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You can’t steer a parked car

I was asked recently what I consider to be the most important sales metric. It took me about 2 seconds to respond with an adage that one of my first sales mentors told me countless times, “You can’t steer a parked car.” The fact is, none of the other metrics matter if you are not committed to doing the daily activity that is required for you to hit your goals and be successful. Uh oh… sounds like prospecting.

He had another way of explaining the same thing when I was in a “slump” or a “dry spell” in my results. He would say, “Emotional stability in selling has less to do with closing than it does to do with consistency of effort.” When you know that you are doing the work required to get the results you need, you can rest easy each day regardless of the number of deals. They will come.

So, daily prospecting efforts are the single most important metric to track. In fact, until you have done that for a while, you don’t even know what your other metrics are or where your trouble areas are in your sales process.

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Superior Messaging = Superior Results

How do you create superior messaging? First, you must know what your prospect really wants. If you are not sure – ask some ideal buyers. Regardless of your industry, the answer will be some version of more real value. More for less. Everyone wants to fly first class and pay an economy fare.

Second, can you deliver what they want? If not, then figuring out how is your new top priority. If you can, you now know exactly how to focus your marketing efforts. Your prospective buyer needs to know that engaging you will get them more of what they want (real value).

For example, “while the average employer spends $15,000 per employee per year on healthcare, our clients spend well below $10,000. Their employees also have more coverage than they would at an average employer and lower payroll deductions.”

In our industry (healthcare) the most common messaging is about value added services. Is this what our buyer really wants and needs? If you ask a CFO or benefits manager whether they would prefer to have free COBRA administration, a free or subsidized technology platform, compliance assistance, etc., or more coverage for their employees at a significantly reduced cost, which would they choose?

Of course, it is fine to offer value added services. However, they are meant to add value to the real value we should be delivering. Costs have gone up 30% in the last 5 years for the typical employer – is the COBRA admin free?

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Questions that MUST be answered in the first prospect meeting

Do 80% of your first meetings result in an interested prospect who wants to go to the next step in your sales process? If not, you are not answering the questions that MUST be answered for them to move forward. After presenting to thousands of prospects over the years and talking to many who became clients and many who did not, I am always sure to answer the following questions:

How do you do what you do?

How is it that they can get better results than they are now? Keep in mind, this must be conceptual –not product oriented.The biggest mistake salespeople make is sharing too much detail. Boring the prospect is not the road to victory.

Is it REAL?

A prospect who decides to move forward with you believes that what you have shared has worked effectively for others and they want to find out if it will work for them. Show them proof and gain their confidence.

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