For those who are passionate about Monty Python (I know there are worse “obsessions”…), one of their most iconic films after “Life of Brian” is, of course, “The Meaning of Life”.
For those who know the film, there is a scene in an operative room that gives the motto to this article.
In this scene, during a delivery, a visit is made by the administration of the hospital and in a completely “nonsense” way, they stop everything to show all the machines to the administration. And when he asks what the purpose of that machine is, they say that is the machine that goes ping!
You may think: “But what the hell does this have to do with sales?”
Normally in the commercial cycle the following happens:
We deliver a proposal, let some time go by and call or send an e-mail to our customer asking:
“So, Mr. Customer, at what stage is our proposal?”
To which they usually answer:
“We are going though it…”
We let 1 week go by and then we call again… the same result. Two weeks, the same result. Three weeks, five weeks, eight weeks…
And one day we call and the answer is:
“We’ve already decided… to opt for another company!”
Let’s be honest, after two times, if the customer is nice, they still put up with you, but if they are a little more impatient the answer usually is:
“I told you that we are going though it; when we decide, and if we decide, we will contact you!”
This is the polite answer for a “Don’t bother us”.
One of the things that a salesperson has to internalize is that “our time is never the time of the customer”.
That is, you may want the deal for this month, because your boss is making pressure with the numbers, but if it’s not the ideal time for the customer, no matter how much pressure you make, you will not get the deal.
Many of the salespeople I know and who attend our workshops usually focus on the percentage of proposals they have to close.
For example, if one submits 100 proposals in a month and closes 10, they’ll have a closing ratio of 10% and a 90% loss ratio.
Most salespeople desperately try to increase their closing ratio.
Now think with me. As stupid as it sounds, if we look at both ratios and if you have to improve one of them, which of the two has the greatest potential for you to get better results?
Increasing your closing percentage of 10% by 1% or decreasing your percentage loss by 1%?
Mathematically, you don’t have greater potential in the 90% loss…
The question is how you can improve this process.
What often happens is that it’s not the perfect timing for the customer to close the deal. For any reason that needs not be explained right now.
All sales have a period when their temperature is high. Either because the problem that triggered them is more present or for some other reason that makes it more pressing.
However, the temperature tends to decrease and often, when the problem is not so pressing, the will to buy or the urgency to decide also takes second place.
In these situations the sale usually dies.
The reason you lose is that you stopped investing in this sales process thinking it has come to nothing, and you go on looking for new opportunities.
Of course this is correct, but what can’t happen is the customer thinking about it again and the first name that comes to their mind is not your company’s.
But… how do you do this?
On the one hand, putting excellence into the business work you do. Surely this will leave a mark, but on the other hand, there can be several good salespeople in the business.
And then, and taking into account what started this article, you should use the machine that goes ping.
Think of the machine that goes ping as a heart resuscitator of the sale. That is, procedures, often automatic, that allow you to keep the sale alive and continue to listen to the much-desired ping.
Examples of these are strategies that you use to reinforce the connection of the problem that the customer has to the name of your company.
And that may be a newsletter on the subject, free training events for which you invite your customers, thematic lunches, sending of a white paper on the theme prepared by your company…
I mean, everything that makes your customer remember that your company is a “specialist” in that matter.
That way, when eventually your customer’s problem reappears, you’ll be the first company on their mind. What about your company? Do you have a machine that goes PING?