Sales is a Split Test
As a founder, how can you figure out what works in sales for your product and your solution as fast as you possibly can? Figuring out what works in sales is a really hard thing to do because more people look at sales as an art form. They think you either have it or you don’t. You have to have the personality and abilities. I tend to disagree.
I think now that sales is much more scientific than artistic, especially online and over the phone. The structure, the process that we put in place is the science that allows the art form to be more effective.
Related: How to Build a Scalable Sales Model
A/B Split Test Everything You Do
Somebody asked me this question recently: John now that you’re 40 years old, if you could go back and tell your 22-year-old self something, what would it be? My number one answer to that was an A/B split test. A/B split tests tell you absolutely everything you want to know.
And marketing does this all day long. They A/B split test messaging, landing pages, everything else. Sales doesn’t and they should, and you can do this with everything.
You can do this with messaging. So for instance, if your target audience is CEOs in the healthcare industry, you would write two different messages to CEOs in the healthcare industry and send 50 emails with this approach and 50 emails with that approach and see which one works better. Or make 50 phone calls with this approach and 50 phone calls with that approach and see which resonates. Don’t forget to track how many calls, how many referrals, how many meetings you set up with each approach.
Related: Why You Should Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile
Identify Common Objections
You can do this with objection handling.You know the objections that you hit on a regular basis. So write them down. as a founder, as you go out there and sell your services, literally write down everything you can imagine to figure out which are the common objections that you’re facing. Once you have those common objections, there’s really only five ways to handle objections.
One of them is the Feel-Felt-Found approach: “Totally understand how you feel about that. Other people felt the same way. What they found was…” My only recommendation is do not use the words “feel, felt, found.”
There is the justification approach where it’s, you know “$5000, are you kidding me?” and instead of backing off of that, you actually say “Yeah, and here’s exactly why it is $5000.”
Related: Sales Presentations: Adapt to Your Customers’ Needs
Then there is the clarification approach: “We don’t have the budget for this.” What do you mean you don’t have the budget for this? Do you mean just don’t have any money? Or are you spending money in other areas that you think are more important than this? Or “this isn’t a budgeted thing, what does that mean?” So the clarification approach.
Then there is the re-prioritization approach: “I totally understand cost is an issue. But is it more important than giving you the insights you need in your business so that you can make better decisions?”
And then last but not least, there’s always the preemptive strike where you know the objection’s coming, so before they use it, you use it for them. Say “look, a lot of people I talked to in your position usually say this, when let me tell you why most of them move forward with us anyways.”
So these are the five ways: feel-felt-found, justification, clarification, re-prioritization, and the preemptive strike. Write down the objection you get on a regular basis and two different ways of handling that objection. The next 10 times it comes up, deal with it this way. The next 10 times it comes up, deal with it that way. A/B split test.
Messaging, objection handling, you name it, you can do it. As long as you can come up with one approach, come up with two of them. Try it out. Pick something once a week as a founder, as a team, that you want to look into. The fastest way for you as a founder and as a sales organization to figure out what works is to A / B split test everything you do.
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About John Barrows
John Barrows currently provides sales training and consulting services to some of the world’s leading companies like Salesforce.com, Linkedin, Apttus, DropBox, Box and many others. His previous experiences span all aspects of Sales at every level from making 400 cold calls a week doing inside sales to running sales as a VP for his first start up and selling it to Staples.
He’s an active sales professional who has learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work in Sales and loves sharing the tips and techniques he has found to have had an impact along the way. His main goal is to improve the overall education and quality of Sales by sharing ideas and techniques that work.