Sales Secret #2
I love to sell and have made the science and art of selling my life’s work. This is one of a series of Sales Secrets blogs posts.
Since 1989 I have kept a sales journal. It fills twenty-five hardcover journals (50,000 pages) and contains the following information on every sales call I have made since October 1989. A total of 23,806 pitches.
- Product / Service Pitched
- Specific Preparation
- Long Term Results
Over the past four months I worked with a hard-working University student to compile all of this data and enter the results into a database.
The results provided a unique window onto the process of selling as well as my personal selling evolution.
An interesting piece of data came to light.
In all of these pitches I made a direct request for the business 57% of the time.
When I directly asked for the order I got the business 83% of the time.
When I did not directly ask for the business I was ‘given’ the business 3% of the time.
The majority (91%) of the times I successfully asked for the business I had a high expectation of getting the business. 9% of the occasions I asked for the business with a low expectation but still got the business.
Of the 43% of the pitches that I didn’t ask for business, 3% was given to me, 12% was closed at the next meeting, and 6% was closed eventually. It is impossible to know how much business I didn’t get simply because I didn’t ask but I expect that I have probably left millions of pounds in business on the table over the years.
In reviewing the actual hand written notes I remember most every pitch.
One pitch for a manufacture of artist paint sticks out!
In the countries that I represented this company, I closed 100% of the 374 pitches made to retailers and distributors. The pitch was for a retail display of a new range of artist paints. It was the right product at the right time and I believed in its value 100%. As a result, I crafted a compelling and aggressive pitch with three alternative offers. I had a 100% expectation that every retailer would order. I believed that every retailer absolutely needed this product range. My expectations were met!
The huge success got the attention of the manufacture who was amazed at my 100% market penetration when other markets, not managed by me, got only a 52% penetration.
My expectation of success, drove the creation of a winning sales process.
The process included a compelling message, and a powerful pitch which always included a request for the business (almost a demand in this particular case).
The result was powerful
My personal lesson from these numbers is that a salesperson should always ask for the order but that should be supported with a powerful sales process.
Just asking doesn’t get!
The secret: Do your homework, prepare and then pitch with the complete expectation of success, then ask for the business!
The above data was based on a total of 23,806 pitches.