Having spent many of my first sales years in the TV industry, I absolutely LOVE seeing the new fall shows in the July upfronts. We got a sneak peek into the new shows and the returning favorites.
I still get giddy at fall previews and this year, couldn’t believe that Survivor was coming back for its 33rd season! I remember watching the first few seasons and being captivated by this crazy reality show that was also a phenomenal experiment in group sociology and psychology. Watching the strategy and maneuvers of contestants certainly captivated millions . . . for 33 seasons, apparently.
The show’s slogan has been Outwit, Outplay, Outlast – since it first aired – and you can see how the players have lived up to the slogan by watching their grit and determination as they battle the weather, their environment, the physical challenges, and most importantly, each other.
Consistently, the winners have shown that the key to “Surviving” and winning is executing a great strategy and having the grit to not give up.
You can guess that I love this as an analogy for selling, right?
Outplay the Status Quo
Outlast the Competition
What does this look like in a sales process?
I’ve been working with a new sales team recently – meaning they are new to a client company. It’s a new sales program, not necessarily new to sales. The newly hired team all has previous sales experience but let’s just be clear about selling: One sales position is never just like another.
These sales pros are charged with developing new business in a channel that has not been pursued previously at the company.
“New Business Development” is synonymous with prospecting. And more prospecting. Endless prospecting and lead generation.
You can see the Survivor slogan working when you take a look at what Sales Success looks like from a ground up approach to turning over new business – especially one where the buyers are not easy to pin down at their desk or in their office. Take a look at a snapshot of one sales person’s first “win” in this role and all the activities he performed to get to a “Yes” in three weeks –
- Prospect identified at a conference and pre-qualified verbally. Agreed to make introduction to buyer.
- Follow up email – asking to meet. No response.
- Called and left voicemail referencing email and original meeting. No response.
- Called two days later and set time to meet.
- Next day, met with influencer, buyer wasn’t it.
- Followed up with influencer again, was able to gain additional information about current vendor/products.
- Followed up with another phone call to set time to get in front of buyer.
- Met to discuss volume and pricing. Buyer wasn’t in but gave proxy to influencer.
- Prepared with pricing and new customer packet, finally met with buyer and gained consent to try.
- Buyer placed a test order.
Ten. That’s TEN activities to get to a test order. Does that seem crazy? For this buyer that is a constant moving target – like putting sunscreen on a two-year-old, ten attempts or ten touches seems about right.
What is this sales rep doing?
He’s Outwitting Apathy – by showing up, calling, and creating messages that persistently share and show he has value to offer.
He’s Outplaying the Status Quo – by persistently asking questions about their processes and current products and providers.
He’s Outlasting the Competition – by consistently following up to create relationships with the influencer and the buyer – reaching them however they prefer and not giving up to let the incumbent vendor get a chance to scramble back in.
It takes a lot of strategy, a whole lot of execution and a giant pile of grit and determination to be persistent in developing new business. It doesn’t just “happen”. You have to hire the right people with the right personality and skills and coach them and support them to make that happen.
Outwit, Outplay, Outlast – are you creating success as a Sales Survivor?
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!
PS – If you want to know if your sales team has the “Survivor” trio of abilities to achieve success, connect with me and we’ll quickly find where your challenges and coaching opportunities are.