Preparing to Sell

March 22, 2005
Getting High Performance out of anything requires taking what is there and pushing it further than the original design. Just as there is always something

Getting “High Performance” out of anything requires taking what is there and pushing it further than the original design.

Just as there is always something different about the Corvette’s engine that no “normal” Chevrolet possesses, the high performance salesperson has pushed beyond “normal” salespeople.

So this ordinary, average salesperson is generally left idling while their well-trained colleagues blow their doors in. Time after time, they scratch their heads in disbelief.

“They’re just lucky,” say the low performers. But you know the difference is not luck. There’s no such thing as consistent or trainable luck. This is skill – pure and simple.

High performance selling is trainable and can become consistent.

Knowing Your Customer

Have you defined your target market? Does your company know which segment of your market is most profitable? A target market defines a high-priority prospect from a low priority prospect.

The goal should be to define your target market so you place the most emphasis on these prospects:

1. Those who will buy the largest quantity of your products and services.

2. Those who will use products and services with the highest margins.

3. Those with the most “unrecognized” potential.

4. Those in the least competitive environment.

5. Those with the greatest probability for upsells, referrals, and/or long-term loyalty.

Any one of these five can be pure gold, yet the more the better. Smart business people focus on these for lucrative growth by delivering laser-like “strikes” on particular markets. Fast sales, and lots of them.

But knowing your customer goes beyond a target market. Why? Because although a target market may be a defined view of a broad market, it is still made up of individual customers.

And customers are people who support the targeting mission. Smart salespeople look the prospect up in company records. They match and cross-reference records with other high probability targets.

They apply the virtues and problems of the prospect to as many people as fit the target model. Other salespeople think sitting by the phone is prospecting. The high performance salesperson maximizes and multiplies opportunities based on the consistency thereof.

Then, it becomes a matter of seeing the “sameness” in the basics while you recognize the “differences” that are that customer’s particular needs.

By doing this, it differentiates you from the pack. Differentiate yourself around the customer’s unsatisfied needs, including the ones they already know they have, and the ones we help them discover through questioning, educating and building awareness.

The important needs model is the basis for any sales and marketing effort. If we want to gain real competitive advantage we need to absolutely focus on important needs not yet satisfied.

The majority of salespeople stop dangerously short by giving a presentation or delivery that is indistinguishable from most everyone else. They focus more on items that are important but satisfied in prospects’ minds.

This puts a very narrow margin between “not very good” and “just adequate,” which forces a customer to only see price as the real distinguishing difference.

Like I said, “dangerous,” and yet it is the most common failing in all of sales.

Honeywell Research asked the homeowner-customer “What don’t you get when dealing with contractors?”

Their important but satisfied answers were:

  • PRICE : Heating and Air Conditioning is already a pretty good value.
  • QUALITY: It lasts a long time.
  • BRAND: They are all pretty much the same.

You can argue if you like, but this is what customers said. This makes it very hard to be distinguished from the crowd. Now do you see why “price” becomes this poor confused customer’s sole distinguishing characteristic

Yet their important but not yet satisfied answers were:

  • TRUST: We are not sure we can trust them.
  • CONVENIENCE: They’re not easy to do business with.
  • INFORMATION: They don’t tell us what is available or what difference it makes to us.

Now you’re sensing the high performance difference between the two. It is very easy to differentiate yourself on these points, and it makes a dramatic difference in your sales.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter and a free 16-page report called “Get More Leads in Less Time” by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115 or emailing to [email protected].You can also call Hudson, Ink at 800-489-9099 for help or visit for other free marketing articles and reports.