Having spent many years as a top sales pro, and after nine years of analyzing thousands of top salespeople as a sales coach & consultant, one glaring truth stands out above all the rest:
The people making the MOST sales are going on the LEAST number of appointments!
This is an astounding statement, especially since it flies in the face of the more activity & more appointments, “more more more” culture of today’s sales management.
Here’s Why It Happens:
When a sales cycle happens very quickly, the closing rate tends to be very high because the prospect sees the immediate value and the salesperson is able to close the sale with minimal objections, if any at all.
On the other hand, when an appointment is set several days in advance, the prospect naturally builds sales resistance in anticipation, and has plenty of time to come up with logical reasons not to buy.
Notice I said LOGICAL reasons! Not token objections like “I have to sleep on it” or “I need to think it over” or “we need to get 2 other bids first.” I’m talking about LOGICAL objections that even a great salesperson would find difficult or impossible to overcome.
To illustrate, let me tell you a true story:
A while ago I sat in a cubicle beside another salesperson, who I’ll call Mike to protect his identity (not his real name). Mike was older and far more experienced than I, and truth be told, a better salesperson. He was a better talker and was better at carrying on a conversation.
Mike spent hours each week setting tons of appointments. He’d look at his full calendar, get excited because he thought more appointments equalled more sales, and he’d go out and work his appointments.
He made enough sales to cover quota and get by each month, but never more. (In fact I remember him driving an entire summer with no air conditioning - in 115-degree Phoenix heat, mind you - because he didn’t have the cash to cover the repair.)
Mike was satisfied with that result; after all, he figured that he was selling as much as he could. As long as he kept up that high number of appointments, he’d continue to make 100% of quota and would keep his job.
And then I came along…
In this sales office, there were five reps, yet I was bringing in over half of all total sales. That’s right – I represented 20% of the total sales force but brought in over 50% of all sales! (You may remember this story from the 37-page PDF download since my old boss wrote the foreword and told the same story.)
And not only was I bringing in most of the sales, but I was going on fewer appointments than any of the other reps in the office!
As expected, this baffled everyone, and all the rumors started – I must have been getting leads from the boss (in reality there were no leads), and all the other usual suspicions when a top sales pro actually knows what he’s doing, but others refuse to believe it thanks to their own self-imposed limitations.
But it’s true. How did I really do it?
Simple: I kept each sales cycle as short as possible! I did this as follows:
1. I only spoke with highly qualified prospects who already knew they needed to BUY what I was selling.
2. I kept appointments to a minimum, which was especially shocking to everyone in an industry where a 3-appointment sales process was standard (an initial, a presentation, and a closing appointment).
3. I kept the sales process as short as possible. In most cases I moved into closing the prospect on that very first phone call and sent over the contracts by fax or e-mail (keep in mind these were very highly qualified prospects).
There you have it – the three simple steps I followed to outsell the rest of the office combined, with LESS work.
What did my co-workers do? When they found an interested prospect, they set an appointment. In other words, they took someone who was ready to BUY RIGHT NOW, gave them several days to think of all the logical reasons not to buy, objections that neither you nor I nor anyone else could possibly overcome, and they didn’t make the sale.
What You Need To Do:
Here’s what I want you do to: I want you to stop going through this silly multiple-appointment process when you don’t need to. When you do it, you’re just taking people who are ready to BUY and give them plenty of time to decide not to. All without your help or input.
The key to selling MORE with LESS work is to speak only with those prospects who are ready to buy right now, and guide them into buying.
That’s it. So start doing it. Only work with highly qualified, ready-to-buy prospects, and close them as quickly as possible.
Read the full article here: