It was no secret to companies that measured their ROI on sales performance that only 15% of the prospects they invested money and resources in became customers. It was just something that was expected. If you wanted more customers just pour more into the top of the sales funnel and accept that you would throw away 85 percent of your investment for business development with no return. When the recession hit, companies no longer could survive with such a small ROI and cut back. They cut back support; they cut back advertising and even cut back the sales force.
We are now seeing a slight upturn in the economy and are ready, once again, to return and are forced to accept the fact that 85 percent of what we do will yield nothing. This is the way it has always been so why not just get on with it? But times have changed. How people buy and how they get their information has changed. The good news is that there is also a new change in a methodology that alleviates the need to revisit that black hole of inefficiency. Yes, someone has broken the code. Finally, there is a Selling in the Now technique that will yield a greater return for your sales efforts by following a successful business development process that works in today’s business environment.
Here’s how it works. Why spend time working with people who are not predisposed to buy from you and probably will never buy your product or service. Your potential customers are easily recognizable much like a Zebra amongst a group of other animals. This new process focuses on how to find your Zebra and the efficient methodology to turn them into a valued customer. Think of it as a front end to a CRM system. While a CRM system records efforts, tracks results and allows you to forecasts outcomes, this tool is different. It helps you to find your Zebra and guides you through the sales process to keep you focused and on track. Ironically, this company is called Selling to Zebras. Their expertise is helping you find your ideal customer profile and implement a system that nurtures your prospect into becoming a valued customer.
For more information about Selling to Zebras, they offer a free downloadable book.
Link here to download the ebook Selling to Zebras.
Author: Rich Lucia
In the pursuit of increasing sales be careful your sales organization doesn’t let the dogs in. Think twice before you allow them to hunt for just any sale. Wrong fit customers can put a drain and even bring down the best of organizations. A wrong fit customer, who continuously demands high amount of resources, pays slowly, and drives terms and conditions can cripple your company’s ability to deliver to all of your customers.
This problem can be solved and, at the same time, can result in an increase in sales and profit. It begins with identifying who is a best fit for your company. A company called Selling to Zebras uses this Selling in the Now technique to identify who are the ideal customers for your company: Your “Zebra”. They suggest you internally create a Zebra team from all disciplines, finance, manufacturing, legal, HR, etc, not just sales, to help create the customer that works best with your organization. Once this is accomplished, send the sales organization out to only hunt for Zebras. By hunting only for Zebras, your sales people won’t be selling to potential resource-draining customers and will not be wasting their time with people who will never buy.
The world has changed and sales must also change to a more holistic company perspective. That is the focus of Selling in the Now. Sales techniques from another era will not get you the results you seek and could be sabotaging your entire company’s mission. There are plenty of best-fit customers and there should never be a need to let the dogs in.
Author: Rich Lucia
I find it ironic how most sales people put on their sales hat and forget what it is like to be a buyer. It’s as if wearing their sales hat gives them special powers to forget what they themselves object to when they are being sold to. Ask a sales person if they enjoy getting that cold call during dinner or receiving the 150 emails from people trying to get their attention and they will respond with a resounding, “No way”. Yet, they spend their days involved in cold calling, e-mail blasting and other annoying selling behaviors.
Even with these techniques decreasing in effectiveness, it still doesn’t occur to a lot of today’s sellers that there must be a better way. This is the way it has always has be done so it must be correct. Sales people are forgetting that buyers have changed and how they get and want their information has changed. They are determined to keep following sales training techniques that were designed thirty years ago.
It is time for a wake-up call. Treat your prospects as you would want to be treated. No one likes to be contacted cold. Being interrupted by someone unknown to you, with unclear motives, is undesirable no matter what hat you have on. So, before you embark upon a selling technique that was designed before the invention of color TV, ask yourself, would I want to be treated this way? Sales people who are students of Selling in the Now broke this code and have moved to social selling with far greater success.
Author: Rich Lucia
There’s a sales lesson to be learned by how we shop. Before we go shopping, we mentally decide what we are shopping for, about how much money we are willing to pay, and what store is best to go to make our purchase. Let’s say we want to buy a lawnmower. We don’t go to the mall and start going into each store asking if they sell lawn mowers. We know in advance that Dunkin Donuts, Radio Shack, Macy’s and the food court don’t sell lawn mowers. Why waste of our time and have a very low likelihood of finding a lawn mower. Maybe we should use the same wisdom when looking for new business.
When we cold call, we do the equivalent of looking for a lawn mower at Dunkin Donuts and when we don’t find one there, sales managers tell us to just try more places. It’s as if sales people have a recessive gene from snake oil salesman that makes them automatically start each day with, “everyone gather around” assuming everyone is dying to buy what they are selling. Sales trainers encourage this ancient practice with phrases like, “Sales is a numbers game”, as if doing the wrong thing again and again will somehow change the outcome.
People today, have little patience for being contacted cold, and less, for something they don’t want or need. Selling to Zebras is a process that does away with blind cold calling and is in tune with Selling in the Now. Like shopping, it helps you identify where to find your best prospect. Who is that best match for your company and services and has the budget to buy from you? Contacting people who are predisposed and have the money to buy from you makes more sense than wasting your time calling people who are not a good fit. So before you waste your time cold calling ask yourself, “Do I shop this way”?
Author: Rich Lucia
Did you ever notice how, for years, sales training has been closely matched to a rodeo event? Sales reps are taught to chase after and rope prospects like mindless steer before they get away. We call that cold calling. When the rope is secure around their neck, we move into a trained sales pitch. If they fight to get loose, we break out another rope and tie their feet. We call that handling objections. The process of both roping steer and selling assumes that your target doesn’t want to interact with you and getting trained in clever verbal ropes will bring them to their knees.
Prospects are not mindless steer. Thanks to the Internet, they are more knowledgeable than ever and are more guarded from anyone who is a self-serving roper. Knowledgeable prospects are 60 to 75 percent through the order cycle before they even interact with a sales person.
So why to we continue this annoying random cold calling, roping selling technique to close business? Prospects today don’t want to be roped or sold; however they do want to buy. Selling in the Now takes into account today’s buyers, how they want to buy and from whom.
Using social media as a cold calling replacement is a Selling in the Now technique that is more aligned with the world today. Another is focusing on prospects that are already predisposed to buy from you. This results in a more valuable customer and doesn’t waste selling time on trying to close someone who will never buy from you. So leave your rodeo sales training home and tune in to your prospects and how they buy today.
Author: Rich Lucia