful from the wannapreneur. Those who expect success from magic beans, rather than developing skill through persistence, are welcome to their fate.

If you are a founder and find yourself sharing information that you know is available out there from other sources, you might be worried about how you're going to "break into" the marketplace. Let me share with you a reframing: you don't need to have unique information to get clients and build a business today. What you need is to find your tribe. People can get information from anywhere. So what do they do? They find a source of that information who they like, who they resonate with. They want to learn from this person. And that is why they buy. When your barrier to entry changes from trying to make your information unique to working on being yourself and attracting your tribe, the game changes.

>> For business strategy that gets you past the barrier to entry, get the Sales On Fire program. <<


Sales for NPOs and Advocacy Groups

Sales for NPOs

Sales for NPOs and advocacy groups works the same way as in business. Many non-profit executives want to shrug this truth off; however, I will demonstrate selling is human interaction, and whether it's in a business or non-profit environment the principles are necessary and effective.

I have many years of high level experience with municipal committees of council. For six years I was appointed to the committee that handled all the grant money reviews and disbursement recommendations for my home town. And in that time I created more interaction, more bonding and more results from those NPOs. I was doing things at 30 people in their 50s are just starting to consider.

A Key Takeaway About Sales for NPOs

A major takeaway I have from that time is the NPOs were all fighting each other over what they thought was slices of the one pie. This was a mistake. In college we were given an assignment where the class was split up into two groups. Both groups were told they needed a limited supply of oranges. You may have experienced a similar exercise, or perhaps this will be a big eye-opener for you. At first the two groups debated on why their "organization" should get the oranges and the other group should not. But after DISCUSSION, a key but hitherto hidden pair of facts became visible:

Group One needed the MEAT of the oranges

Group Two needed the PEEL of the oranges.

Both sides could effectively take 100% of the pie.

But they had to *talk* to one another to figure this out. Now in my experience, and note how this is true even in supposedly cooperative mindset organizations like NPOs, the leaders simply do not communicate with each other effectively enough to learn that one NPO needs the meat and the other needs the peel--and that both can share the resources.

I am about to share an example from my history in 2004-5. At that time I had been appointed to the city's nine-member grant review committee and they made me vice-chair the moment I walked in the room. The following year, the current chair was retiring and plans were made for me to be his successor. Note this was not about some knowledge about parliamentary procedure; it was about demonstrating *leadership* and I was ready to lead. Even though I was the youngest member of the committee other than the short-lived youth rep who moved out of the city after a couple months, these 50, 60, and 70-year old, highly experienced executives--some of whom ran their own organizations--were happy to have me lead them. The first thing I did was meet with city social planning/community development staff to hear their ideas on what a good direction would be.

Two Principles of Sales for NPOs and Advocacy Groups

Note this. Having administrative staff on your side is important. Do you think it is easier to have them promote your program when they have a hand in it?

The second thing I did was forward a motion to council to approve a change in the committee's terms of reference. Until then, the committee had been a passive body: council would refer business items to it for opinion and we would answer. I had it changed so we could "wag the dog" and send items for consideration UP the chain to them.

The staff recommended something called a Social Development Strategy, which came out of Australia. The idea was to involve all the local organizations and stakeholders, and get a program of how municipal spending would be allocated on community development going forward. The City was going through huge changes in population, distribution and gateway areas.

Over the next year, starting from just two stakeholders, I and my committee, lead by a former Chamber of Commerce chair I appointed to lead the subcommittee because I didn't want a conflict of interest as I was running in the next election, created this spending plan and an enormous level of involvement. You can see the results in this document:

CNV Social Development Strategy

Sales for NPOs: Another Example

An organization (the Lower Lonsdale Network) was created for ongoing discussion between all those stakeholders and outlasted my term, which I think is pretty awesome. And during those discussions, we found opportunities for NPOs to share 100% of the pie like this:

The Salvation Army was training homeless people to become cooks, so they could have basic skills to get a job. The local college had their chef volunteer to lead the training. But they topped out on capacity as they only had the one kitchen. Well guess what: from the discussions THEY HAD NEVER HAD BEFORE, resulting from the Social Development Strategy meetings, the Kiwanis retirement tower revealed they had a spare kitchen! The Salvation Army and the chef could use the Kiwanis kitchen to double their flow-through of trainees, and it didn't cost anyone a dime!

Affordable Food News Article 2004

[click to enlarge]

This is an example of the orange being divided into meat and peel, and serving two different groups well.

So if you're a non-profit executive, understand that sales for NPOs and advocacy groups works just like it does in B2B and B2C settings...and will get you results like this. Human interaction is How You Get Things Done. Whether it's in a business or non-profit environment, the same principles are at work.

>> If you want to discuss how your NPO can get broader and more effective results through ethical selling principles, book a session with Jason. <<