I’ve spent hours and hours this week on Zoom, WebX, FaceTime, Skype. I’ve also had to learn how to use Adobe, update my website, start a Facebook page, manage on-line payment applications, distribution lists, edit podcasts and video, build newsletters and host on-line chats. Every one of these rogue waves has either exposed a blind spot in my ham handed strategy or reminded me of the blessed importance of good friends.
If we want our companies to grow older we are going to have to get younger. More flexible. More open minded and adaptable. Joyful to learn. Happy to be alive and with the people I love more than anything in the world.
I’m excited about going backwards and I hope you are too.
Elaine Damschen and her husband Todd own Mainstream Electric, Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Spokane Valley, WA. In this podcast Elaine shares her beliefs and best practices regarding leadership, networks, her influences, and ways that she stays positive during times like these. I was again reminded that collaboration is the best strategy and that positive people sharing positive energy lift everyone up.
If you would like to learn more from Elaine her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Wittman. Tom offers a balanced perspective on virtual selling platforms, tried and true selling tactics, and the evolution of sales. Tom’s recommendations are just what we need while the service industry adapts to life during social distancing. Enjoy the podcast, stay safe. #flattenthecurve
Matt Tyner is the Marketing Manger for an HVAC company that employs 400+ people and that services a multi-state area. He is accountable for the digital strategy, budget, implementation, and results. Prior to his current role he designed and managed digital campaigns for boutique level clients. The things that matter most to me is that Matt is a smart, no-bullshit guy who pays attention to the trends but is never distracted by “shiny new toy” syndrome. I hope that you’ll find his recommendations applicable.
I interviewed Justin Riley in 2018 when his on-line/e-commerce platform was hitting a stride. Since then it’s grown exponentially in both scale and profitability. While many contractors are limited by social distancing Justin’s technology provides limitless sales and service opportunities. This is a fantastic podcast for any business owner who is tired of cancelled service and sales appointments and is ready to shake off the traditional constraints associated with in-home selling.
Thank you for listening. I appreciate your support. We’re in this together. Flatten the curve.
Let’s assume that you spend your time on three separate types of activities with three corresponding outputs.
Activity/Output #1: Low leverage, low output. These activities include disseminating information, updating clients on topics that may or may not improve their output (trip points!), and content that can be emailed, downloaded, or included in a newsletter.
Activity/Output #2: Medium leverage, medium output. These activities include some type of standard training or motivation, although the uniqueness is questionable because your competition has their version of the same message.
Activity/Output #3: High leverage, high output. These activities are highly customized around your customer, reflect their aspirations, and are scarce. As such they help you differentiate your services and force your competitors to play catch-up. These activities create positive leverage that allows you to increase the clients’ output.
Take a look at your calendar from last week. Classify your activities based on the descriptions provided above. Where did you spend most of your time? Where should you have spent more of your time? What types of activities will you reduce? What things will you say “No” to a lot more this week than last?
Remember, everything you do with your time should improve your clients’ production. Have a great week, Matt.
You have to distinguish between activity and output. As a salesperson your activities do not always improve output. Some activities actually impede your output. Spending time with low output/low loyalty clients, clients who ask you to give 100% of your effort without reciprocity, or simply disseminating information are bad time management decisions. Every hour of your day should be spent improving your leverage in order to improve your output. That is the essence of a salesperson’s job. So take a look at your calendar. Is it optimized for output or are you just filling in the blanks to stay busy?
You can protect your price position only if you establish a value-based difference that is sustainable. The essence of your difference must be predicated on the things you will and won’t do (your strategy requires “yes” and “no” binaries such as ‘Yes, I will work with people with an appetite for change.’ or ‘No, I won’t work with people that lack an appetite for change.’). It must also be based on choosing to perform activities differently than your competitors. Failing to articulate these distinctions devolves in to a low value low price bake-off. That’s not a strategy. That’s capitulation.
The world’s best chess players don’t play move-by-move chess. There’s no “10 moves ahead” aspect of their games. Chess, like life, is too organic and the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Instead, the world’s best study patterns and use their prodigious gifts to memorize the most successful responses to these patterns. The pattern in the image is called an ‘absolute pin.’
Salespeople can learn from this type of strategic preparation. While many salespeople say “every account is different” or “my market is unique” there are nonetheless patterns that connect the most successful sales and conversions.
Think about your very best sales and your very best conversions:
Who and where was your point of entry in to the account? Did the most successful conversions start at a branch? A lunch? A sales seminar? And who was the person that consistently opened the door for you? A service technician? An administrator? If you can find a pattern regarding the point-of-entry then you can look for ways to duplicate similar situations and make similar connections.
What was the problem that they wanted you to solve, the perspective they were looking for, the decision they needed help making? If it was price-based did those attempts yield the right results? If it was inventory-based did the relationship prove to be lasting? What unmet need did they share an interest in satisfying?
What caused the process to accelerate and at what point in the sales cycle did this happen? Was it after the very first meeting or after a factory tour? Was it a growing level of dissatisfaction with a competitive supplier? Did the process accelerate because you gave a superior pitch? At some point the road blocks disappeared. Why?
What caused the process to delay and at what point in the sales cycle did this happen? Was there competitive push back immediately following your first meeting or was it a slow burn? Did the decision maker get cold feet at some point and why?
Who from your team made the greatest impact on winning the business? Did the Branch Manager’s involvement provide a level of trust that was needed? Did your Sales Manager’s participation improve the results? It’s not always a singular effort that generates big results. It’s a team effort that matters.
Do you see any patterns? If so, duplicate them! Moreover, plan your prospecting activities accordingly:
Who from your side must your prospects absolutely meet?
Artifacts. What processes, documents, samples, and testimonials create the greatest confidence while unsticking any friction points?
Time. When you had delays in the conversion process what was going on? What was the bad recipe that you want to avoid? What recipe worked the best. Repeat that one.
Selling is a hard job. Some people have twenty years of experience to draw from while others seem to have one year of experience twenty times. Regardless of the experience there are patterns–situations that a smart professional has seen or experienced many times over. Like a brilliant chess player, your ability to recognize patterns and duplicate the successful responses will improve the likelihood of a win.