Nobody cares about your products or services... and neither should you. Sure, your company’s advertising focuses on your products and services—their unique advantages and benefits. And, your marketing department has gone to great lengths and expense to produce extensive marketing brochures and spec sheets that further elaborate on the unique aspects of your products and services.
Prospects aren’t interested in nor are they buying products and services for their unique aspects, features, benefits, or advantages. They are buying products and services for what those products and services can do for them—for what it helps or enables them to accomplish. They are not buying the product or service; they are buying the intended outcome of using the product or service.
Does a prospect care about the pounds of pressure in the hydraulic cylinders of your scissor lifts? No. What they care about is whether the lift will raise three pallets of parts twelve feet in the air to reach the top shelf of the storage bins. Does a prospect care about the process by which your diamond tipped concrete cutting saw blades are made or that 38 State road construction departments use your blades? No. What they care about is how many feet of four-inch concrete ad they can cut before needing to replace the blade. They care about the end results of using your products or services.
What’s the point?
All too often, salespeople become so caught up in, even fall in love with, the “unique selling points” of their product or service—code words for features, benefits and advantages—that they pay scant attention to the outcomes the products or services are designed to achieve. Prospects care about outcomes before they care about or consider “unique selling points.”
It’s OK to “love” your product or service and speak passionately, emotionally, and convincingly about it... after you’ve determined that it provides the outcome your prospect is trying to achieve.
Is Your Pipeline Dehydrated?
Do you know that feeling thirsty is your body’s way of letting you know that you are becoming dehydrated? That’s right. By the time you feel thirsty, you are actually in the beginning stages of dehydration. Your body puts up with the lack of water for quite some time before sending the brain the message, “Get me some water.” That’s why nutritionists suggest that you drink five to eight glasses of water during the day. By drinking water periodically throughout the day, you keep your body hydrated and you don’t feel thirsty.
So when you’re feeling “thirsty” for new prospects, perhaps your prospect pipeline is also in the initial stages of dehydration. Just like drinking water throughout the day keeps you hydrated, lining up new prospects throughout the month keeps your pipeline “hydrated.”
How many prospects you need to put in your pipeline during the month is a function of your conversion ratio. If, on average, you close one out of four prospects with whom you start the selling process, then for every prospect you close, you should put four new prospects in the pipeline. If you average two successful sales per month, it will take eight new prospects each month to keep the pipeline hydrated. Some prospects will drop out along the way, while others will make it to the presentation stage. Some will become customers; some won’t. Regardless, your pipeline will continue to flow. With less than eight prospects in the pipeline, the flow will stop at some point (along with sales and commissions) until it is re-hydrated.
To keep your pipeline hydrated, do a little prospecting all of the time rather than trying to do a lot of prospecting only when you feel thirsty.
Success Is a Continuing Journey
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times—set goals, set goals, set goals. Setting goals helps you focus your energy on productive activities. It provides benchmarks for measuring your progress. It puts meaning into your efforts.
But, what do you do when you reach your goals? Do you set more goals? Or, do you relax (“just for awhile,” you tell yourself)? David Sandler once commented that the downfall for many salespeople is that they “make a big hit”—reach their goal or close a big sale—“then take a vacation,” meaning that they abandon the activities that were responsible for their accomplishment.
Hitting a goal may be cause to celebrate, but it’s not cause to stop forward progress. Think of goals as mile markers along the success highway. When you reach one mile marker, you keep moving to the next, and then the next after that. And, when you get to your destination and look around, what do you discover? The road keeps going, if not in the same direction, in another... perhaps many.
When you accomplish a goal, set another, perhaps loftier, goal. Keep your goals interesting, challenging, and motivating. If you reached your monthly sales goal, you could increase the numbers for the following month. Or, you could target three low-volume accounts and strive to bring their volumes up by a certain percentage. You could target a few prospective accounts that are doing size-able volumes with a competitor and develop a plan to capture some of that business.
Whether grand or modest, each goal you reach is another step toward personal growth, the expansion of your potential, and it signifies the arrival at another mile marker on your success journey.
Why are 83.33% of Salespeople Unhappy with Their Sales Volume?
Ask a dozen salespeople if they are happy with their sales volumes, and two will say “Yes,” two will say “No,” and the other eight will hem and haw and eventually admit, “It could be better.”
If you are one of the 83.33%, why aren’t your numbers better? What’s holding you back from taking some action to improve them?
For most people, what holds them back is FEAR—risking trying something new or doing things differently... and failing.
But failure has its benefit...
The benefit of doing things differently or trying something new and succeeding is obvious. But, what’s the benefit of failing? How are you better off?
The benefit of failure is knowledge.
You learn what NOT to repeat. You learn to view the situation from another perspective, to look for another approach, to develop alternative actions.
When you discover what doesn’t work, you develop a baseline from which to make adjustments or changes for your next attempt. Success often rises out of the ashes of failure.
David Sandler once said, “A life without risk is a life without growth.” If you don’t take the risk, nothing changes... and you have no one to blame but yourself.