The Sales Process:
Some people think that the sales process is dictated by what is said in the stated word, and how those words are used to convince a prospect to purchase a product, goods or service. I subscribe to a bit of a different philosophy. “You locate a buyer, rather than creating a buyer.”
The first topic to discuss is about your understanding of the products, goods or services with which you are involved. Have you attained a master’s level competence and understanding as you go about making your presentations and solicitations?
Success in the sales profession is a learned proposition. What I mean by that is I do not believe that there are naturally born, predestined successful sales people. Some may start early, even in childhood by taking on the confidence and developing characteristics that are required to be a successful salesperson.
The 80/20 concept applies to almost all sales endeavors. 20% of the sales people account for 80% of the total sales in almost all industries. Correspondingly, the 20% of the sales people make 80% of the available income. The remaining 80% of the sales people receive a meager portion of the remaining 20% of available income. The 80/20 rule also applies to your “active” prospects. You will create 80% of your new business transactions out of 20% of your “actives.” The salesperson’s job is to convert member(s) of the remaining 80% into the upper 20% referred to as “active.” The bottom 20% who show disinterest need to be constantly eliminated, deleted, or converted back to “cold”.
There are various marketing strategies, including networking in groups, interactive agreed on relationships within an industry, direct mail, email, and direct calling. All are within the scope of solicitation, and/or starting an on-going relationship. What do you have to offer that might have significant benefits to the prospective purchaser? All methods consist of a strategy to convert prospects into an “active relationship with you” including establishing friendships. “Active” consists of a group that has communicated with you and expressed an interest in your product, goods, or services. Of course, “actives” can become friends and friends do business with friends. Business success, as well as life in general, functions much better with many friendships. Of course this includes, happiness, mental health, self-actualization, and money.
Developing a large network takes a lot of focused time and effort. Merely locating and purchasing a list does very little. A list needs to be identified for a large subset group that may be interested in your product, goods or services. The list will need to be appended, it is then sent out to a vendor that can verify whether the address and email address are still correct. The list will need to be imported into a customer relations software system to begin efficient daily management of the data. The list needs to be worked daily to convert people from “cold” or “warm”, into “active.” Information contained in the list will need to be constantly updated and expanded because people move jobs, companies go out of business, show disinterest, retire, change names, change business locations, a change in life circumstances, etc. The process requires that you repeatedly communicate with your prospects to convert them from “cold” and “warm” into “active.” The “active” prospects in your network are the only ones that you may reliably count in determining the size of network or lead base. Also, even with a size-able “active” lead base you will to lose 20% to 30% of them per year for all the reasons stated.
After much time of consistent follow up, such as 24 months, you may elect to drop prospects of your “active” list and cease active follow up. Dropped leads will be replaced with “warm” leads that become “active”, and new relationships. The fundamental aspect of the process is that it is a sequential daily action system.
Here is a suggested action that you should take for someone who routinely or habitually does not respond to your request to communicate, “Fred, I have tried to contact you a few times, without success? Would you prefer that I do not bother you?” If Fred wants to continue the relationship, he will respond. Fred may respond politely and say “no,” or just not respond at all in which case Fred will be demoted to “cold” and may be kept on your database email marketing program for future interest or referrals. A poor strategy is to follow up the same group of prospects, no matter whether they show disinterest or non-responsiveness.
As the process becomes well lubricated through practice and experience, you can expect increasing momentum until you have so much business that you are forced to slow down marketing and contact follow up to assimilate the additional new business, and/or new transactions.
Now, what size is your “universe of active possibilities.” Are there 10’s,100’s, 1,000’s, or 10,000’s of prospects that you may be able to directly or indirectly follow up or market too. You have a network size or number of follow-ups. Each person that you follow-up with has a separate size of a network. If you add the size of your network to the size of all the networks of each party that you market, you can establish a total, or “universe.” Then, the question becomes, do you and each person that you follow up have a large enough network and a consistent daily action habit?
Here are three different examples of persons that you may solicit to develop an “active” lead base. The distinction is whether each of you has a consistent daily action habit of following up on your leads?
1) You have 10 “active” leads in your universe. Another person that you follow up consistently has a total of 10 “active” leads in their network. If you communicated with your 10 each month, and they in turn communicated with their 10 leads then the total universe of “active” possibilities would be 100.
2) You have medium size network such as 200 to 400 but fail to engage in a consistent daily action habit. Failure of the actions that result in success may become your barrier. It will be necessary that your change the action pattern. Calling, emailing and or communicating consistently with at least 20 active prospects daily is a good start. 20 is not a magic number, but if you call and they enjoy talking to you that may be all you can handle. Otherwise, you may be calling 20 to 30 “actives” per day including completed and non-answered calls and follow up with a polite email.
3) You have 400 or more “active” leads in your network that you follow up each month with a good action habit. The persons that you follow up also have 400 potential leads that they follow up consistently with a good action habit. 400 X 400= a total of 160,000 universe.
The purpose of the chart below is to serve as a reminder that if you want to be successful, then associate and follow up other correspondingly successful people. Imagine having 1,000 different people who are receptive to taking a call from you and enjoy the conversation, that also has a large network of their own. This, of course, is an example. If you called 20 personally or email each business day, this would take 50 days. There will be natural point that you will not be able to keep up with the pace, because you will have way too much business.
Your network Their network Universe of Active Possibilities 10 10 100 100 100 10,000 300 300 30,000 500 500 150,000 500 500 250,000 1000 1000 500,000 1000 1000 1,000,000
The minute that you have time from handling new business, you restart the process all over. The real magic will begin to occur when business acquaintances become friends.
Calling and emailing are not the only mediums of communication, but they are very effective.
Remember that a prospect list can disintegrate over-night. In 2006 my company was primarily using direct mail, and we sent about 1,000,000 solicitations out each month. Then by September 2007 the market crashed, and the lead base quality crashed with it. Hundreds of thousands of real-estate agents, loan agents, investors, and builders/developers left the industry.
Over time when the dust and smoke cleared it was necessary to reconstruct a new list and start all over. Prepare for this event! If it occurs consolidate down to your “actives.” The entire process is like a mechanical system that I refer to as a sequential action system.
Remember the concept “you locate a buyer, you do not create a buyer.”
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