All sales are not equal

Your ability to convert a person’s initial interest in your product or service into actual, paid business directly affects your firm’s revenues and your income.

Different prospective clients (or ‘prospects’, as we usually call them) require different levels of sales ability if you’re to convert their initial interest into actual, paid business.

Some people represent easier sales than others. Some people call you already 90% decided that they’re going to buy from you. Others call you already 90% decided that they’re not going to buy from you. Clearly, one is more difficult to sell to than the other.

You can grade any potential customer according to how easy or difficult it’s likely to be to convert them into actual customers. For example:

  • easy (aka ‘the low-hanging fruit’)
  • medium easy
  • medium difficult
  • actually difficult
  • very difficult
  • nearly impossible
  • actually impossible

When your sales skills are basic

As you get better at sales you start to move up the scale. Initially your skills will only help you convert the low-hanging fruit into sales – for example, people who have either half-decided – or fully-decided – to buy from you even before you actually speak to them.

Some of the people you speak to will be ‘medium difficult’, ‘actually difficult’ – and so on – but your current sales ability means you stand very little chance of converting their interest into paid business.

If you want to increase the number of sales you make whilst your ability is at this level you will need to speak to as many potential customers as possible because only a very small percentage of them will be ‘easy’ sales.

As your sales skills improve

As you improve your skills, the same number of sales conversations with prospects yields more sales because the medium-rated prospects – who were always there – come into your reach. You increase your sales not through speaking to more and more prospects but through being more skilled at dealing with the ones you already have.

So whereas a hundred sales conversations typically yields one or two ‘easy’ sales – and previously that one or two would be all the sales you’d gain out of those hundred conversations – you’re now also picking up a couple of the ‘medium easy’ sales and even an occasional ‘medium difficult’ sale. Same number of conversations but better results.

It gets better

As your skills are honed and refined you move up the scale and, eventually, you experience those high-octane, sometimes almost argumentative, sales conversations that you have with a difficult prospect who, eventually, recognises that you know your stuff and that there’s distinct benefits to him in doing business with you.

There’s very little that happens in business that feels as good as turning around a strongly ‘anti’ person into a paid customer.

The point is this

Improving your sales skills mean that, for any given number of sales conversations, you convert an increasing percentage of them into paid business. Your conversion rate – an important efficiency measurement – increases meaning that you gain an increasing number of sales – and revenue – in any given hour of work.

If you want a quick pay rise get better at conducting sales conversations with potential customers.