Sitting (ever attentively, naturally) through never-ending b-school lectures, I was often struck by the tension between the source of most business themes.
Biology versus the military.
The organic germination set against the need to conquer.
As I write, current favour stands behind the nurturing. Anything else, whilst laying claim to ruthless necessity, is frowned upon as bullying dictatorship. Responsibility beating point scoring pressure.
One concept of the battlefield though can have Sales merit.
Flood the zone.
Lately, this phrase gains airtime through pushing so-called Islamic State back out of Iraq. The West hopes local forces will flood the zone with their disparate array of boots on the ground.
I recalled a buzz from last year surrounding new media entrants. Attempts to secure a foothold in the highly competitive internet news arena saw one brand try and flood the zone too. Saturating personal feeds with their headline clickbait. At least one observer pondered the true merits of this;
Then, there’s the angelic metric, one hardest to pin down: the brand halo effect.
“Once you flood the zone with your brand, does that make people more willing to click through when they see your brand?” [Michael Finnegan, Atlantic Media CFO & Corporate Development SVP] says. Of course, it does, but then the issue arises for a chief financial officer and industry metrics leader: “It’s really tough to quantify that return.”
Does flooding the zone translate into selling success?
You’re on a fresh pitch. In the vast majority of cases, you start off with a polar set-up. One buyer meets one vendor. Two people sit opposite each other. One wary, one anxious. Perhaps.
Then tomorrow they meet your competition too.
In the complex sales you chase, does victory go to those with most contacts? Not the number of people prospectside you yourself may know. More the number of your colleagues that are welcome down the line across as many of their employees as possible.
There’s a key point in qualification where you must judge if pushing the big go button will win you the bid. A marriage of becoming in tune with the buyer momentum and exposing many distinct separate relationships at the requisite levels.
Imagine the disaster if you pulled loads of your post-sale resource into prospect meetings, only to find they’re all talking to the same person and you are three months ahead of your supposed client’s urgency.
Level selling, also called rank selling, is a well known winning tactic. So when you decide to flood the zone, make sure everyone is on terms with someone they accept as on their level.