Where To Go Next (Lesson 2)
Sales is a tough business, especially when you’re talking about multimillion-dollar sales. You may get leads for 200 companies, only get 20 of them into the early process of discussion and end up with two clients who sign deals. It’s just the way the game works. When you win, it’s huge; but when it comes to cold calling, you most often lose.
The 80/20 rule of sales is a genuine phenomenon. Sales managers usually see 80% of their sales from 20% of their staff and the other 20% of sales come from the 80% of their staff.
I’ve seen a lot of that 80% simply pretend they’re making calls and moving the sales along, but you can only fake it for so long. You’ve got to get those prospects moving.
The easiest means of communication is email, but it’s also the easiest means of rejection. You’ll score a higher success rate with telephone calls. It’s slightly harder for someone to say no to you if they hear your voice.
I found the best way of prospecting was often to just show up at someone’s office and see if I can talk to them. I discovered when they were in the building, they’d usually give me a few minutes, and those few minutes are often all you need to start a longer-lasting dialogue.
Working Through The Tough Days
You’ve got to ask for help from your sales manager if things aren’t going well. If they’ve cultivated a real team mentality among the sales force, some of your colleagues may also be able to help by sharing their techniques for success.
What makes that 20% among the elite?
I think that they subscribe to the quote, “I’d rather make mistakes than make nothing at all.” Versions of the quote have been attributed to many people, and it’s one of my favorites because it’s about overcoming fear.
When I was a sales manager, as well as an account rep, I would ask one question: “What have you done to advance a sale today?” The answers will be different depending on where a client is in your sales process; but at the end of the day, you should be able to point to several potential customers and objectively say that you’ve done something to move things forward.
Anthony Iannarino is one of the leading sales trainers in the world and I think he sums up on his sales blog (https://thesalesblog.com/) what never needs to be forgotten, especially when you’re getting stuck at a low level of the potential client’s organizational flow chart:
“The new tools, like social media, blogs, and LinkedIn, are merely amplifiers. They amplify what you already are. If you don’t have both sales acumen and business acumen, the new tools amplify your inability to create value. The veteran salesperson has the ability to create value for their clients. That’s how they won those clients, and that’s how they retained them. If you want to study what allowed the proven veteran to succeed, then study their ability to make a difference for their clients. Once you’ve done this, then you can transfer that value creation over to social selling. But until then, the best thing you can learn from the veteran is how to sell.”
I love that quote because it is so true. The veterans can hand down what they’ve learned, but when push comes to shove, it’s basically about creating value.
If you were standing in a store and there are two pairs of identical pants for sale, yet one was half-price, if you’re like most people, you buy the pants that are the obvious better value. Now, what if one pair of pants was of a higher quality, but also 20% more expensive. What would it take for you to plunk down your money on the more expensive pants?
Where is the value in what you’re selling? How will it ultimately help the potential client? When you’re able to show that inherent value, you’ll find yourself getting stuck far less often.