You would be surprised how many sales people are still doing generic sales pitches, ill thought out, barely researched, treading the same path to the prospects door as the competitors – it’s a very crowded approach, and after all, there can only be one winner.
I was listening to a program earlier this week, where a sales leader was talking about working with the best sales performers in their team to understand what they were doing so he could try to replicate that across the other sales people.
He was in the asset finance – fleet car business – and typically the sales people would target prospects with existing fleets to talk about swapping suppliers. This is a tough ticket as with any contract – it is date driven and there may be penalties to depart early – so you can see the immediate inbuilt challenges to that method of generating business.
On interviewing the top sales performing, the sale leader discovered that this guy had a totally different may of generating business…
The top performer looked at the quarterly financial performance reports of firms he was interested in working with AND who had bought their vehicles, meaning that there was no existing fleet contract in place. And, the vehicles purchases, value and depreciation were detailed in the accounts. He then analysed the numbers using a quick excel based calculator he’d built to see by now much they could increase their dividend payments by if they leased instead of bought the vehicles.
Having got that number – and you can imagine how powerful the next bit is if the prospect firm had missed making good on their promises to the city that year…
The top performer then calls the FD or CFO, and having made a suitable introduction he says ‘ I’ve looked at the figures in your last quarterly report to the city, I see you missed X target by 3 points, I have a way, that if you had used it last year would have seen an uplift in your figures of 5.6 points. Can we get together and I’ll explain how you can do it?
What do you think the response was?
Clever? Yes. Smart? Certainly. A highly specialised skill that only a few people can do? Not at all.
And that’s the point really.
They say that if you go the extra mile you’re more likely to get what you want as there’s much less competition. But how many sales people actually do this?
This top performers proved that the lesser trodden path is not only more potent, it’s a far less crowded space. The truth is that by going after the business that everyone else is going after you greatly diminish your chances of success and your profit.
Yet that’s what most sales people do.
So the question is this – what triggers, indicators, signals are your potential prospects giving off that will alert you to early engagement…and if you knew what they were, would you train every one in your sales team to work those signals?
I think you would.
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