For those who love Monty Python (I know there are worse “tastes”…), one of his most emblematic films after “Life of Brian’s” is certainly “The meaning of life”.
For those who know the film, there’s a scene that’s set in an operating room that gives the theme to this article.
If you don’t know it, you can watch the scene on this video:
In this scene, while a birth is taking place, a visit is made by the hospital administrator and in a completely “nonsense” way they stop everything to show all the machines to the administrator. And when he asks what the purpose of that machine is, they say that it is the ping machine!
You might think, but what the hell does this have to do with sales?
Usually in the business cycle the following happens:
We hand in a proposal, let some time go by, and call or e-mail and ask:
“So, Mr. Customer, how’s our little proposal?”
To what we are usually told:
“We are analyzing…”
We let a week go by and call back, same result. Two weeks, same result. Three weeks, five weeks, eight weeks…
And one day we call and the answer is:
“We’ve already decided… on another company!”
Let’s be honest, after twice, if the client is still nice to us, but if it is a bit more impatient the answer usually is:
“I told you, we’re looking into it, when we decide, and if we decide, we’ll get in touch with you!”
More polite answer to “Don’t bother us.”
One of the things a commercial has to internalize is that “our time is never the customer’s time”.
That is, I may want the business for this month, given that my boss is bothering me with the numbers, but if it’s not the ideal time for the customer, no matter how much pressure I put on it, I won’t get the business.
Many of the salespeople I know who come through our workshops usually focus on the percentage of proposals they have to close.
For example, if I deliver 100 bids in a month and can close 10, I have a closing ratio of 10% and a losing ratio of 90%.
Most commercials desperately try to increase their closing ratio.
Now think with me. As stupid as it may seem, if you look at both ratios and if I have to improve one of them, which one has the most potential for me to get better results?
Increase my closing ratio by 10% or decrease my losing ratio by 1%?
Mathematically, I have no greater potential at 90% loss…
The question is how we improve this process.
Often what happens is that it’s not an ideal time for the customer to close a deal. For whatever reason is not necessary for this reasoning.
Every sale has a period when its temperature is high. Either because the problem that triggered it is more present or for any other reason that makes it more pressing.
However, the temperature tends to decrease and often, when the problem is no longer so pressing, the willingness to buy or the urgency to decide also takes second place.
In these situations the sale usually goes down.
The reason why we lose is that we stop investing in this sales process thinking that it has stayed in “cod waters” and keep looking for new opportunities.
Of course this is correct, but what cannot happen is for the customer to think about it again and the first name that comes to his mind is not that of our company.
Now… how do you do that?
On the one hand, by printing excellence to the commercial work we do. That will certainly leave a mark, but on the other hand, there may be several good commercials in the business.
On the other hand, and considering what started this article, with the ping machine.
Think of the ping machine as a heart resuscitator for the sale. In other words, they are procedures, often automatic, that allow us to keep the sale alive and continue to listen to the much desired ping.
Examples of this are strategies that we use so that in the head of the customer we are strengthening the link of the problem that has the name of our company.
A newsletter on the subject, free training events to which we invite you, thematic lunches, the sending of a “white paper” on the subject prepared by our company.
Finally, anything that occasionally reminds you that our company is an “expert” on that subject.
In this way, when eventually our client’s problem appears again, we will be the first company that will be present in your mind.
And your company, does it have a PING machine?
Also published on Medium.