In our last blog we discussed feasibility to answer the question as to whether something was realistically possible. One of the things I have learned about feasibility, is that it is very often a mindset rather than a reality. For example, in many instances of training corporate sales forces, the sales team feels like they are doing their best, performing at maximum output. Any meaningful increase is not feasible.
Then I ask them a question. It goes something like this… Let’s assume your normal annual sales are $1,000,000 for which you earn $60,000 – $70,000. If I could persuade management that for the next twelve months, that if you actually double your sales, you will be allowed to keep 100% of the increased revenue, how many in this room believe they would hit that goal?
Nearly 100% of the hands shoot up in the air, which often surprises the owner of the company. They just answered the feasibility question. It is feasible. They’re just not that motivated under the current comp plan.
Feasibility is however, closely connected to the sixth factor for wealth creation which is “probability”. Feasibility determines whether something is doable or possible. Probability determines the mathematical odds of success and the risk / reward ratio.
Say I offer you $5 to jump off the roof of my house. You think there’s a 50/50 chance you might hurt your ankle so you decline. Then I up the ante to $1 million and though the odds haven’t changed, the reward has. You most likely would do it. $1 million will take good care of a twisted or even broken ankle.
Now suppose I offer you $1,000,000 to jump off the high rise downtown… The reward stayed the same, but the odds of success without a parachute virtually disappear. No sane person would accept that offer. They might consider it from the third or fourth floor, but long before they got to the top floor, they would decline the offer.
The more certain your empirical data is the better you can make a decision. In business however, few folks ever do the simplest amount of probability research, but they should. For example, I’ve always read that 80% of start-ups are gone within five years, but according to the US Department of Commerce, 95% of franchises are still in business after five years. If you want a high and proven success rate, franchises might be best for you.
Franchises work because they have clearly defined what it takes to be successful and require you to follow their system and have sufficient capital to make it work. A system consists of individual processes for important functions of a business such as a marketing system, sales system, etc. If you had that kind of assistance from someone who could systemize your business by identifying the processes that need to be in place and strictly followed, your business could very well poll vault into great success too. (I can help with that).
Let me illustrate how you can increase your probability of success in sales.
Most folks have success at their fingertips and don’t know it. Let’s say their initial contact with a prospect is by phone. All they know is that they’ve been calling all week and only had a few meaningful conversations. Two of them resulted in an appointment. One canceled and the other is “thinking about it”. Typically the sales person gets despondent and looks for other work.
They have no idea how many calls they actually made, nor do they know the conversion ratio at each step. Without that it is hard to help them. What I usually find is that the number of calls they are actually making is sub-standard. Secondly, they either don’t have or are not following a clearly defined sales process. Thirdly, and not so rarely, their sales process is flawed because it doesn’t bring the prospect along the sales continuum of trust, relationship and credibility in proportion to the risk they are asking them to take at each step.
A sales process measures the level of commitment you are asking a prospect to make against the level of risk they feel at any particular time.
Your job is to incrementally lower their sense of risk and increase their understanding of reward by providing measurables like product stats and costs along with intangibles like trust, rapport, respect and credibility.
When you define the appropriate levels of individual commitment steps, you can measure your actual success at each step. If one step is converting poorly, you can most likely correct that by introducing an intermediate step, taking more time to offset their sense of risk or increasing the reward ratio.
In the end, with a good sales process, you can then measure activity levels. A lot of failure in the sales world is a result of low activity levels. The process works but the processor (sales rep) isn’t working the process sufficiently or correctly. These are easily correctable problems, but without knowing proven probabilities for success at each step, it is very difficult to bring improvement.
The 7th Day Lesson: You rest while the systems work
The more you can transform your business into a system, dependent on processes that have proven, measurable probabilities, the greater your likelihood for success. That’s what the 7th day of creation teaches about business by the way. God rested on the 7th day because the systems were all in place. That’s why I study the ecosystem for example, because it works amazingly well and its lessons are transferable to business.
Would love to share more with you so I am planning a LIVE webinar for later this month for those who have indicated interest after visiting this page. So if you haven’t already, I suggest you check it out.
Until then, be fruitful and multiply!
[…] not unusual for a day has far more potential for gain and for loss than the real estate. Using the 6th Law of Multiplication we discussed yesterday, you may feel more comfortable with a lower potential return that also has a […]
Dan – I agree. However the 7th Day Lesson is where a big problem exists.
Most top sales producers have intuitively learned to use radically different sales process than the other 97% do. However, very few can accurately describe how they sell. Therefore, it’s very difficult for sales managers to emulate them. Indicatively, it’s also why they seldom use their company’s CRM system.
I learned that by observing hundreds of top producers, on three continents, while they interacted with prospects and customers.
Thanks for posting! I believe the reason it is so hard for successful sales reps to accurately describe how they sell is because they are highly intuitive. Having said that, what they do can still be broken down into a series of logical steps that make sense and can be emulated. It often takes a left brain person to catalog what a right brain person is doing.