Connect the Dots for Your Prospect

To be a truly successful sales professional, you must reframe the benefits of your product or service so they can be measured with yardsticks your customer is already using to measure their success. I’m sure most of you have heard me say this before, and I repeat it often because I believe that this concept is absolutely vital to efficiency sales success.

Today, I’d like to share a story that comes from one of our Efficiency Sales Professional™ Certificate Boot Camp graduates. This ninja (who we’ll call Sarah) started out her sales career selling anti-violence training programs to schools.

Sarah would go into each school, meet with the principal, and typically say something like, “I’m here because my mentor and I are advancing this anti-violence program that I think would greatly benefit your school.” Before too long, the conversation would advance to, “How much does it cost?” She would tell the principal the price (I believe it was somewhere around $9,000), at which point the principal would recoil and say, “Did you take a look around? I mean, we don't have enough books, we don't have enough computers…we hardly have enough money to put the chains on the doors to keep the drug dealers out during the school day. Where do you think I'm going to get $9,000 to buy your training system?”

Sarah was a sales professional and was unfazed by this concern. She would say, “Let me ask you a question: How many fistfights did you have last month?” At that point the principal would say something like, “Oh, don't even get me started.” Sarah would continue, “Well, what happens when you do have a fistfight?” The principal would respond, “We suspend the kids.” Sarah would then ask, “One kid or both kids?” The principal would say, “Both kids, since we can’t usually determine who threw the first punch.” She would then ask, “How many days do you suspend them for?” The principal would typically respond, “A minimum of three days.” Sarah would then put the last link in the chain by asking, “Is it true that the district allocates funding to your school using the formula of $40 per day for each student who shows up for school?” The principal would respond, “Yes.”

Now comes the fun part. She knows that every fistfight costs this principal 3 days x 2 kids x $40, or $240 of potential funding from the district. So she would respond, “You know, with all due respect Mr. Principal, you'll probably break even on this $9,000 investment in the first month of the fall semester, and after that you’ll able to spend all of your incremental school subsidies on more books and computers, which you and I both know you need.”

Sarah told me that using this approach afforded her a success rate better than 95% (which she deserved since she was connecting dots for her prospect and using the right yardsticks). I'm sure when she walked into the room, before she started speaking, there was no way that the principal was thinking about average school attendance subsidies or how much money he loses from the district every time he suspends two kids for three days each. He probably hadn’t even thought about quantifying and monetizing the number of fights he'd had in the school. When all that stuff is lined up, it’s easy for him to agree with Sarah that the best thing he could possibly do is buy her training system and start using the larger subsidies he’d now be receiving to improve the learning outcomes in his school.

So what’s the moral of the story? Figure out what yardsticks your prospect is using to measure his or her own success, connect the dots for your prospect, and make your product or service a no-brainer investment decision.


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By (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | | | sales tips |
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