Marketing and sales are very data driven—or at least we pretend to be.
Everyday, some research report provides interesting tidbits of data that show what customers respond to, giving us the secrets of success. We learn:
- Customers respond best if you only ask 4 questions in discovery calls….
- If you use these words…….. customers respond better than if you use these words……… And never, never, use these words…..
- Call prospects on Tuesday mornings in these hours, or Thursday afternoon in these hours….. and you are guaranteed to reach customer…
- You have to touch prospects 12 to 14 times, though 1.7 channels to get them to respond.
- Top performers lead with insight…….
- Sales people using this tool….. outperform sales people who are not using this tool by 47%….
- 98.7% of the highest performing sales people brush their teeth everyday and pee at least once a day. (These are conclusions we’ve come to in an ongoing multiyear study of top performers.)
It seems the trick is, if you just do any of those things, you are guaranteed to be a top performer, and if you do several, it’s a slam dunk, you might as well make your reservations to the Golden Circle!
We are left to believe, all we have to do is ask no more than 4 questions, and we are in. Hmmm, let me think about this:
Question 1: Hi, my name is Dave, what’s yours?
Question 2: So how’s your day going so far?
Question 3: What did you think of last night’s game?
Question 4: Now that I’m at my final question for your optimal response, when can we schedule that demo?
You may think I’m exaggerating—I am, but not by much.
What the data doesn’t show is meaning or context. We have to drill down into the data to understand what’s creating these results, and why. We have to probe to understand the context much better. The data doesn’t give us the answer, but points us to where we can find the answers. But this is hard work.
However, in our quest for the silver bullet, or wishful thinking about sales success, too few of us–sales pundits, self-proclaimed experts, sales leaders, lazy sales people never do this. Instead, they focus on asking 4 questions–never considering 1 might be better or 10 might have an huge impact. They call on Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons, but have nothing relevant to talk about, they lead with insights, but can’t support a conversation about those insights.
It’s ironic, the critical thinking we need to do to understand the data, what it means, why, how we effectively leverage it to improve our own performance, is exactly the type of critical thinking we need to engage our customers effectively.
Is it any wonder why we have a problem engaging our customers, helping them achieve their goals, creating value with them, as we help them through their buying journeys? If we don’t engage in the same critical thinking about our own jobs, our own performance, what it means to be effective, we will never have the ability to do this with customers.
It’s tough work, top performers recognize this, they realize it’s less about the number of questions, the time of day, the use of certain words, the latest greatest technique. They know it’s hard work for them, and for the customers, they are prepared to do that work, they are prepared to engage deeply in ways that are meaningful and impactful to customers.
I wonder if there’s a statistic about that? It’s easier to perform to the statistic than doing the work…….