“You’re the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.”
Originated by Jim Rohn, this is a common theme that people leverage to guide them in their associations on a daily basis. The theory is simple – you are likely to be influenced by the people with whom you are spending the most time. Therefore, spend it with people that are supportive, motivating and otherwise help you to become a better person. Putting this practice into effect in one’s personal life is challenging enough but what if salespeople applied this approach with their customers? And how do they ensure these five customers create a foundation for success in their careers?
Choosing The Right Customers
I had the pleasure of attending the Revenue Summit a few weeks back, where Lincoln Hughes ran a great session around customer fit and “hiring”/“firing” customers based on whether they met this predetermined fit (technology, competence, functionality, etc.) with your product/service. A “good fit” prospect will vary by company but should be clear to reps once they get a few customers under their belt. This strategy is also noted Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Work Week in which he fired customers in order to maintain his focus on the 80/20 rule, leading to massive sales success. Eliminating customers that aren’t efficient uses of one’s time (per $ spent) means a rep will have more time to focus on larger scale deals and building relationships with the right customers.
Influence is defined as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. The Challenger Sale illustrates this through the ability to teach, tailor, and take control in order to achieve sales success. If the average buying team is made up of 5.4 people, and each of those personas has varying interests/opinions, a successful rep must be able to tweak their message in order to influence each member throughout the buying relationship.
Add Value To All Interactions
o In Social Selling Mastery, Jamie Shanks speaks of his philosophy of never sending a naked message. Whether it’s a face-to-face meeting, email, phone or social engagement, the rep should be providing value to their customer in every interaction. It should be quite easy to find a reason to engage if you’re intently listening to your customer and putting their interests above your own. Face it, your customers are just too busy and every “just checking in” message you send is a blown opportunity.
So I would challenge the sales professionals reading this to take an inventory check on their current customer base to see where they stack up. Tightening this up will make you more time efficient and earn more referrals from like-minded customers, making your sales career more enjoyable and profitable.
What do you think of this strategy? Did I miss any key steps? I would love to hear any feedback on the comments below or engage via my social profiles!
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