William of Occam was a philosopher and a Franciscan monk who lived from 1285 to 1349, during the medieval age. He popularized a line of reasoning we now refer to as Occam’s razor, which boils down to three words; “simpler is better.” He asserted that the simplest solution is always the best solution. If you are wondering, it’s called a “razor” because it shaves away all the useless, nonessential junk.
It seems to me in the sales profession nothing could be closer to the truth, especially as it relates to outbound sales prospecting. In order to fill their prospecting pipelines most salespeople go to one extreme or the other. They begin by sitting back and waiting for their company’s marketing campaigns and advertising to make the phones ring and the internet leads pour in. When they realize no matter how many inbound leads are generated, there are never enough, they reluctantly get on the phones and make some outbound calls.
Some of the calls are cold, some are referrals, but regardless; all of the outbound activity between salesperson and prospect is one to one. That simply means one call only yields one prospect. Why would you prospect by addition when you could be working by multiplication?
Enter, stage left, Friar Occam. His theory, “the simplest solution is always the best solution”, when applied to the sales process can have profound effects on results, performance and job satisfaction.
The “simplest solution” is instead of making sales calls one-on-one, leverage your prospecting activity in venues where multiple prospects can be introduced to your products and services through a single point of contact. Here are two ideas, one residential and one commercial, based on Occam’s principle that will have a profound and exponential positive impact on your sales results.
The first idea (residential sales) is to network yourself onto the docket of quarterly local homeowner’s association meetings. Regardless whether you sell lawn care, swimming pools, HVAC systems, insulation, security systems, or termite control, you can sell more of it by telling your story once to dozens/hundreds of homeowners. Rest assured, although these groups have business to conduct, they are always looking for experts to speak for a few minutes on topics of homeowner interest.
The second tip (commercial sales) is to follow the same modus operandi as above at trade association gatherings. Googling the words, trade associations, will quickly show you every industry in the nation, small or large, belongs to one. Associations are desperate for content to fill their meetings, so make some contacts and get scheduled to speak to them. You might even get a free lunch!
In closing there’s one warning for speaking to both of these residential and commercial gatherings; NO SELLING at the meetings. Provide valuable and relevant information along with your phone number and an email/website address. For those who show immediate interest in speaking with you following the meeting, consider providing a “signup sheet” of some type.
Thank you Friar Occam for thinking outside the box!
Are you a service manager who would love for your technicians and installers to sell more of your services, but either don’t have time or don’t know how to plan sales meetings to teach them what they need to know? Recently Doug put together an inexpensive tool you can use to help. It’s a Study Guide for you to use providing open questions for each of the 116 training topics Doug wrote about in his book. It removes all the planning and time commitment, and you really should check it out here.
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