In this age, waiting for things happens less and less. We get instantly gratified, always immediately getting what we want. In Joachim de Posada’s TED talk, “Don’t Eat The Marshmallow!” Posada tells a story. It’s one many of us have heard before. Children aged two and three are brought into a room. A marshmallow is offered to them. But if they don’t eat it for fifteen minutes, they get two marshmallows. Across the board the results are the same. Two of three children eats the marshmallow. The most successful in the future? Always the one who waited.
This is because they practiced the ability to delay gratification. Those children who were able to wait turned out to be more successful with good grades, a plan for the future and healthy relationships. The ones who could not wait turned out to struggle more when they got older.
How can this relate to sales? There are many ways. Posada explains one: “The customer says, "I want that." And the person says, "Okay, here you are." That person ate the marshmallow. If the sales person says, "Wait a second. Let me ask you a few questions to see if this is a good choice." Then you sell a lot more. So this has applications in all walks of life.”
The importance of delaying gratification is that we will be more patient in our work. We will turn out more successful.
In Frank V. Cespedes, Jay Galeota, and Michael Wong’s article, the authors acknowledge that selling to executives is hard. In fact, “executives consider less than one-fifth of the meetings they have with salespeople to be valuable”. The authors offer three dimensions to master in order to win over these demanding buyers. They are:
- Context: Remember that executives are most concerned with business outcomes. They might also need other opinions and they most likely will need to think how this will affect various parts of the company. Make sure when you pitch that you mention these concerns and help them begin to manage change.
- Content: Do your homework, know the people, and follow up. Time is a scarce commodity at the C-level, ensure that your presentation contains as much valuable content as can be presented in a short timeframe.
- Contact: Contact in the right way, to and with the right people. "Across industries the top criterion senior executives use to judge the salespeople they meet is their ability to marshal the selling firm’s resources," they explain. C-levels want to deal with reps who can navigate the high-ranking waters just as well as they can.
Norm Brodsky starts his article out with a stressful sentence: “By following the path of least resistance in selling, you may be building vulnerabilities into your business that will come back to haunt you.” He shares a personal story about this talking about a business that he tried to help.
This business had one primary client: a single multinational organization with diversified divisions. Each division could be pitched to as though it were a seperate entity, but all purchased along the same company lines. And while these sales are easy, they are not strategically ideal. Any number of factors could cause their thriving relationship to sour: one division's bad experience could ban you from the company or executives might decide on another supplier. In that case, your entire organization could be put at risk.
If you’re getting all your sales from one source, that’s the easy sale, not the ideal. You’ll be very likely to go out of business. In the story, the CEO ended up hiring different people in order to get more diversified sales.
In Mark Kovac’s article, Kovac says that some customers love doing business with your company. Others may have problems with it. He says the way to stop this is to “stop wasting time and energy selling to customers who are detractors of your company.” Instead, fix relationships. “Turn around the situation so that these detractors become at worst neutral, and ideally real promoters. Only then will you have decent odds of winning new business.”
Remember how helpful promoters are. They can be key. They “buy more, stay longer, often cost less to serve, and are more likely to recommend your company to colleagues and friends. They become promoters because they’re delighted with your products or service, and maybe the entire experience surrounding the product. You have earned the right to ask them for another sale.” This is the opposite from detractors. That is why a good strategy is to make all detractors into promoters.
Figure out what the root problem is and make all detractors into promoters. Obtain feedback from these detractors, and include this information in account planning meetings. "Identify the highest-priority problems and focus on those first," Kovac explains. Make no sales attempts until these are addressed and the relationship is repaired.
Find Kovac: LinkedIn
Sometimes sorting through emails can be a lot of work. We focus on prioritizing the emails in our inbox, reading what is most important. But we don’t think as much about how we can make our emails someone else’s priority. In David Finkel’s article, he tells us how.
- Number your subject lines. “Simply numbering your subject lines with a "1," "2," or "3" lets your contacts know which messages need their immediate attention, which need action, and which are merely for their information.” Make it known throughout your team what the numbers will mean and start sending emails stating with a symbol its importance.
- Write a list- not a paragraph. Walls of text can be off-putting and intimidating. When faced with a text wall, many workers will move on to an easier-to-read email. While they may intend on getting back to your Shakespearean monologue, chances are they'll forget.