In his book 80/20 Sales and Marketing, marketing and advertising expert Perry Marshall explains how you can transform your sales and marketing results without extraordinary effort. In this edited excerpt, the author describes the five attributes that must be in place before a sale is possible.
You can reduce the sales process to five essential requirements that are always present when a sale is made. These five things define the who of the traffic that you're trying to buy.
1. Do they have the money? Some markets consist of people who have no money. Sometimes the very market itself is defined as a herd of moneyless people. That doesn't mean you can't make a buck selling rent-to-own furniture, but know ahead of time it's going to be tricky to get blood out of them stones. People who do have the money are way easier to sell to!
2. Do they have a "bleeding neck"? A bleeding neck is a dire sense of urgency, an immediate problem that demands to be solved. Right. Now. If you want to make the big bucks, your product has to deal with something that involves one or both of the following: a) pain and great inconvenience, loss of money, threat of loss, and/or b) some craving for pleasure that borders on the irrational. Big pain, big pleasure. Stuff that hits really close to the jugular or pocketbook. Serious money is always found in those places. If you want the check tomorrow, the problem today needs to be u-r-g-e-n-t.
3. Do they buy into your unique selling proposition (USP)? If you're just going into a market, the question is, what big benefit will your prospects buy into? What kind of deal would they snatch up in a hot second? What benefit do they want that the other guys are not promising?
A unique selling proposition is your unique answer to these questions:
- What does your product do that nobody else's product does?
- Why should customers buy from you instead of anybody else?
- What guarantee can you make that nobody else can make?
Your unique selling proposition is hugely important. Know that one of your most important jobs as a salesperson or marketer is to not only know the answers to these questions but to constantly improve the USP of whatever you sell.
4. Do they have the ability to say yes? I've got a friend who lost a big bundle trying to sell a seminar to doctors. They had the money, they bought into his USP, they had a bleeding neck -- most doctors were expressing grave dissatisfaction about financial matters that the seminar directly addressed -- but it was almost impossible to get a piece of mail into any doctor's hands. Doctors have their staff sort all their mail, and what Helga their assistant thinks is a bleeding-neck issue and what actually makes the doc's neck bleed are two different things.
Helga the receptionist can say no, but she can't say yes. This is a huge problem when you're selling anything. Are you selling to an engineer who's going to have to get approval from his boss? Are you applying for a job through the human resources department -- knowing that HR can only say no and only the VP can say yes?
5. Does what you sell fit in with their overall plans? If your service requires major brain surgery on the part of the customer, he isn't going to take your offer unless brain surgery is literally a lot less painful than the alternative (e.g., dying). Whatever you sell needs to harmonize with natural, existing forces -- both on the inside and outside of your prospect's world.
The most important thing about the Five Power Disqualifiers® (The Five Power Disqualifiers® is a registered trademark of John Paul Mencocha of Speed Selling Inc. and used under license.) is, you want to plow through them as fast as humanly possible. Sales is, first and foremost, a disqualification process, not a "convincing people" process! Step past the sick and the lame early in the game, and deal only with the healthy ones left standing. You'll save yourself so much time.
The Five Power Disqualifiers® are exhibit "A" of 80/20 thinking. Each one typically gets rid of the bottom 80 percent of whomever you're dealing with. When you're honest with yourself about all five of these things, you're automatically dealing with the tippy-top of the pyramid -- less than 1 percent.
Perry Marshall is the president of Perry S. Marshall & Associates, a Chicago-based company that consults both online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales leads, web traffic and maximizing advertising results. He has written five books including his most recent, 80/20 Sales and Marketing (Entrepreneur Press, 2013). He blogs at perrymarshall.com.