We coach and train organizations and individuals to sell … to sell their vision, their projects, their impact.
- Sales is a 1:1 activity. It requires that we get out of the office and meet with people.
- Sales is also the only way to truly maximize relationships.
I will often ask an executive director, “How many visits and asks (1:1) does your organization make each month?” More than any other statistic, this is a key performance indicator for an organization. Many leaders respond with something like, “Well, right now, none. We’re waiting until we finish our strategic plan.” Or, “About once per month but we’re really going to commit to major gifts in the coming year.”
Get out. Visit. Ask.
As coaches, we know it takes about 15 asks (over a three-month time period) from one person to hit ‘selling stride’… where a sales person is likely to keep making visits … revenue will jump … systems will start to form. On paper, 15 visits doesn’t look like a lot (and it’s not) but it requires:
- That we stop messing with the message.
- That we get out of our comfort zone. Otherwise, human nature would have us wait forever to make the FIRST visit.
- That we get beyond the 2-3 ‘low-hanging fruit’ prospects … being proactive in a sales process.
If you’re new to this, your first few visits are going to feel awkward. You’ll find yourself saying really stupid things. Just know this and know that you have to do them to get them out of the way. Somewhere in the range of 6-10 visits you’ll start to ‘own the message’ and find yourself in familiar territory on each dialogue. And … by visit 15 you will find a groove. Each visit is no longer produces that ‘deer in a headlight’ feeling. Much like an experienced quarterback describes, the time seems to slow down and you get much better at processing on the fly.
For what it’s worth:
- I feel really awkward on my first ten visits on behalf of a cause. Even having done this hundreds of times it takes me a while to find my groove.
- It’s much easier to do three visits in one day than it is three visits in one-week.
- Remember, be authentic and you can’t screw up. It’s okay to say, “This is the second time I’ve shared the plan in this way.”
- If it helps, go ahead and make ‘practice visits’… these count toward the 15.
- I’m suggesting it takes 15 visits for a person to reach his or her stride which impacts the organization as a whole. If you have two sales people then they each should make 15 visits to hit a stride.