• Bill Petrie

Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm Water

Finding the right mix is essential to sales success

Many sinks have two handles – one each for hot and cold water. Too much hot water in the mix will result in a painful scald. Too much cold water will create an unpleasant, tepid feel. Through experiences, we learn the right combination (somewhere around 70% hot water to 30% cold) to create pleasantly warm water.

Like early experiences with a faucet, most sales plans place a majority of focus on cold numbers-driven activities needed to make sales: 20 prospecting calls generates one appointment, five appointments will turn into one project/quote, and three projects/quotes will – finally – result in one closed sale.

Numbers are important, but they don’t paint a full, accurate picture when it comes to creating a sales plan. Selling is a warm activity that should focus on building relationships and providing solutions. As such, warm and human elements need to be added to the mix to create a sales plan that works. This can be accomplished by asking the questions below:

  • How many prospects can be managed effectively at any given time?

  • What is the most effective manner of follow up after an initial meeting?

  • How can the CRM tool used be leveraged to increase efficiency?

  • What does the ideal client look like?

  • What method of communication to use – and how often – when engaging clients?

  • How to create presentations that surprise and delight your audience?

  • When to stop working with a prospect who will never buy?

  • What creative solutions to share with clients?

Devising a sales plan that places a premium on simple number-driven activities will result in tepid revenue and profits. Instead, like the water example above, a sales plan should focus 70% on warm relationship sales activities (relationship building, communication, and solving problems) and 30% on cold numbers.

Selling is a skill that is still built on a relationship between the salesperson and the client. When a salesperson loses sight of that and focuses simply on cold numbers, the results will be lukewarm at best.

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