Don’t pretend you don’t remember.
Surely anyone who successfully made it through grade school must recall the mnemonic device their teacher used as a mental shortcut to get us to learn our primary colors. ROY G BIV. The entire rainbow is represented right there in seven letters, forming the name of a colorful gent whom none of us students ever had the pleasure of meeting, but whom all of us knew and remembered all our lives. It was, in a word, indelible.
That’s the power of an acronym. Once it lodges in your brain, it simply cannot be erased or removed. K-I-S-S, right? The armed services know this trick well, using keyword acronyms to help personnel recall tactical and even strategic concepts under the conditions of extreme duress that characterize military operations.
With that basis of understanding, let’s reacquaint ourselves with Roy. Because it is our contention that the keys to increased sales, better service and even perhaps a lifetime of greater success lie in those seven letters. When we make the effort to see things in their true colors, then we’re better able to make the adjustments we might need to find the real value at the end of the rainbow.
R is for Resilience
In this life, only the difficult things are worth doing. The reason behind this logic is well- documented and demonstrated by great professional sport players: they play up to their competition. The tough assignments are opportunities to grow their legend, to become more than they could have been otherwise.
It’s safe to say there isn’t a successful salesperson who doesn’t have the quality to bounce back one more time. And one more. And one more after that. Brian Tracy once said, “I have found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” Today, there is absolutely nothing easy about acquiring business. You are tasked with doing something most people can’t do. Cultivate your resiliency.
O is for Observation
Easy, right? We may think, “What’s the deal? I observe my customer list every day.” But do we, really? Do we do it strategically, continually observing our markets, our customers, our competitors for variations in human behavior? Think of life as one big science experiment, the magic of which lies in continually varying our methods to try new angles of approach, avoiding the repetitive, the rote and the boring. A great marketer once said, “You cannot bore your customer into buying your product.”
Need an illustration? Think of the velociraptors in the movie Jurassic Park. They were incredibly smart, but better yet, they were quick at finding what failed. They kept probing the different parts of their containment cage, testing and recording results constantly. It is a customer’s job to erect barriers. Yours is to find the point of entry, not to throw yourself repeatedly at the same wall.
Y is for Yappy
This one is, admittedly, a curve ball. Think of it as an acronym negative. Yappy is what you don’t want to be. Yappy is defined as being “overly talkative, loquacious barking in a high-pitched staccato.” Leave your P.T. Barnum at home.
As salespeople and extroverts, we love to talk. But don’t get a case of the “yappys.” We are apt to become like a dog with a bone, believing we are selling when we extol how great our products are, how much we can save if our customer would only buy. What we are really showing them is desperation. Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” Listen and learn. And then, respond only with what you believe will build trust to take the next step.
G is for Growth
As salespeople, we tend to focus on the number. We – and our peers – are quick to judge and measure the effects of what we do. But the number is merely a symptom. It is the outward marker that obscures our hidden task of developing ourselves personally and professionally, of growing the characteristics that will not fail to produce results in the real world.
Those traits or habits we’re talking about are our fundamentals. Again, in coach-speak, we have all heard a commentator say, “He/she just has those fundamentals that you want to see in a player.” Every day should be an exercise in building your fundamental skills. It’s the one thing that’s actually easier today! Listen to audio books on sales or human behavior topics when you’re in the car between calls. Join sales-focused groups on LinkedIn. Listen to TED talks. Download podcasts and read blogs like Sales Engine. Stay hungry.
B is for Balance
Seek balance in all things, but especially in your sales outreach strategy. We all tend to over-rely on what we become good at, neglecting other avenues available to us. Don’t just use your phone or e-mail, but mix in tactics like personal notes and other creative outreach tactics to elicit a response. The better you understand the needs of the prospect, the more accurate you can be in your messaging.
As an example, send a potential customer something pertinent you’ve read or educational material that pertains to their business or industry. Attach a note as simple (and as honest) as, “Hey, I saw this and thought of you.” A balanced approach will provide opportunities to observe, helping you understand what will prompt response. Over time, you’ll discover you’re becoming an adept marketer of your most important product: you.
I is for Investigate
Who doesn’t want to be a detective in some part of their being? Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work so most people don’t recognize them. Investigative skills have to be honed all the time to stay sharp. The best performers in any industry or vertical market are those who persist in asking probing questions. They listen intently to the responses so their message can be crafted to fit the need.
Try reframing questions to get at hidden issues from an unexpected direction. Your effectiveness in positioning any product or service will depend at least in part on your ability to uncover a prospect’s goals, intentions, issues and hesitations. By asking tough, probing questions you will actually be helping your customer find an opportunity to improve his or her business.
V is for Value
Simon Sinek provides the clue to this often misunderstood word when he says, “Value is not determined by those who set the price. It is determined by those who choose to pay it.” Value is not the price of what you are selling. Saving money can be a motivating factor, but it is far from being the only one.
The key factors for your customer may include timing, performance, mood or trust – and these are but a few. If your customer cannot understand the value – the worth – of what you bring, how can he be expected to fight for you and to buy from you? You must continually reinforce value over time to keep strengthening the foundation of your relationship.
Value is a picture you must paint every day to become indispensable to your customers and your employer. Use your entire ROY G BIV sales spectrum daily to create a picture. Over time, and through a conscientiously applied program, your work associates, your customers, and even your friends and family will come to see you as a model of success.
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