Business Acumen – big word for simple concept (thanks @iannarino)

tablet-254581Acumen according to Merriam-Webster online is “keenness and depth of perception, discernment, or discrimination especially in practical matters.”

Chapter 16 of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need talks about salespeople who mistake understanding sales for having business acumen.

Let’s dig in!

Keenness – you have to be able to clearly articulate and understand those pieces of your prospect’s business that are not obvious.

> example: if you don’t know how dirty, loud, and seemingly chaotic a railyard can be, how would you ever understand the unique challenges of installing technology there? If you don’t have a keen understanding of the challenges how can you sell to a railroad effectively?

Depth of Perception – if you can’t judge how complex a problem is for your prospect, how can you present a solution that addresses all their concerns?

> example: your proposal for advertising will be off if you don’t realize that high-end children’s clothing is very likely to be purchased by a childless Aunt rather than a parent.

Discernment – back to Merriam-Webster for a moment, the definition online is “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.” This goes to your ability to follow the breadcrumbs a prospect gives you that lead to their real challenge.

> example: hearing the objection, your price is too high, could lead in lots of different directions. Do you have the discernment to understand if it is…
1. your price is too high -> I screwed up & didn’t put enough in the budget to solve this -> this is my second screw up this month and I’m not willing to tell my boss -> I’m afraid I’ll lose my job
2. your price is too high -> my current vendor is only 5% higher -> 5% isn’t worth doing extra paperwork -> if you were MORE than 5% lower – even if it wasn’t 10% it would be worth doing the extra work

Discrimination – this isn’t about treating people unfairly, rather it is about recognizing the differences between two or more things in business.

> example: your prospect says “we don’t have any budget money.” Can you recognize if they don’t have money to spend vs. this would be an operating expense so no budget is necessary vs. we need to look at financing options.

My personal ah-ha moment while reading this chapter was: perhaps the lack of business acumen is why salespeople are saying they are “offering value” instead of showing it.

Preorder your copy of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need and then share what your ah-ha moment is after you’ve read it!

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