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.