Success these days is hard won, how do you go about winning your share?
Most progress of a sales prospect through the sales funnel happens with some sort of design in mind, rather than accident, even though the actual process is usually chaotic. As the one setting out to engage, there are things that need to be done to maximise the leverage that can be applied without exerting any “hard sell” pressure on a prospective customer, poison in this day of sales mobility.
There are three headline of questions that you can ask yourself, and then reflect the answers in the manner in which you communicate, in every way from the published ads, to the website, location signage, the words your staff use, and the way you follow up any contact.
What is your Share of Attention?
- The world we now live in is one where everyone is bombarded with messages almost every moment, from every imaginable device and location from the sophisticated and targeted offer on your own mobile phone to the ad on the back of the dunney door in the shopping centre. Those marketing their goods and services are in life and death competition just to get noticed, and extract the few seconds it takes for someone to skim a headline, and hopefully be sufficiently intrigued to take some action. Usually that action at the first point is just to read or listen to the rest of the message.
- Who is it for? Nothing can be for everyone, and but too often this simple and basic fact of marketing life is ignored. The targeted ad to a mobile phone number is way more challenging to assemble than the general ad in the dunney door which can only discriminate by gender. Gaining a share of attention of someone in the market for a new car has to involve recognising the personal circumstances of that person. Setting out to sell a two seater sports car to a lady with one child and another on the way is usually a waste of effort, better to focus on delivering a car that will meet her particular needs, more likely a 4 door sedan that fits her budget and preferences. The process of answering the question “who is it for” will always throw up uncomfortable choices. In days past, as someone who spent millions in advertising on the 80’s and 90’s, the typical target audience was something like ‘women 25-40, with children” It was about as good as we could do in those days, with a bit of U&A added. Nowadays, that broad description is so inadequate as to be laughable.
- How are you going to reach them, to create an awareness that you are in a position to meet their need or solve their problem, when and f it occurs. The tools of the web have been absolute game-changers here.
What is your Share or engagement?
- Why should a prospect be giving you some of their most valuable resource, their time? To be worthy of peoples time, you need to add value in some way to build a share of their brain, to get them to think about what it is you have to offer and how that offer can be of value to them.
- Why should they buy from you? In almost all cases, a buyer has options when it comes to buying something. Being clear about why the chosen vendor should be you is fundamental to getting the sale. To continue the analogy above, a car dealership that has some female sales personnel, and who have as a part of their marketing efforts a pick-up and delivery service from the local day-care centres is more likely to make the sale to our pregnant Mum than a dealership full of men emerging from the workshop with grease to the elbows, calling prospective female customers “Luv”.
- In sales with long lead time, there is a process that most prospects will go through, from initial awareness of a need through often several stages of engagement, before a sale can be made. Tactics vary through this sales funnel, but one thing remains consistent, the sale goes to those who are constantly working all points in the funnel, being available to the prospects, and . Perhaps the best salesman ever, Joe Girard who sold 13,001 new cars over a 12 year career in one dealership, a feat that sees him in the Guinness book of records. Joe not only never missed an opportunity to engage, and develop a relationship, and once you were on his radar, he created opportunities to speak to you, all in the days before the internet. Once you had bought a car from Joe, you got a post card about monthly from him, always thanking you for your business, congratulating you on a birthday or promotion at work, and offering help in some way. When it came time to buy Another car, Joe was the only salesman most people spoke to, as they knew him, trusted him, and understood he would be there for them.
What is your Share of Wallet?
- Share of wallet is an absolutely vital and often overlooked measure. When you have created a customer, ask yourself how much that customer buys over a period that you could supply. If they spend $1,000 dollars a year on products similar to yours, but you sell them only $200, your share of wallet is 20%. To continue the story of Joe Girard, he knew that the average time between new car purchases was about 3 years, so sales cycle his typical customers “wallet” was about $20,000 every three years, and he stayed in regular contact, so that when the purchase time came around, his share was high, I have been told as high as 60%. Given some people moved away, some died, and some just changed car brands for any number of reasons, that is an astonishing figure.
- Defining the wallet is usually a challenging exercise, what to include, what to exclude, and over what time frame. My advise is always to calculate the wallet over the average purchase cycle time, for cars, 3 years ago it was about 3 years, for refrigerators it may be 10 years, for womens fashion it may be a couple of months. A friend of mine, a professional woman shops almost exclusively at a particular retailer. They know her sizes and preferences, offer her an exclusive first look at anything new that comes in that they think she might like, deliver on a few minutes notice, collaborate with the shoe shop, and accessories retailers in the vicinity to ensure everything is matched, and do a number of other small things that ensure she simply has no reason to go anywhere else. I suspect their share of my friends considerable wallet is very high indeed, and they have defined it to include the things that go with their products, on which they make no money, but it adds to he service they provide.
None of this is easy, there are no formulas that work for every case, but there are general rules that can be applied. In addition, today, everything is measurable, every time you reach out to a customer or prospective customer you can measure the effectiveness of that action. Joe Girard would have been in hog heaven.