In this chapter Art gives us a lesson about dreaming, something he is better at than anyone I know. He said that a smart man once said, “Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.” It seems that more times than not people think something is better when it’s bigger or more complicated. Just look at the length and complexity of the healthcare legislation our “genius” Congress in Washington gave us. It just seems with all the advances in technology, we have lost respect for all things “simple”. Complex may work for fiber optics, servers, tablets or hand-held devices, but not so much for people.
In 1973 a young, Harvard business graduate decided to start his own business. He asked his grandfather, a Wall Street investor, to be his adviser. After a couple of weeks they met one day for lunch, and the grandfather asked how many customers he had. The grandson replied, “None yet. I’ve been very busy hunting for just the right accounting system.” The grandfather replied, “Son, until you have customers, you don’t need any systems, or an office or even a desk. YOU NEED CUSTOMERS.” Thankfully the young man listened and put aside his “strategic planning” and went to work gaining customers. The business took off and in 2000; Cadbury Schweppes acquired the Snapple Beverage Group. Since 2006 Snapple has been a part of Dr Pepper Snapple Group. His beverages are sold all across the nation, but to this day he still has no office or desk. When asked about it his response is, “Because you can’t sell anything to a desk.” That’s a great story because it reminds us to keep the main thing the main thing and keep our focus on what generates income.
As you consider ways to keep it simple, Art suggests you include these steps to insure your business will take off; manage activity, create little successes, and don’t get bogged down in paperwork. Let’s look at each one individually:
- 1. Manage Activity – If you are going to succeed in sales you have to take action. You can’t sit in the office all day “thinking” or “planning”. Your office is a very poor place to prospect.
A great example of this principle is an insurance company in Chicago that called a marketing firm to analyze what was wrong with their business. The company was averaging only 2.5 sales per agent per month. They had tried everything they knew to do, but kept getting these poor results. The marketing firm quickly established that their number one problem was that the agents weren’t seeing enough people.
This was just too simple for the company to accept, so to prove it, the marketing guy did a pilot by choosing 20 agents, randomly from across the company, and providing them a one-sentence presentation; “You don’t want any life insurance, do you?” Just that one negative message was all they were to say. The agents were told to repeat that message to as many people as possible each day. As they did, nearly all of their prospects responded with, “You’re right, I don’t, get lost.” But, one out of every sixty people responded with, “Yes I do. I’ve been thinking about getting some insurance. Sign me up.” The agents found they could give that message to about sixty people a day, and began to average a sale per day. The company’s business took off and its viability was saved. ACTIVITY REALLY IS THE KEY!
- 2. Create Little Successes – Often when you look at your sales goal, it can seem overwhelming and cause you to give up before you really even get started.
When I order a sizzling medium-well 18oz. steak in a restaurant, I don’t pick it up and just gnaw away at it until I eventually swallow and digest the whole thing. I cut it into small bites with a knife and eat it with a fork. That’s what you should do with your sales goals.
You can’t close it until you propose it, and you can’t propose it until you find a buyer with a need for it. Rather than agonizing over selling, why not concentrate instead on the activity that is necessary to produce those sales.
Then, instead of selling $X a month, shift gears and just think about selling 1/20th of $X each day. If you normally close 1 of every 4 you propose, make sure you propose 4 today. Since you don’t get to propose everyone you see, be sure to see at least 6 today. Since you only get in front of about a third of the people you make contact with, be sure you call or knock on the doors of about 20 people today.
Now instead of frantically trying to sell $20X a month, change your focus to contacting 20 people a day, and let the law of averages produce the sales for you. $1X a day is a much better and less stressful way to reach $20X each month. By pacing yourself this way, your confidence gets a real boost and some of the fear of failure is eliminated.
3. Don’t Get Bogged Down in Paperwork – Nothing will get you in trouble quicker than taking your eye off the ball. At most companies the fastest way for that to happen is to major in paperwork. I understand you can’t complete a sale or get paid without mucking through a certain amount of paperwork. Do what’s necessary but keep the main thing the main thing.
When I (Doug) was a corporate sales coach, a rookie sales lady asked me if I would tell her which contract to complete for a particular service. I asked her how big the sale was. She said she hadn’t made one yet, but wanted to get squared away on the paperwork before she proposed one. I responded by telling her to go create the problem and find somebody who wanted that product, and then she would need to know how to write it up. I asked her, who gets paid the most, sales people or admin folks? She said “sales”, to which I responded, “You’re right. Don’t forget which one you are. You probably won’t be happy with admin pay.”
If paperwork is not relegated to its proper place, you will plateau in sales and not be able to go any higher, because of the time you need to spend administrating the business. If you are a commission-based rep the smartest thing you can do is farm out as much administrative stuff as possible. It would help you greatly if you paid your spouse or an adult child to help with this. I did this for a period of time when I made my living selling, and it was a breath of fresh air to be able to spend all my time talking to prospects and customers, rather than playing being a paper jockey
Every communication is better when you simplify it and make it brief. People today are afraid to write in short, simple language for fear that others will think they’re dumb. That’s DUMB. I assure you if your message is clear nobody will want to know where the big, impressive words are. It’s always true that the shorter the message, the greater the effect. Advertisers know this too. As soon as you glance at these one-liners, you will certainly recognize the name of the product:
The Ultimate Driving Machine (BMW)
I’m Lovin’ It (McDonalds)
Every Kiss Begins With Kay (Kay Jewelers)
You Can Do It, We Can Help (Home Depot)
Eat Fresh (SubWay)
Now that you’ve read Art’s plan, why not Speak Your Mind and share your thoughts about what he had to say about simplicity.
©2013 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC