Memory Lane:

My first sales job after college was in Commercial Real Estate in the borough of Manhattan; specifically, Midtown.  The on-boarding process was: “there is a desk and phone over there, grab that chair and go canvass 705 Third Avenue.  Come see me tonight at 6pm.”

Canvass meant walk the entire building from top to bottom, identify every company, find out the person’s name who was responsible for the office space lease.  Effectively creating a database of prospects from all the buildings in Midtown Manhattan. 

In 1987 I could not email prospects, do research on the company website or LinkedIn. Since my rolodex as a 23-year-old kid from the Midwest was a bit thin, all I could do was:  Canvass a building; Use the reverse directory to find the phone number; Dial the phone 400 times a day.  Literally 400 times, and maybe talk to one two prospects almost by accident.

A wise old broker saw me toiling away every day. After 90 days, he said kid, “today is your lucky day, you can buy me lunch.”  What he shared helped me increase my success on the phone and in person with prospects.  I learned to stop sounding like a salesperson.  He taught me to tell my story in the context of the prospect’s problems and to do it in seconds.  He was right, I was lucky.

Last Week:

Last week during a coaching session with a salesperson I was told that 30 Second Commercials and Elevator pitches are outdated & a waste of time.  This gentleman has been selling in the same industry for over 16 years at the same company. If we graphed his sales revenue (and income) it would be flat for the last 5 year.  This salesperson takes no responsibility for the lack of growth. Economy. The Company. Prospects budgets are cut.  The usual suspects are to blame.

I knew the salesperson had issues with what we call GRIT – Commitment, Responsibility, Outlook, Desire, & Motivation.  I knew his responsibility score was 0%. Outlook was terrible because of being frustrated by internal challenges which also was affecting the desire to do what it takes. 

The challenge for me with a salesperson like this is I can lead them to the water.  I cannot make them drink.  However, I can make them thirsty.

I asked him to describe what it is that I do.  He went on a long diatribe about sales development.  I explained that was not what I really did, and he asked me to explain with a roll of the eyes.  “I help salespeople who frustrated and need to grow their revenue 15 to 30%,” was my response. 

His response was, “well that is what I want!”   The coaching session went on a while before he realized I used a version of a 30-second commercial with him, even longer for him to realize that it worked!

Sales Fact:

Most salespeople are not able to articulate their value. Most are definitely unable to structure the value in the context of the prospect needs.  The prospect does not care are about you, your company or even your product.  They care about the value of the solution and if it gets them to where they want to go. 

The prospect will not buy until you uncover enough compelling reasons, monetize the solution and help them see that change is worth the effort. 

So, doesn’t it make sense from the very first conversation to begin with the prospect and their perspective?  The best salespeople are masters at creating value. Discuss value with your prospect in the context of: Risk. Time. Money.

What big problems do your prospects have that you can solve? 

Your message is simple:  we help with the thing that is making you upset, wasting time, and costing money. 

If you get stuck, send me an Email. Maybe I can help. 

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Walter has been working successfully in Sales, Sales Development and Sales Management for over 31 years. He is passionate about developing sales professionals for CEOs &Business Owners. If you are frustrated and fed up with sales people who are not accountable, a sales team that is inconsistent and fail to meet objectives, and you want to fix it once and for all, we should have a business conversation. We bring science to creating high performance sales teams that on average grow over 32% in 12 months.