A quarter-century ago. Seems so distant. Yet supersonic flies the time.
My first ever role as a cubrep.
I’d been bending the ear of the chief exec.
The database was full of rubbish.
So one day he made an interesting offer.
He’d help me clean it.
On the day in question, midweek I recall, he rocked up from his corporate hq in the clouds half a country away. I’d duly prepared a printout. Those old wide green and cream striped sheets straight from the dot matrix room.
I’d been given a script. If you can call it that. The typical century-old don’t-pause-for-breath 15 seconds tell-proof-close nonsense.
Yet this particular day we had a slightly different objective.
Are you looking to review the accounts software over the next twelve months?
It pretty much guaranteed weeding out those answering, “computer, oh we don’t have one of those”, as well as the big firms that would state, “we happy with our AS400 thanks”. The effort made worthwhile when someone replied, ”actually, we’re reviewing right now…”
As you’d expect, big cheese in town and my wingman was getting distracted by all and sundry wishing to talk.
But a funny thing happened. He knuckled down.
We called all day. A nice break for lunch at a hostelry nearby.
Then before stumps, he had to go. Off to meet his betrothed, Linda. I remember thinking how knackered he looked.
I thanked him as he handed me his printout.
He hadn’t (unlike me) been updating our database system (called Saleslink) as he’d gone along. A major lesson for me there. And for us all. He simply left me to batch process his results later. Along with send the info packs off to those he’d uncovered that might well be looking soon.
As I struggled to decipher his scrawls across the pages, I noticed something startling. He’d number each line to which he’d got through. Not every company, as many numbers were long since disconnected.
His last figure startled me.
I realise it was primarily a list-cleaning, de-dupe style exercise. But still. I’d never made anywhere near that many cold calls in one day myself during my short prospecting career.
To me it was one hell of a tally.
The experience completely altered my approach to the task in hand.
I worked out my ratios as time progressed. After all Sales is not a Numbers Game, but a Ratios one.
I ended up back then knowing that to smash target, a proper day should see me reach the following;
15 decision makers spoken with
4 a possible need
1 immediate lead
A few years later I enjoyed exposure as a supplier to many leading outbound b2b call centres. Technology allowing for the boss to have a plasma in their office showing dials, call lengths and total time on the line for any and all agents.
No two outfits had the same benchmarks, as every company is different, right. Yet similarities to my apprenticeship were striking.
When I ran teams of prospectors, I had greatest success atomising these ideals.
Call for an hour and you should reach one of your desired C-stars. Repeat that hour and a genuine meet should follow.
That kind of thing.
Nowadays I focus on conversations.
As regular readers will know, I’m big on ‘look after your process and the outcomes will look after themselves’.
Even today, I still catch that thought though… one hundred and twelve…whoa!