Winning in every meeting with a prospect is a great goal – and how would it make you feel – pretty successful right! This level of success generates high energy and the compounding effect is rippled through future meetings. And this is why we say that success breeds success.
So how do you do it? How do you become a 100%er?
The answer > Don’t limit your definition of a win to making a sale!
Yes, a sale is a win, absolutely! But it is only one of any number of possibilities. A win is also:
- Booking a meeting from a meeting (BAMFAM)
- Requesting and being given a referral
- Creating an amazing advocate for you
- Learning something that will add value to other clients – I always asked what the most successful strategy was that they have implemented in their business and why.
- Learning more about a particular industry
- Learning more about what it takes to get your proposal over the line
- Introducing another business into your sales pipeline
- Introducing another business to your business
These are all wins and there will be others – there will, in fact, be a win in every meeting. Reflect and identify what you have learned, how you have progressed your position with the prospect, or how you have promoted your business.
And then, work out how you will leverage off this “win” going forward. Remember to know and not to do, is not to know. Without leverage, the “win” loses its value and can no longer be considered a win.
So you can be a 100%er – you just have to take your narrow vision glasses off for a moment. Remember what you focus on you will see more of – so when you start identifying the wins, the more obscure (and sometimes more valuable) wins will become even more apparent.
The power of the 100%er mindset is in the confidence it builds and the subsequent belief in self that ensues. From another perspective, if your only definition of a win is to make a sale – every meeting that does not result in a sale is treated as a loss – this can have a devastating compounding effect on the energy and mindset of the “sales person”, particularly for someone new to the role.
This strategy is particularly effective for new sales people, however it must be companioned with these important qualifications:
- Changing the definition of a win must not dilute the importance of making a sale – that must be made very clear.
- The value of a learning is in the ability to take it into the next meeting, and
- The value of creating a new opportunity is in the follow through.
So, go forth, enjoy the wins, enjoy how winning makes you feel and make sure that you leverage off the compounding energetic effect in a way that breeds even more wins.
I work with business owners and their teams in many sectors including the service industry, retail, manufacturing, and not for profit – to design more profitable, relevant and vibrant businesses.
One of the biggest blocks people (whose job title is anything other than sales person) have around initiating a sales conversation with their customers, is the words “sale” and “selling”.
Everybody has a blue print or a set of beliefs and stories triggered by past experiences, which flavour the meaning they attach to the word and the act of “selling”. And often the meaning is negative and involves words such as false, dishonest, pushy, loud, demanding, and uncaring.
So rather that pull this belief system apart and reset the meaning – why not replace these words with others which are more accurate, more descriptive of what you really do and therefore, carry a very different connotation.
We don’t just come up with a new word – it has to be part and parcel of your business language, reflective of WHY you do what you do, and totally aligned with your culture and values. There must be authenticity and transparency.
Finding a new word
You might start with some brainstorming with your team around these questions:
—> What do people buy from us? What do they really buy?
Instead of these traditional questions:
—> What do we sell? How do we sell what we sell?
This not so subtle change in the question requires a significant shift in thinking. The answer will change the conversations you are having with your clients and prospects, it will change the way you position yourself in the market, and it may even change the way you design the entire buyer experience.
Let’s think of this in terms of a bank.
Traditional thinking says that banks sell credit cards and they do that by making a sales call and telling their clients about the product and its features.
Now, let’s consider the new question:
—> What do people buy from us?
Access to more funds.
—> What do people really buy from us?
A shopping experience.
—> What do people really, really buy from us?
The fun and enjoyment of the shopping trip and being someone who has the financial where with all to enjoy that experience.
So people don’t buy credit cards – they buy a state of being and an identity!
And what is the banks role in this – are they selling this state or identity?
I suggest that the bank is actually enabling a state and an identity – not selling! The bank enables the customer to have fun and feel like someone who is financially able to go on a shopping spree and to identify with the “status” that goes with that.
Being an enabler of a desired state or identity is such a different concept to selling a credit card.
There goes the block! The conversation is now directed away from a transaction and towards the opportunity to build a better relationship with the customer. And that’s another story!
There is a huge shift here – the belief that you have to be a sales person to sell, is now defunct. We aren’t selling, we’re enabling. Anyone can enable – including sales people. Enabling is what we do across all departments, across all roles and responsibilities.
This new understanding must be entrenched in the culture of the organisation – and it won’t work if your walk says something else – it won’t work if you don’t genuinely believe in why you do what you do, and what you enable is front and centre here. It won’t work if you think this is just a mind game.
Knowing what people really, really buy from you is a must have, a non-negotiable prerequisite to designing a powerful business.
What do people really, really buy from you?
Can you identify your Ideal Client in the sea of prospects?
How often have you heard that “Any client is a good client”? This is a myth of massive proportion and the cause of many a headache, of reduced profits, and a serious decrease in the enjoyment factor for those dealing with this mismatch of clients. Not to mention the cost of marketing to the unqualified masses.
Who are you marketing to?
The return on investment on marketing dollars spent is seriously diluted if you are marketing to a population who does not need or want what you sell.
If you don’t have an ideal client profile – how do you choose your market and then, how do you select or de-select your clients? Are you prepared to sell to anyone?
Are you the ideal supplier for your ideal client? When did you last review the criteria for your model client? If you want to attract a certain buyer, then you need to be attractive to that buyer. There is no point going to the market with an out-dated picture of either your ideal client or the brand that will attract that client – you must be relevant.
Getting to know who your ideal client is
If you sell coffee, is your ideal client anybody who drinks coffee? Are you just selling coffee or an experience? Is it just any coffee or is it from an environmentally & socially responsible source? What about the setting – who would be attracted to the styling, to the ambience and to those working there?
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Your ideal client will be the one who is most likely to buy because your WHY resonates with them. So, you must be clear on why you do what you do so that you have clarity around who it is who will align to or connect with your WHY. Know why clients will buy from you and not another supplier. Why did you decide to sell this particular coffee experience – and who will be attracted to your venue, your people, your product? Being absolutely clear on this will help you to more accurately, develop your ideal client profile.
Another tip on how to identify your ideal client
Examine your current clients and identify those who are loyal referrers, who buy often and value the relationship they have with you. Ask yourself, why they are different to those who are less “ideal”. This will help you identify key filters, which will enable you to choose the market and the prospects who are most likely to buy what you sell.
We have seen profiles which include criteria such as:
- culture fit
- geographical boundaries
- listen and take advice
- industry specific
- annual spend
- high profile
- pay on time
- marital status
- age demographic
- number of products used
- number of employees.
Any of these criteria may be valid depending on what you are selling. However, there are four must have criteria no matter what you are selling –
1. Clients have a need which they desire to fulfil
2. They can afford to buy what they need
3. They are prepared to pay for the need to be fulfilled, and
4. You have what they need.
The Hard Truth
When you meet with a prospect who does not fit your criteria, be prepared to refer them to another business. You must be prepared to walk away from those who do not fit your model. Otherwise there is no point in having the criteria in the first place!
Involve your Team
Make sure your team is absolutely clear on your ideal client criteria – this will ensure everyone is on the same page and focused on attracting prospects with the best fit.
Knowing your ideal client profile means that you can tailor your sales process, focus your marketing and branding campaigns and better engage with your centres of influence.
It is more important than ever to create, or review and tweak, your ideal client criteria to ensure that your on-line message is relevant and effective.
Remember to Adjust
If you feel that you may be too close to your business and your products to be objective, then consider engaging a consultant to walk you through the process. This is part of what we do at Opening Gates and we would love to assist.
If you have an experience with creating and utilising an ideal client profile, please share a comment – it would be great to hear from you.
Discounting eats directly into your profits.
Consider this… A retailer who has a gross profit margin of 30% must increase sales by 50% if they discount prices by 10%.
This is massive. If sales do not increase by 50% or more the business will suffer reduced profits. From the point of view of the customer a 10% price discount may not be significant, yet the effect on the retailer’s profitability is huge.
This is working harder not smarter… you may generate some cash, however, this is a short-term gain strategy resulting in longer term pain.
Most businesses discount because they think that price is the most important factor in the purchasing decision. In fact research indicates that when asked the question… “Why do you choose not to deal with a business or to leave a business and go to a competitor?” price did not rate highly –
- 3% more convenience to purchase elsewhere;
- 9% relationship with a person at a competing business;
- 15% couldn’t get the product they wanted at the price they wanted at the time they wanted it;
- 68% perceived indifference – the care factor was low; and
- 5% other reasons.
Here are 5 Price Related mistakes that businesses commonly make and how to avoid them…
1. Potential customers come to your business because they have shown an interest in your product or service specifically. Don’t invite them to shop around with your competitors. Be able to clearly articulate your value proposition and ask for the sale.
2. The reason why people ask the “how much” question isn’t because they are shopping around on price. It is because they see this as an icebreaker, a place to start the conversation… not to start and finish it.
3. By answering their question and giving them the price (and only the price), you are actually showing that you are indifferent to them… indifferent to whether they purchase from you. And remember – 68% of people leave not because of price but because of perceived indifference.
4. And this is because… the salesperson didn’t ask them what their needs were, what features were important to them or what they had seen in the past. Nor did they actually ask for the order.
5. And to make matters worse, after giving the customer the price, the salesperson does not ask for their details so that they can follow up. When you consider that 8 in 10 people purchase after the 5th contact with a company, it is easy to see why follow up is so important.
If you are continually running discount promotions, you are training your customers to wait until you have your next discount promotion.
4 ways to avoid discounting and NOT compete on price
1. Improve your customer service – be innovative and create a WOW factor
2. Add value – instead of discounting add a bonus product or service
3. Educate customers about the value of your product – focus on the benefits – the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) from the customers perspective.
4. Risk-Reversal measures – consider a money back guarantee that guarantees the customer a certain result.
The warning… ongoing discounting as a strategy for increasing sales will not guarantee increased profitability. Work through the numbers… know exactly how much your sales need to increase to maintain profitability.
Download your FREE Break-Even Analysis Worksheet
You are not what you do or what you make – so if you are selling your products or services and someone rejects you or says No – it is easy to think that you are being rejected. You are the artist not the art. It is your art that they didn’t want not you. Accept that and go forth and make even better art.
You may take your art personally but you are not your art. A No is an opportunity to see your art through someone else’s eyes – a chance to consider whether you need to change or adapt what you do or find a different audience. And anyway… a NO is one No closer to a Yes!