I had a fantastic call today with a business that was struggling with its sales process. Stop me if this story sounds familiar. They had hired several sales people with the hopes that a new sales person would save their bacon only to find out that the sales people they hired didn't produce the results they were expecting. Sound familiar? We've all been there. What's worse, we make the mistake of thinking that the problem is the person or people we've hired into the position. "You're a sales person, after all, why can't you sell?"

When sales are your problem, before you decide to blame your sales team, take a good hard look at what's not working and ask yourself a series of important questions:

Job #1: Create Raving Fans
If you're struggling with a sales growth problem, the very first place you should be looking is at your existing clients. If you have failed to create raving fans, then there's exactly zero chance that your current customers are referring business to you. Sure, you can ask them for referrals and create an awkward situation. Why is it awkward? Because if they were raving fans, you wouldn't have to ask--they would be sending as many people you're way as you could handle.

So what creates a raving fan? When your customers receive 10X what they were expecting from you. It's simply not good enough to "do a great job," because that's expected in today's economy. If you can't figure out how to deliver a truly exceptional product wrapped around an incredibly unforgettable experience, then let's face it, you're just doing what everyone else in your industry is doing. And that is precisely why you are struggling and your recently hired sales team can't seem to close as much business as you were expecting them to. I hate to say it, but it's not the sales people you hired, it's the lack of an exceptional product, service and experience that is truly holding you back from growing.

So How Do You Create Raving Fans?
Start by understanding how the best businesses in the world are doing it and find your own version that works for your company and your industry. Couple of awesome examples:

Zappos
Random Free Meal of the Month
Tom's Shoes: Buy 1 Pair and We Donate 1 Pair to Children in Need.

You get the idea. If you want to dramatically increase your sales, you need to take massive action. Hiring a new sales team or increasing your impression-based advertising budget isn't going to deliver the results you're looking to achieve. Massive action is about upping your current game by 10X. If you're not creating raving fans, then take a step back and think about what you need to do to change that paradigm immediately. Only by taking massive action will you be in a position to change and improve upon your desired outcome. Good luck, and if you have a success story you'd like to share, hit me up on Twitter @BillCarmody.

Published on: Mar 27, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.