Contrary to popular belief, the difference between effective, revenue driving sales professionals and those who consistently miss quota is quite small. More often than not, the loss of business has little to do with their competition.
Frequently, the problem is more internal. Because many of today’s products and services are highly similar, it’s how the individual represents that offering (as opposed to the actual service) that either drives most buyers to sign or decline their proposed agreement.
Unlike a competing product, the internal forces and actions can be controlled with some focus, will-power and drive to change.
Luckily, because the difference between sales success and failure is so minute, quick changes in beliefs, behaviors and work ethic will yield most business development representatives a significant spike in revenue generation.
I. The Issue with Over Accessibility – The majority of sales representatives whom I buy goods or services from for my recruiting firm can be overly accessible and, thus appear desperate.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, a significant number of sales representatives play the “scarcity card” with the intent of being perceived as busy and important. However, these individuals appear aloof, unresponsive and ineffective to any buyer.
They, too lose out to a competing vendor. The happy medium between between over-accessiblity and over-scarify makes the sales rep. appear as competent, client-focused and trustworthy. Interestingly enough, there is only a few hour difference between the two.
Less Than 30 or More Than 180
I’ve noticed that when our sales recruiting company gets back to a client lead within 30 minutes, we are less apt to receive an enthusiastic response from that prospect compared to when we return their request an hour after their inquiry.
However, when our headhunters get busy and are unable to return their call 3 hours or later after initial contact, we receive a response similar to when we appear hasty.
II. Precision – As a sales representative, being precise is the difference between writing unique emails to prospects and mass emailing a generalized note to a generalized list of random leads. Even though the former technique yields a much higher response rate from more sought after clientele, very infrequently do I receive tailored pitches from potential recruiting vendors.
When I do, I respond and when I send similar correspondence, the target typically responds back.
Take the difference between the following blurbs from sales related solicitations:
Generic – “Hi,
My peers are evaluating me in this 360* Peer Evaluation. Can you take a minute to give me a vote of confidence?”
Precise – “It has been a while since we last spoke…I wanted to send you a message to see if your company was ready to make a strong move in video on your youtube channel. I’m thinking quality, business-grade videos each week discussing anything and everything about job hunting and your company.”
It’s Not a Numbers Game
Sales professionals are wired to think that business development is about numbers. Throw enough s*** against the wall and something will stick. Yes, something may stick, but in order to get to that sale, that business development representative gave a poor impression to 30, 60 or 90 other leads.
The majority of sales representatives whom our recruiters work with should prospect 1/8 as much, but be 10x more precise per contact and their numbers through client acquisition, retention and cross-selling would skyrocket.
In the End
While there are other more complex factors involved in effective salesmanship, most difference makers are quite small, easy to implement and once done can be converted into higher commissions and a more successful sales career.