If Your Sales Results Stink, Here Is An Olympic Swimmer Scenario You Might Find Interesting  

by Pool Builders on 09-24-2008 in Articles

Why is it that some salespeople do so well and some others so poorly? Well, there are probably as many different answers to that question as there are people reading this article.

One BIG reason that would probably be mentioned in many of the answers is "inadequate marketing". Wishy-washy marketing, marketing that does not hit the d-spot ('d' as in decision... decision to subscribe, to join, to buy, to sign, to promote, etc.) In other words, those salespeople are not practicing effective marketing.

Let's get away from business for a minute and take a short trip an aquatic facility. I want you to imagine three Olympic-class freestyle swimmers on the starting blocks, ready to go. Imagine their muscular bodies - just think of Michael Phelps or Natalie Coughlin. All three of our swimmers are well-trained, fit, focused, talented, and eager to get the prize. Imagine them in their tight-fitting swimsuits, shaking their hands, rotating their head, loosening up...

But just before the gun goes off, the swimmer on block #1 is asked to put on a pair of flippers. The swimmer on block #2 is asked to strap-on a 30-lb backpack. The swimmer on block #3 is left alone: no flippers, no backpack.

OK, they're ready...the gun goes off...they dive in the water, swimming with all their might toward the end of the pool.

How many of you reading this would bet their life savings on the swimmer #2, the one carrying the 30-lb backpack to win? No one in his right mind would do that, right? Obviously, that swimmer is slightly handicapped...

On the other hand, how many would put a bet to win on swimmer #1, the one wearing the flippers? Do you think this swimmer is slightly advantaged?

Now, my guess is that even if swimmer #3 - the one without the backpack or the flippers - was Michael Phelps himself, you'd probably not want to bet the house on him because, let's face it, who could beat an Olympic swimmer wearing flippers?

I'm also guessing that the majority of the readers are thinking this is a nonsense scenario that just would not happen in real life. Well sorry to say, it IS a plausible scenario, and it DOES happen. Daily.

But not in swimming pools.

The scene I just depicted has everything to do with business and making sales. Because the swimming pool in the story is known in real life as "The Marketplace". And the swimmers depicted above are in real life three salespeople going after the same lead, the same distributor or sale.

Think of the athletes on the starting blocks as three salespeople ready to make a virtual pitch to a potential customer, client or distributor. They could be similarly talented, skilled, trained, knowledgeable, and competent. Their products, prices and after-sale service could be fairly matched. All are focused on the outcome - the sale - and determined to finish the race and win, just like the swimmers on the starting blocks...

Some of the differences between the swimmers in our analogy are that one is weighed down by a 30-lb backpack, and one is helped by a pair of flippers. Those are also some of the differences between the three salespeople in question, except in this case the "extra baggage" and the flippers are not physical.

That extra baggage carried by salesperson (swimmer) #2 might be something like a negative attitude, poor manners, lack of respect, or inferior communication skills, etc. It could also represent what I call the "A.S.S. in the way" factor. That's A.S.S. as in Assumptions, Suppositions & Speculations. Make no mistake about this: The Assumptions, Suppositions and Speculations that salespeople make daily in regards to themselves, their abilities, their business, their leads & prospects, and the marketplace are keeping them from making all the sales they could make, and, if they're involved in a home based business, signing up all the distributors they could sign.

With everything else being as close to equal as possible, this "extra baggage" might make the difference between winning or losing, swimming or sinking.

What about the flippers you ask? In terms of the three salespeople, the flippers represent what I referred to earlier as effective marketing. What does effective marketing look like? Another excellent question.

In a nutshell, effective marketing means getting to first base with your leads & prospects, and then turning first base into what I call "firm base" through relationship building. To use baseball lingo, forget the homerun. You do your best to get to first base. Now, that's a very good start... but it's not enough. You must then turn first base into firm base. You know the word "firm" means stable, durable, secure, sound, rooted...Rooted... that implies a growing process. When you're on firm base with a lead, a prospect, a subscriber, or a customer, everything is possible. Sales galore!

Oh yes, we almost forgot about swimmer (salesperson) #3. Well, think of this one as the "average salesperson". He's got an average attitude, average manners and average communications skills. And he doesn't make too many ill-informed or unfounded assumptions. In other words, he's not carrying that dreadful "extra-baggage." Good for him - or her.

But unfortunately for him, he's not using effective marketing. That means that he - like salesperson #2 - probably spends way too much time on "HOW" (aka features) and not nearly enough on "WHY" (aka benefits), he doesn't know the implications of the 7 laws that govern human nature, he often fails to grab people's attention (aka interrupting their brain pattern), he doesn't understand the pain & pleasure motivators, and he keeps forgetting, over and over, that people buy on emotions and justify with facts. Too bad for him.

Because in today's marketplace, where quality of products is very much a fait accompli, and everybody is on a fairly even ground in relation to tools and training, skills and talents, the difference between the ones who will swim and win and those who will sink and lose will often come down to "flippers" and "backpacks".

So, if you're not happy with your sales results, my recommendation is to take a really good, in-depth look at your marketing and see if it qualifies as effective marketing. If it doesn't, seek out all the info you can get that will help you get to first base with your visitors, readers, listeners or viewers, and everything and anything you can put your hands on that will help you turn that first base into firm base - from where EVERYTHING is possible!

I wish you ALL the personal and professional success you desire and deserve. (Just remember that...what you "desire" is a function of your ambition, what you "deserve" is a function of your ACTIONS...Are the two aligned?)

Daniel G. St-Jean, BB, IMA, AMA, FBMI, SEM
(BizzBooster, Internet Marketing Advisor, Article-Marketing Alchemist,
Firm-Base Marketing™ Instructor, Successerenity™ Exponent & Mentor)

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