Tag: Power Matrix

Don’t Ever Give Up

Don’t Ever Give Up

In the past, I have written that there is no crying in sales. When you lose, you need to get back on the horse and keep going. This is excellent advice, but you also cannot give up on that prospect that just rejected you.

There is a chance that your product is a “one and done” type of product and therefore the customer will never repurchase a similar product. However, most products are not that way. In fact, many products that are sold from one business to another business are continuously used and repeatedly purchased. The first order is just that, only the first order.

In most situations, you only lost the first order. Yes, this might put you in a disadvantage for the longer term purchases, but it doesn’t disqualify you.

I still remember the first time I lost to a DIY (Do It Yourself) solution which is a frequent competitor in the software industry. I was calling on a company in Minneapolis MN (I live in Cincinnati OH). The company was a high-tech company, and they had a lot of astute, young professionals. I was very late to the sales cycle and found out about the prospect’s need after they had done a lot of work at identifying how to achieve their goals. If you have read my book, Eliminate Your Competition, you can easily guess that I was in trouble from the very beginning.

I only had a few people identified in the Power Matrix. I had not had the time to develop relationships with multiple levels of the organization.

Being that late caused me to lose the deal. The engineering team at the customer convinced the division manager that they could engineer the solution themselves with some open-source software and off-the-shelf computer add-ons. Four weeks after learning about the customer’s need, I received a phone call that I had lost.

The loss was my fault. I was outsold by the internal engineering team. Time to get back on the saddle.

My manager told me to shake it off as I was obviously column fodder. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase, column fodder is when the customer only looks at your product to prove to “management” that the evaluation was complete and covered enough competitors to ensure that the assessment was fair.

I don’t like being column fodder. I don’t like to lose either.

I called up the admin of the VP of the division and asked for an appointment with him in two days. This is back when most executives had an administrative assistant and that person actually answered the phone. I had met with him once before, but it was a brief conversation, and I was still learning what was important to him. The only thing I knew for sure is that he was very demanding of his team and that he had severe deadlines on this project. She informed me that John (not his real name) was in all day, but his calendar was booked. I told her that I understood that he was busy, but I really needed to see him, and I would be sitting in the company lobby all day in the hopes that he could see me.

I flew to Minneapolis and arrived in the company lobby at 7:15A. I had two documents with me that I thought would make a difference to John. It was the dead of winter, and it was frigid outside. The lobby was merely a security entrance with a security guard and three plastic chairs against a window that let much of that Minneapolis cold seep through the glass. Unfortunately, it was not the employee entrance, so I was not able to “ambush” John as he came to work.

The two documents that I had in my possession were the tools to set the only trap that I could set. I didn’t know if it would be good enough this late in the decision cycle. It was the same trap that I would have wanted to set weeks or months earlier, but I couldn’t because I was late. This one trap had to be so good that John would need to use it to override the wishes of his own engineering department. I was a Trapper and just like I would write in my book many years later, I knew exactly what I had to say to make the trap work. I assumed that my internal competitor had left me this one opening and I had to play it. My major goal was that this meeting would allow me to stop an existing decision. My minor goal was that maybe they would implement the homemade solution once, but they would turn to my company for the rollout of a purchased solution. Failure of either of those goals would mean that I was going home to Cincinnati empty-handed.

Larry, the security guard (his real name), was amazed that I was there to see a VP without an appointment. But he was kind enough to call John and tell the admin that I was there. At 8:30 (1 hour and 15 minutes after I arrived), Larry took pity on me and called again and said I was still in the lobby. This time John walked out and started laughing. He said he had heard about annoying salespeople camping in a lobby, but he had never seen it himself.

John brought me back to his office. He explained that he had full faith in his engineering team to create a solution that would satisfy his needs and that I wasted the plane flight to MSP. I thanked him for his time and explained that it was my fault that we were in this situation. If I had known about their needs earlier then we would have had this exact meeting several weeks ago. It was my fault that we had not had this conversation and I appreciated that he was allowing me to have the discussion now. I told him that I just wanted him to look at two documents and then I would leave. He agreed to see the documents.

The two documents that I placed on his desk were the annual report for his company and the annual report for my company. I asked him to find where in his annual report his company attested to being experts in the creation of this type of software. I followed up this question with a request to look at my company’s report and how many times we explained how we were experts in this area. He didn’t reply (I didn’t expect him to).

Then I laid it out to him. “John, you told me when we met three weeks ago that you demanded excellence from your team and you were proud of their accomplishments. You also told me that this project was critically important to your company and, in fact, your CEO says in your annual report that your company is in a highly competitive industry and constant improvements in this area are critical for the health of the corporation. Our company is obviously excellent in this area, but yours is obviously going to be learning for the first time. What are you going to tell your CEO if your engineering team is not excellent enough? Your excellence is in making your product. My excellence is making our product. Don’t you think you should reduce your risk and not hope that your engineering team is as good as mine when we have been doing this for years?”

And then I was silent. I didn’t say a word.

Finally, John said, “How do you know we cannot create this solution?”

“John, I don’t know. They might pull it off. But I do know that there is no question that my software can do everything that has been described to me that you need. Why are you taking this risk?”

“My engineering team says they can do it cheaper than buying it from your company. Especially, since we have to roll it out for over 100 installations.”

“Your annual report doesn’t say that cost is an issue. It says that if you don’t drive improvements in your product, then you will lose your position in the market. Why are you talking about cost when the risk of failure is the driving factor?”

It was silent for a long time after that question, but I knew that won when he finally responded.

“Can you wait in our cafeteria while I meet with my team? I promise it won’t take more than an hour.”

After 45 minutes of drinking hot coffee in the cafeteria (I was still cold from sitting in that cold lobby for over an hour), John walked into the cafeteria with the two lead engineers on his team.

I closed the deal two weeks later for list price. The deal doubled in size 6 months later with a repeat order due to the success of my product and the customer’s product. I blew away my quota that year. I would never have done that if I gave up on this order. I would never have won the order if I didn’t understand my prospect’s true issues and align the benefits of my offering to those issues.

Don’t ever give up. No means not yet. You will never be column fodder if you understand what is really important to your prospect. You must be prepared to explain how you help your customer achieve their goals even if the customer doesn’t want to hear it. The opportunity will come with persistence and perseverance.

I leave you with a quote by President Calvin Coolidge almost a century ago.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Header Photo by skeeze (Pixabay)
Calvin Coolidge photo courtesy of Wikipedia and in open domain
Time Is Your Enemy. Here Are Some Tips To Eliminate It As Your Competition.

Time Is Your Enemy. Here Are Some Tips To Eliminate It As Your Competition.

Time will beat you in every deal if you let it. It is a constant competitor. It is relentless. It never takes a break.

In every deal that you lose, you could possibly say that you just ran out of time to convince the prospect that you had the best solution. Whenever you do a post-mortem on your lost deals, it usually comes down to a simple realization, you didn’t spend enough time on with key decision makers. Sometimes you were blocked from spending time with the decision maker that turned the deal against you, but we all know that those blockers can be defeated given enough time.

We also know that time kills good deals. On old manager told me a statement that I often repeat, “The only things that get better with time, are cheese and wine.”

Using your time effectively is critical to your success as a salesperson. Hopefully, I can give you some tips to encourage you to do a better job, but I do have some bad news. You have probably heard all of these tips before. There is nothing new I can tell you. The only difference is that you decide to do something about it this time, or you don’t. You can always procrastinate about getting better with time management.

Here is the reality, if time is your biggest competitor, then procrastination is his coach and champion. Procrastination will help you become a very mediocre salesperson. Procrastination helps time eliminate you in your deals. You need to overcome procrastination.

To beat procrastination, you need a friend/coach/champion for yourself. That friend/coach/champion is urgency. Sometimes urgency can come from your manager, but when your activity becomes so low that you need your manager to give you urgency, then there is a good chance that your job is in trouble. That is not a good thing. Try to be urgent without your manager helping you.

Maybe your urgency comes from your spouse and family. That is good urgency. That means you are staying on top of your business for the benefit of others. You want to close all the deals that you can find so that you can provide for your family. You want to give them all of the great things in life that they desire and deserve.

I know salespeople that keep a picture on their desk or as the background of their computer merely to establish that urgency. To remind themselves that they are working hard so that they are providing a great life for their family. That is a good urgency.

How urgent are you?

Here is a bit of math to help you increase your urgency and eliminate procrastination as a competitor which in turn will help you beat time.

Assume that you have a 1 million dollar quota. Also, assume that the average product sale for your company is $50K. To continue this scenario, lets assume that you have learned from the most successful salespeople in your company that in order to consistently do 150% of quota (or $1,500,000 – remember that you should always think of your goals as a complete number!), you will need to close at least three deals for four times the average deal size. In other words, you need to close three large deals of 200K each.

While you have an annual quota, it is best to think that you always have to do 150% of quota in any given 12-month window. So in the next 12 months, you need to close:

3 – 200K deals for a total of $600,000.

18 – 50K deals for a total of $900,000.

You need to close 21 deals, and three of them need to be large deals to achieve your goal of 150% of quota.

The Power Matrix that I describe in my book Eliminate Your Competition suggests that you should cover 9 people in your small deals since they are less than 10% of your quota. It also tells you that you need to reach 25 people in your three large deals.

Some of those people that you need to cover in the Power Matrix you will meet with only once but others you will visit with many times. Some of your meetings will have multiple people in them. For rough assumptions, let’s assume that you need twice as many meetings are there are people that you need to cover. Therefore, you need 50 sales calls on your big deals and 18 sales calls on your smaller deals.

The above math means you need to make 150 (3×50) sales calls on your big deals and you need to make 324 sales calls on your small deals. That is a total of 474 sales calls or just shy of 10 per week. It also means that roughly ⅓ of your sales calls are going to be on large deals.

If each sales call is 45-60 minutes, then the overall time for each meeting is about 90 minutes from parking lot to parking lot. That is 42,660 minutes of sales calls every year for the deals that you win.

You will never win every deal. If you follow the suggestions of my book, Eliminate Your Competition, then you will eliminate your competition far more frequently than you will be eliminated. Let’s assume you win 75% of your deals. This means you will work just as hard on the deals you lose as those you win. That means that you need to increase the 42,660 minutes by 25% which is an additional 10,665 minutes. That is a total of 53,325 minutes of sales calls per year and approximately 12-13 sales calls per week.

There are approximately 120,000 work-minutes in a year. You can do this. In fact, you can easily do this. The only issue is if you procrastinate. If you procrastinate then procrastination’s friend, time, will eliminate you from some of these victories and from achieving your goal.

I talk in my book, Eliminate Your Competition that you need to be making sales calls before the customer starts their decision-making process. Assuming that means you are calling on the customer 36 weeks before the order (the assumption that I make in the case study in my book Eliminate Your Competition) then today, you need to be calling on 19 opportunities (21 divided by 50 working weeks in a year times 36 weeks decision-making timeframe multiplied by 1.25 because you lose 25%). At least three of those opportunities need to be candidates for big deals.

More math, you have to make 12 sales calls this week. Above, we determined ⅓ of those have to be on deals you think could be large deals. That is 4 per week.

Hopefully, this math (modified to match your quotas and average sales metrics) helps you create the urgency to achieve your goals.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Here are some tips that will now help you develop your time management.

1 – Set goals

I discussed in an earlier article on how to set your goals, but now you can amend that with the math above. For instance, in this article, you need to make 12 sales calls this week. Also, you need to make four sales calls this week on opportunities that are going to be large deals.

2 – Find a good time management system and use it.

Everyone is different in how this works. There are lots of blogs out there to help you. Pick one and stick to it.

3 – Tackle your biggest tasks in the morning.

The different systems out there will give you different advice. However, as a salesperson, your day will almost definitely get crazier as the day goes on. Therefore, every morning you need to make sure you accomplish your number one task before you do anything else. In my opinion, your number one task every day is to make sure that in the next two weeks, you have 12 appointments scheduled with four of those appointments being for deals that are expected to be substantial.

4 – Follow the 80-20 rule. Another great time management tip is to use the 80-20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle.

In this case, 80% of your revenue is going to come from 20% of your activity. The Pareto Principle reinforces that you need to focus on your big deals as you need to have your 25 people in the Power Matrix covered and comfortable with you, your product, and your company.

5 – Schedule email response times.

Don’t respond to incoming emails until you accomplish your top goals for the day. Yes, this is difficult, but you need to ignore the marketing emails and even the emails from your boss until you get your top goal accomplished – get your appointments scheduled for the next two weeks.

6 – Take frequent breaks when working.

If you have an office day, you need to stand up and walk around every 45 minutes. Get a coffee or water. Look outside for a few minutes. Please don’t go out and smoke though because smoking is an almost guaranteed trip to the hospital or the morgue when you get older.

7 – Meditate or exercise every day.

Some time-management gurus will tell you to do this first thing in the morning. This may not be possible for some sales professionals due to interactions with customers or maybe the home office in other time zones. Instead, either workout or meditate (or both) sometime during the day. If morning works for you, that is better, but daily is essential.

8 – Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day.

Before you check out of work for the day, update your task list. If you prefer a piece of paper, then rewrite a clean version for the next day. If you prefer a software-based task list, review it and make sure it is accurate. Make this the last thing you do every day. Make sure that making your goal for appointments per week is one of the top one or two things for the next day.

9 – Turn off social media app alerts.

Every day you will log into social media to make sure you are appropriately communicating to your prospects. You need to create a reputation that you are making them smarter. However, confine this interaction to once in the morning and then once in the afternoon. For your personal social life of looking at cat videos and pictures of your niece – do that in the evening on your own time.

Header Photo by ۞DLB۞
Is Your Prospect a Decision Maker OR a Decision Accepter

Is Your Prospect a Decision Maker OR a Decision Accepter

Many salespeople make the mistake of confusing Decision Makers with Decision Accepters. In the worst case, this leads to a lost sale. In the best case, this leads to lost selling cycles. You can recover from the lost selling cycles, but a lost deal is extremely detrimental to your compensation.

What is a Decision Accepter?

Frequently, salespeople confuse the organizational chart with the decision-making apparatus of a prospect. This most often happens with Hunters that do not have a history with the prospect. It also can occur with Farmers that trust that everything is going to go perfectly and therefore rarely plan for the inevitable curveball in the sales campaign. It rarely happens with Gatherers that have made a living out of extracting money from the prospect. Of course, it rarely happens with Trappers who plan ahead on their sales campaigns. If you are confused by these terms, I suggest you check out my book “Eliminate Your Competition” where I go into great detail on these subjects. You can also reach out to me through social media or direct contact on my blog http://www.thetrapper.com.

A Decision Accepter is a person of authority that “rubber stamps” the decision of others in his/her circle of influence. Most of the hard work of gathering data about a product and comparing that information with the needs of the organization is done by others. These influencers collate all of that positive and negative information and then make a decision on what to present to the final decision authority. I explain in my book “Eliminate Your Competition” that this process actually goes through several iterations as it goes through a Decision Making Triangle.

The reason that a Gatherer is so dominant in an account is because a Gatherer will frequently be in the circle of influence of a Decision Acceptor. A Gatherer that is appropriately motivated to close the deal can frequently bypass all of the organization’s decision-making apparatus and convince the Decision Accepter of a decision that the organization actually didn’t consciously make. To eliminate a Gatherer, you must force the decision back down to the decision-making apparatus, and the only practical way to do that is to start your sales campaign very early in the decision process.

The biggest thing to remember is that no one individual person makes a big decision in corporate sales. Instead, there are multiple decision makers, and there may be numerous Decision Acceptors. Understanding how the individuals in the organization work together is incredibly important to be successful at controlling the decision process.

While it is important to call to higher levels of an organization, it is equally important to call wide in an organization and to call low. In my book “Eliminate Your Competition” I explain the Power Matrix. The Power Matrix will help you develop a sales campaign that covers all of the Decision Makers and the Decision Accepter. You may purchase my book “Eliminate Your Competition” from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

The organization chart of your prospect will tell you who the Decision Accepter is within the organization. You will only know who the true Decision Makers are by doing the hard work of understanding your prospect’s goals and aspirations.