Don’t Pee In The (Prospect) Pool…

Seriously, it’s just bad etiquette.

Do you remember what age you were when you learned this life lesson? I was pretty young. The admonition was clear- “Don’t pee in the pool. If you do, you won’t be invited back.” My mom would call me out of the pool every so often and make me ‘try’ to go. Most of the time it was under great protest. Sometimes I was being stubborn, sometimes I was just having fun, often I was just comfortable and didn’t want to get out of the water.

My mom did that because it was the right thing to do. It was simply good etiquette; it kept the pool clean and it ensured a good experience for everyone; also, it was respectful to our host.

Sales Leaders: When was the last time you pulled your teams out of the pool to practice their craft? Do you have dedicated time set aside for role-play, skill coaching sessions, and additional training? Do you have a safe environment where your teams can practice new product or service launches and get feedback prior to engaging with real prospects? Do you have a process where new hires can prove themselves before they go out into the marketplace?

If you don’t periodically drag them out of the pool and make them ‘try’, they are likely peeing in the prospect pool. Not good. It’s bad form. We don’t get invited back when prospects figure out what we’ve done. Do you want to take that kind of risk?

Salespeople: I know you hate role-playing. I realize that it can feel intimidating, embarrassing, and sometimes a bit silly. Here’s the thing though- even a little bit of practice breeds huge confidence. When was the last time you got feedback on your performance from a peer or leader, someone who knows what you are supposed to be saying? When was the last time you recorded yourself and watched your delivery?

You might have yourself convinced that no one will know if you slip up, but the reality is that people do know. Your prospect knows when you are prepared, confident, and knowledgable. They also know when you are not. Every time you go out there unprepared or underprepared you are peeing in the prospect pool. Not good. It’s bad form. Maybe they won’t notice, but if they do, you’ll never be invited back. Do you want to take that kind of risk?

[bctt tweet=”Practicing your pitch in the field is like peeing in the prospect pool. Not Cool!”]

The point is that we need come out of the pool periodically to freshen up. Both sales leaders and salespeople need to set aside dedicated time to honing the craft of sales. Create a safe environment, outside the prospect pool, where we can practice, experiment, and learn. Set aside some time where we can build confidence, refine our pitch, and try out some new things that may make us more effective. Build an environment where it is ok to make mistakes and not fear judgement.  Stop practicing in front of the prospect. Making sure you are prepared, confident and knowledgeable is just good etiquette. It creates a good experience, and it is respectful to your host.

Take a minute, right now, and add some time to your calendar for skills practice. Commit to not peeing in your prospect pool. One or two hours a month will make a world of difference.

Let me know how it goes.

 

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

The competitor you hadn’t thought of and how to prepare yourself

Who is your competition? How many competitors do you have? Go ahead, think about it….I’ll wait.

Who did you list? If you are like most, you thought about people in your own industry, vertical, product space, and geography. When you counted them were you thinking of their physical locations? Did you do a quick count? 10? 20? 30? More?

Let’s think about this for a moment. What is it you are really competing for? It’s very easy to get get caught believing that we only compete against those that sell what we sell. That is simply not the case. The reality is that we are competing for three things in every deal: Time, Attention, and Resources. 

Ok……Now, how many competitors do you have? Yikes! When you call your prospect and ask for Time, you aren’t only competing for your deal in your space, you are competing with every other person trying to get on their calendar.  Imagine how unlikely it is that your impulsive ‘stop by’ or repeated cold calls will hit the target as intended and elicit the results you hope. The odds are certainly stacked against you.

Here is what that means to you:

  • Know who you’re calling. If you can find the person you had a crush on in high school on social media, certainly you can find a key decision maker in a multi million dollar company. Keep looking. The info is out there!
  • Get clear on your customer value prop. If you can’t articulate quickly and clearly how your company helps people, then the message will not be understood. Your prospect has no time for things they have to work to understand.
  • Have some sense of how your product or service may help them. You should have an example of a similar company you’ve helped. Providing something they can relate to will help them make the leap quickly so they can decide if they have time for you.
  • Make your contact about them. We know you’re awesome and have lots to brag about, but until you have started to gain your prospect’s trust, keep your conversations and questions centered around them. Prospects would rather talk about themselves and are likely to give you a bit more time to do so.
  • Be yourself and stay conversational. A script is good to get started, but scripts are best used to guide a conversation. If you are reading from your script, your prospect will know it.
  • Warm up that cold call. People make time for those they know, like, and trust. Try to get an introduction through a mutual acquaintance, try a LinkedIn connection, or maybe introduce yourself at a networking event.

Your prospect has minimal time and only so much attention to offer. When we realize we are competing for Time, Attention, and Resources our view of competition changes.  Changing our view on competition makes us more thoughtful about our initial approach. The reality is that time is precious for you too. Arming yourself with a true view of what you are up against will leave you better prepared and far more effective.

If you’d like to read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

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Here’s The Reason You Can’t Get That Prospect Away From The Competition:

You haven’t made it safe for them to switch.

Right now, your prospect is buying your competitor’s inferior product or service and they aren’t even thinking about switching. Here’s why:

I was on vacation with my family in Florida. The plane landed and we couldn’t have been more excited! We grabbed our rental car and set out for the hotel. After a 6 hour flight we were all starving. My wife was getting “Hangry”, the kids were ‘floppy’, and even though I just wanted to get to the hotel to settle in, my growling stomach had other plans.

As we drove, we quickly narrowed the field of options. “No three-hour dinners” I heard from the back. My co-pilot wanted something quick too, but it better be good. My seven-year old wanted gummy bears and chocolate. (After all, we are on vacation, right?) No pizza, no buffets….

We pulled off the highway and had Burger King on the right and Mary’s Burgers on the left. Guess where we went?

We pulled into Burger King. It sucked. But here’s the thing. I knew it was going to be sub-par before we even pulled int the lot. I asked “Burger King?” and everyone in the car agreed. We all knew if was going to be bad, but we agreed to go anyway.

After we left I thought about that decision. The reality is that as a consumer, I make that type of decision a lot. It is not the decision for the best burger. It is not the decision for the cheapest burger. It’s the decision that is safe. I know exactly what I’m going to get. Period. I know I will get a mediocre burger, in a reasonably clean environment, for a reasonable price. I’m willing to bet that you make that decision sometimes too. Im also willing to bet that your customer makes that decision. “It is better to stay with a known entity, even if it is inferior or higher priced”. Sounds whacked when you say it out loud, doesn’t it?  We all do it.

You have a better product, you have a more efficient service, or you have a better price than your competition and yet, your prospect pulls into Burger King every day for lunch.

If you were Mary’s Burgers, here’s how you could get your prospect to break the cycle:

  • Get someone to give them a direct reference. It has to go to them directly, not through you. They have to know that someone else had a good experience, preferably someone they trust.
  • Show them. Your advertising can’t just be about burgers. They know where to get a burger. Show them something value added worth taking a risk for.
  • Offer to let them try it and compare. If you know you beat the competition, go head to head. Offer a price reduction if you have to, but get them to try it.
  • Talk to them when they aren’t ‘starving’. When a customer is in real decision-making mode, they are more likely to play it safe. It is easier to convince them to take a risk when the stakes aren’t as high.
  • Create some buzz. Are people talking about you and what you sell?  If not, ask them to. It only takes a second to post a review or comment.
  • Build trust. Mary’s could build a following by being consistent, by engaging the community, by not bashing the completion, catering to the customer, and just by being nice and friendly.
  • Mary’s could offer something her prospects need like free restrooms, coffee, or parking for trucks and RV’s.

The reality is your prospect wants a better burger. They are even willing to pay for it. You must make it safe for your prospect to switch. Minimize the risk and make it so appealing that it’s easy for them to convince others that it’s safe to try you.

Get this right and your new customer will wonder how they ever could’ve lived with sub-par!

 

If you’d like to read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!