We previously talked about how salespeople and their strategies are like cooks and their recipes. Check out this article for a refresher. We all know it takes more than just good salespeople and strategy to grow the top line just as there are a few things missing for the cook if he only has a recipe. Let’s talk about the cook’s ingredients and who they intend to feed. In this case, it would be how salespeople approach their customers and prospects.
Ingredients make all the difference when preparing a meal. There is no argument that fresh is always better and quality matters to a lot of people. But high-quality fresh ingredients are important to everyone; least of all those who patron fast-food restaurants. What are you ingredients as salespeople? Are they fresh and of high quality? Does that really matter? It depends. Ingredients for salespeople can be represented in a number of ways. It can be your sales stories, your tagline, website, or how you leave a phone message. It is your approach, process, and style and how it comes across to your prospects and customers when they are making the decision whether or not to buy. It can also be your marketing consumables such as your business cards and swag like pens, notepads and magnets. We as sales cooks mix all of these together and present it to the prospect as a meal to see if they will take a bite and, if they do, will they like it enough to take another bite?
Sometimes the ingredients you use depend largely on those who will be diner? Have you ever prepared a meal for someone only to find out that they wouldn’t eat it due to dietary restrictions? Or maybe they are just picky (like our kids). We tried to sell the wrong thing to the wrong people, and that has happened to all of us in sales. Sometimes, we spend too much time trying to sell the right thing to the wrong people. You don’t serve hamburgers to someone who is expecting steak and you don’t serve steak to someone who can only afford a hamburger. This seems like common sense, but there is a temptation to sell just for the sake of selling and we veer off onto the wrong path. We don’t sell to the right markets.
Ask anyone who has ever been a parent their stories about feeding children and somewhere along the way you will find high levels of frustration. You have a parent who is a great cook making a fresh meal of vegetables and fish that is absolutely delicious and the kids won’t have anything to do with it. Equating this to sales, would you observe that someone did not have effective selling tools or had a poor strategy? Of course not. Mom and dad will love their meal but you have to warm up the chicken nuggets for the kids. And just as any parent would tell you that serving two or more meals at once is difficult, so is trying to serve to different types of clientele for salespeople.
Using this analysis as an evaluative tool, how can this help us to understand sales performance better? We already checked to make sure that we have the right cooks (salespeople) and recipe (sales strategy). Perhaps you can take a look at the ingredients. Is your website old and stale? Is marketing support thin and tasteless? Are your sales stories long, rubbery, and hard to chew? Then it is time to throw out those old ingredients and get some fresh and exciting new items. But if everything tastes great and served with professionalism with no change in sales, then it is time to examine whether or not you have invited the right people to dine with you.