83. How can you take the risk out of selling?
The trouble with a great many people is that they are not willing to make present sacrifices for future gain.
They prefer to have a good time as they go along, rather than spend time in self-improvement. They have a vague wish to improve their selling skills, but few have that intense desire which motivates them to make sacrifices today for their future.
They have a desire for success, but their desire is not the kind that makes them willing to pay a price or make any sacrifice for accomplishing it. So the majority slide along in mediocrity their entire career. They have ability for something higher, but they don't have the energy and determination to prepare for it. They don't choose to make the necessary effort.
They prefer to take life easier rather than to work for something better. They don't play the game for all they are worth. It is not a lack of ability that holds these sales people down, but a lack of ambition.
By not understanding the science of selling they let fear of rejection hold them back and keep them from becoming their best. They live or die with each sales presentation.
Read this next paragraph carefully...
The next time you become jittery because selling is such a risky business, consider this: The risk that an insurance company takes on one individual policyholder is the most unpredictable thing in the world. What could be more risky than trying to guess when one certain individual is going to have an accident or become sick, or how long he or she is going to live? Yet the insurance business itself is the most stable in the country, the safest investment anyone can make, the nearest thing to a "sure thing" in the way of guaranteed returns to investors. The risk an insurance company takes on one individual policyholder is tremendous, yet the risk involved in 100,000 policyholders is so predictable it can be figured to the fourth decimal point.
Whether or not you will sell any SINGLE prospect is unpredictable. But do as the insurance companies do; "spread the risk" by making a sufficient number of presentations. Make enough calls, see enough prospects, and a number of sales are guaranteed.
Let's say you are calling on 40 customers every week. Instead of going in and just asking for their regular order, make a presentation to each customer on at least four specific items they are not buying from you. That will total 8,000 presentations per year. Let's say you sell half of them and the average order per line item is $100 per week. That will total $400,000 in new annual business.
Selling can be done with mathematical certainty when you understand how it works.
The first step is to identify your target customer and determine how many customers it will take to maintain your business. Here is what I mean, using examples from different industries.
Let's say you wanted to sell residential real estate for a living. You would need to stake out an area that has a minimum of 500 houses. If you began a systematic schedule of contacting these 500 homeowners on a monthly basis, some in person, some on the phone, some by mail, and asking for their business, there would be enough houses bought and sold each year to make a living.
Another good example is insurance. You would have to have a list of one thousand households and contact them on a regular basis. There would be enough insurance needs to earn a living.
Both examples depend, of course, on your ability to out sell the competition.
Even a nursing home with 100 beds has to have them filled with residents. If they have 10 empty beds for any length of time their expenses go up and their profits go down. A hospital is in a similar situation. The success of their "selling" is measured by their "occupancy rate." The next time you visit a hospital ask what their occupancy rate is and you will be surprised at how quickly they can give you the percentage. A manufacturer looking for national distribution needs 200 distributors selling their product line.
Looking at a restaurant's business from a mathematical selling perspective can also be measured with precision. A restaurant needing to sell 1,000 meals each week to take in enough money to pay all their expenses needs a customer base of 5,000. A "rule of thumb" for a restaurant is to take one week's business and multiply it times five. Restaurant customers normally rotate their eating out, so we would want to be sure that we had five thousand people "rotating" into our business at least once every five weeks.
The bottom line… By making a certain number of presentations you can adopt the attitude that "I have got nothing to lose" before making a call, instead of telling yourself, "Everything depends on this," you can now tell yourself that "EVERYTHING DOES NOT DEPEND ON THIS."
You can strike out occasionally and still hit more home runs than anyone else on the team. Say to yourself, "If I do not call on this customer and ask for the order, the sale is lost anyway. If I call on him or her and flop, I will not be any worse off than I am right now, so I have nothing to lose." When you strike out a few times you get over the "fear of failure."