You suck at sales.
Wait, keep reading. Let me explain why.
This week I started a mammoth task of emailing each of the 10,000+ people who have subscribed to our Monday updates email.
I’m about 300 people into the list and I’ve had more than a 60% reply rate.
Now this is isn’t about baiting my readers to tell me how wonderful it is to hear from me and to tease them into acknowledging their great love for the content we produce.
Although I do like getting my ego stroked on occasion…
The point of this mission is to find the common factors that face salesmen in all industries.
It’s my attempt to find a shortcut, loophole or hack to make my audience richer.
The crazy thing is, I’ve already found it!
It’s so simple.
You just suck.
The common threads that are holding salespeople back are listed below.
You suck because what is holding you back is the basic stuff.
We know better.
Yet, you and I are stuck in our routines.
When you’re pitching the same product multiple times a week it becomes very easy to slide from offering a consultation to asking 3x questions and then talking about product features.
I do this as well.
I’m in a constant battle with the lazy side of my brain to not just show up but to SHOW UP and actually be useful for my prospects.
Here are the 3x things that I have to focus which also came up in my conversations you.
A) We sell the product
This is salesmanship 101.
Nobody cares about the product. The features. Even the benefits.
Even worse, in the internet age the prospect wouldn’t be speaking with you if they didn’t already know the benefits of your product (and your top 5+ competitors) inside and out.
Yet when we’re being lazy it’s very easy to fall into the trap of sicking features and benefits out onto our prospects faces.
I SUCK – I met with a surgeon who had asked me to call in to discuss our latest endoscope. The NHS Trust he worked for had end of year money which they needed to get rid of and so I was excited.
All I had to do was convince him of the benefits of using the new endoscope over the previous generation that he already had.
The deal (and so a nice bonus payment before Christmas) was mine.
I sat down and explained –
- It’s thinner than the scope you’re using
- It’s more adjustable than the scope you’re using
- It has a better image than the scope you’re using
He grabbed his jumper, threw it over his shoulders and could not have summed up the drabness of the conversation better.
I realised I was running through product features like an amateur.
I moved onto product benefits.. –
- The thinner size means it’s more comfortable for your patients
- The adjustment means you’ll be able to reach tumours, even in difficult patients
Then the big hitter.
“The better image means less chance of a mistake. Less chance of being sued. More career security for you and your family.”
Still a blank look.
So I asked him why he asked me to come in. The question I should have asked, right at the beginning of our conversation.
It turns out he was a big shot. I was new to this hospital and so I hadn’t realised this.
He’d been flown into Europe for a ‘training weekend’ (yeah right) the weekend before our meeting by a company that provides disposable sheaths for our endoscopes.
They also had all our latest equipment there and so he was already blown away by the quality of it.
All he needed to know from me was the date I could deliver it on and if I could be around to walk him through some of the technical set up when it’s attached to the camera system.
He didn’t want features, benefits or a chat.
He wanted the value I could add as an individual.
B) WE DON’T TRACK OUR DATA
In sales there is no point in doing something if it can’t be tracked.
Tracking things gives you data, it allows you to improve, it allows you to see when you’re sucking and create a feedback loop to stop it happening in the future.
In our email conversations it blew my mind that the majority of you don’t use a CRM or have any task tracking software.
I SUCK – The last company I worked for was a billion dollar a year, world wide leader in endoscopy equipment.
A brand that surgeons are proud to be affiliated with.
The managing director often proclaimed that he’d built a “salesperson lead business” who put their “sales team first”.
Yet they didn’t have a CRM.
The ones I had used in the past were clunky, robotic and the only people that got value out of them were the management.
I felt like I was giving them ammunition for them to fire me rather than leveraging a tool to keep track of my progress.
(You have said the same to me in your email replies)
Then I came across Pipedrive (now a partner of the Salesman Podcast)…
Their tag line of “Sales CRM for small teams with big ambitions. A simple and visual sales pipeline tool that sales teams love to use.” got me to sign up and I was blown away.
I recently interviewed Pipedrives CEO on the Salesman Podcast and he explained that he was working in a sales role when he realised that CRM software was broken.
It wasn’t helping close deals, it was helping management manage.
They re-envisioned the CRM to make it visual and actually useful for the sales professional.
I was dumb not to track my data.
I was dumb not to have gotten set up with Pipedrive to track my leads and the contact I have with them sooner.
C) IT’S ALL ABOUT US
A common thread in my conversations with you was that you needed constant reminding that the customer doesn’t care about you.
“People are selfish” you told me over and over.
Prospects don’t give a crap about you. Your products. Your products benefits or any other sentace that beings with the word ‘you’.
All they care about is how you’re going to make their life easier.
How you can solve a problem.
I SUCK – I think Salesman.Red and the Salesman Podcast is the best and most entertaining resource for millennial salesmen on the planet.
I think we have an increasingly influential audience who are both end users of many products in the sales industry and who are the sales managers, directors and VP’s of the next few years.
Stay with me…
So when I’m speaking with brands I often openly put these opinions across.
It’s heartbreaking for me to hear but they just don’t care.
All they want to know is how I can make their lives easier.
I do this on every phone call, with every company I speak to and I still get it wrong.
The Good News
The good news is simple.
99% of us can sleep well at night knowing your competition suck more than you do.
If you have taken the time to seek out a post like this, then you’re a winner. Clearly.
You are in a position to not fall into routine, to treat every sales interaction as an individual moment in time and crush the conversation.
I will be reading back over this myself before my next sales call to try and reduce my own personal levels of suck.
I hope you do to.