Rainforests and Torn ACL’s Provide Insight into Effective Selling

Based on the non-stop rain and humidity we have had for the last 6 weeks in Massachusetts, you could probably make a case that not only do we now have a rainy season, but where our house is located, we must live in a rain forest. Hold that thought.

Dinger, our GoldenDoodle, who I have featured in several articles, tore his ACL last week.  The X-Ray clearly showed that the tissue which is supposed to connect the tibia and the femur was torn. Disconnected.  Hold that thought too.

While both of these unrelated events are analogous to selling, I would like to first share the story of how the Veterinarian closed me for surgery in a one call close.  I have no idea whether she knew what she was doing, whether she was taught to do what she did, or it was all simply quite logical to her, but she did all the right things to get me closed.

She uncovered a compelling reason for surgery.  She learned that Dinger doesn’t just walk for exercise, but that when he spots Deer, Fox, Coyotes, or Hawks, he goes crazy.  He wouldn’t be very happy or comfortable if we allowed the leg prevented him from being able to run.  So while he has adapted and is bopping around on 3 legs, he needs to all out spring when he wants to.

She said there we had three surgical options:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Less invasive and less expensive surgery which could fail down the road if Dinger ran at full speed
  3. A permanent solution which is more expensive.

When I chose option #3 we were qualified.

I asked how soon they would schedule the surgery and she thought it might be weeks before the orthopedic surgeon could operate on Dinger.  When I asked if we could do it sooner, she had created urgency.

She took Dinger out back for X-Rays and when she showed them to me on her computer, she had proof of concept.  The two bones were clearly separated from where they should be.  I don’t comparison shop unless forced to, I don’t try to get people to lower their prices, and I don’t need to think things over, so we were done.  Closed in ten minutes. This is called having a Supportive Buy Cycle and while 64% of the top salespeople in the world have it, only 10% of the bottom half of all salespeople and 1% of the bottom 10% have it as a strength.  There is a 100% correlation between how salespeople make major purchases and the behavior they’ll tolerate from their prospects.  When salespeople change the way they buy, from not supporting ideal sales outcomes to supporting ideal sales outcomes, their sales increase by 50%!  The top 5% of all salespeople are 6400% stronger at this than the bottom 10%.

There is a second analogy from the torn ACL and two disconnected bones.  Most salespeople are disconnected from the best practices that differentiate top salespeople from ineffective salespeople.  There are 21 Sales Core Competencies are the tissue and they are akin to sales best practices. The ACL of salespeople is torn when we look at the gap between those top salespeople who have strengths in all 21 Sales Core Competencies and the least effective salespeople.

We also need to return to the rain forest in which I find myself living.  It’s climate change.  While the planet has been warming since the ice age, it does appear to be changing at a more accelerated pace these days, with near snowless winters in Massachusetts and my rainforest summer.  At the same time, there are two distinct groups of scientists, one hysterical group claiming the world as we know it will end in several years, while another more stable group says that is not what the science is telling us. I honestly don’t know which side I’m supposed to be on so I’ll leave that to the climate scientists to battle out.

Sales has become more professional, with more science, formal sales processes, tools, training and coaching to support the obvious changes to selling, and as with climate, there are two groups with differing opinions about selling. I have been a long-time proponent of sales based on science, where data explains what happens, why it happens and what should happen and when and why it should happen. Data comes from sales team evaluations as well as CRM, where data drives the changes to sales processes, sales cycles, sales strategies, and sales tactics.  The other group goes about their business as they always have, poo-poos the science, ignorant of the important changes to selling, not taking full advantage of sales team assessments and/or CRM insights.  They continue to demo, quote and close and they wonder why their win rates are so low.

Returning to the weather analogy for a moment, the difference between the two schools of thought for selling is as simple as forecast accuracy.

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