Schedule the Next Event

In sales, holding a meeting is activity but only the outcome of the meeting determines if it was a worthy performance.  Griffin Hill’s Sales Technology is more concerned about worthy performance than activity, and moving the sale along or causing it to progress to the next stage of the sales process is worthy performance.  Scheduling the next event in the sales process indicates completion of one important event and agreement to move to the next.  In this way the prospect advances to the next stage of the sales process.  This advancement signals a worthy performance on the part of the sales person.





Many sales people in our system attribute their increased productivity to scheduling the next event.  For example, a life insurance agent who was recently introduced to our Sales Technology complained to one of my colleagues that scheduling the next event increased his pace and productivity by four or five times and he was on a dead sprint.  The result was that he increased his closing ratio, got more closes in the same amount of time and was on track for a record year.

Make Your Proofs Specific

Last week we talked about validating benefits with a proof.  To be effective, proofs must be specific.  When you offer a specific proof it is more believable.  Specificity also makes your proof verifiable.  There are several ways to make your proofs more specific and more believable.  For example, using names of individuals or organizations makes proofs more specific.  There are some situations where using a customer name is not appropriate.  In those cases, there are other ways to make proofs more specific such as using industries and geographies.  Testimonials and customer quotes may also be used as proofs and will help you be more specific.

The use of numbers and statistics can also improve the quality of proofs.  For example, increasing sales revenue by 79% is better than just increasing sales revenue.  Increasing computing power is one thing but running a data set 100 times faster is much more impressive.  Saving a client from a substantial OSHA fine is nice but saving a client from $38,000 fine is better.  Using numbers and statistics will make your proofs more real and believable.  Numbers improve the quality of proofs and contribute to your credibility.

The purpose of using proofs is to validate claims, strengthen your credibility, and build the suspect’s confidence in you.  Using proofs accomplishes these purposes by following these basic principles and rules: proofs must be true and verifiable, proofs must relate to the benefit claimed, specific proofs increase believability, and using numbers and statistics makes your proofs more credible.


The 5 Ps of Benefits

After two decades of research, I have discovered that five categories offer the most efficient description of genuine benefits.  These categories are represented by five words, each beginning with the letter P.  The five categories are:

pain reliefpreservationpleasureprofit and prestige.

The 5 Ps can be matched with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.  Maslow argued for several levels of human needs, the most basic of which is the need to satisfy hunger and thirst (pain relief).  Succeeding levels of need include the need for safety (preservation), love and belonging (pleasure), esteem (prestige) and growth toward self-actualization through education, justice, beauty and order – needs which commonly require financial resources (profit).  These 5 Ps are the most efficient way of categorizing the real benefits you can offer a customer.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides some guidance to the meaning of each of the 5 Ps.  When a suspect is experiencing pain, frustration, difficulty or hassle that can be solved by your product or service, you offer a pain relief benefit.  If the suspect is under threat from a competitor who is encroaching on market share or an environmental condition that could destroy them, they are in need of the preservation benefit that would protect them from the danger or demise. Expanding or introducing positive conditions provides a pleasure benefit.  Increasing the esteem of your suspect in the eyes of his peers, subordinates or supervisors is a prestige benefit, and increasing revenues or cutting expenses is a profit benefit.

Finally, benefits are powerful enough to stand alone, while features must be accompanied by benefits.  When the occasion permits, the use of features can strengthen the benefit claim but features are not required when posting benefits.  On the other hand, if you choose to use a feature in your conversations with a suspect you must also use a benefit.  Remember, when you talk about features you talk about you and suspects are only interested in themselves.

Buyers Buy Benefits

When we talk about the benefits of our products or services we tend to talk about their qualities, features, and functionality.  We say things like fast, friendly service, or quality, innovation, speed, and durability.

As long as we talk about our products and services in this context we are talking about US.  We think we have shifted our attention to focus on the suspect, but in reality we are still focusing on US or OUR perceptions of how good WE are.  WE are faster.  WE are friendly.

In order for sales people to connect with suspects, we must get outside of our egocentric view and get into the mind of our suspects.  It is not easy to get outside of our own egocentric box.  If I say my product is faster, I am speaking about me and my product.  But if I ask myself why my customers care about speed, I can begin the transition from feature to benefit.

If my product is faster than what my customer is currently using, then purchasing my product provides an advantage over not purchasing it.  When I say the speed of my product helps my customers complete more work in the same amount of time, that is an advantage to my customer, and it suggests there is an advantage available to my suspect.

I can take the advantage one step further by talking about the value of completing more work in the same amount of time, which might include increased revenue, relieving the pain of a tedious task, or freeing time for more enjoyable activities.  When I take the advantage one step further, I am able to get to the real benefits desired by my suspect.

Practice Your Elevator Speech

Before reading this week’s Tip of the Week, participate in this discovery exercise:  Imagine a chance meeting with your ideal suspect.  This is a person you really want a chance to sell to, but you simply have not been able to get their attention.  Your chance meeting will not allow much time and you must make the most of it.  Please take a minute, pull out some paper, and write down what you will say.

* * * * *

In selling circles, the scenario that I just described is often called the elevator speech.  The idea of the elevator speech is to make an impact with a suspect even if you are only in the elevator together for a short ride.  Now that you have written your elevator speech, answer the following questions.

1.  What was your objective?  What did you want to accomplish?

2.  How many words did it take?

3.  If you were the suspect, how would you respond to the introduction you just wrote?

4.  How confident are you that you would accomplish your objective?

5.  How frequently have you used this same approach?

For many people, including experienced sales professionals, writing an elevator speech is a challenging assignment.  Some argue that it is much easier to actually engage the conversation than to write it.  It may be easier but it is far less effective.  When you write your elevator speech you have the opportunity to clarify your objectives and choose your language in advance.  Research shows this is far more productive than acting in the instant.  Additionally, preparation does not diminish your ability to be spontaneous – it enhances it.  When the time for action comes, the time for preparation has passed and if you are not prepared, you are not likely to be as brilliant as you would like to be.

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Measure Your Performance and Improve

Sales people are not alone in their aversion to reporting and evaluation.  It is our human nature to resist evaluation.  Scheduling the annual performance review harrows up memories of being summoned to the principal’s office for a severe scolding.

Avoiding the pain of personal performance measurement slows skill development and growth.  The most powerful ally we have in our quest for achievement is rapid and frequent feedback.  The advantage of immediate evaluation is that the results can be used to diagnose and fix problems quickly, before they become habitual.

In his retirement speech from the National Football League, quarterback Steve Young alluded to the advantages of rapid and frequent feedback.  Mr. Young confessed that he never had an annual performance review in his life.  Then he added that his performance reviews had come every 6 seconds.  Responding to that rapid and frequent feedback helped Mr. Young become one of the most celebrated and successful professional quarterbacks ever to play the game.

It has been said, “When performance is measured, performance improves.  When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”  As a performance scientist, I have come to respect the profound truth of this simple statement.  I have learned that if we can measure the performance, we can improve it.

Principles, Rules and Natural Laws Govern Performance Success

Rules and laws govern systems of success, and sales people who want to achieve greater results must follow the natural laws governing human performance.  Just as Newton’s laws of motion govern the momentum of objects, the laws of human performance govern the momentum – and the success – of sales people.  Just as objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to remain in motion, human performance is governed by habits and patterns that preserve status quo.

Our current level of success is the result of a system perfectly designed to achieve that very outcome, whether or not we are conscious of the system we are using.  For a sales person to break inertia, new positive forces must be introduced and sustained.  Simple training interventions are not adequate to break inertia or to produce lasting change.  For these reasons, a complete system is required to bring about sustainable changes in human performance.

Now consider the results of your current system and record

1. Three things you like about your current performance results.

2. Three things you would like to change about your current performance results.

How to Occupy a Location

The past two weeks we’ve talked about staking your claim and establishing your role. The next important step is to occupy that location.  The third purpose of the Positioning Play is to help you occupy it, and the key principle of occupation is mass, so let’s talk about how mass influences occupation.  Mass is matter with indefinite shape and size.  Mass occupies space and it is a factor in force (force = mass * acceleration).

Because mass occupies space it prevents something else from occupying that same space.  In the same way that a home whose residents are nearby is less of a target for thieves, settlers protected their claims against intruders simply by living on their property.  In addition to being near at hand, the more industrious settlers made their presence known by exerting themselves upon their claim.  They cleared the land of trees, brush and rocks.  They tilled the soil and they planted crops.  In other words they actively inhabited the claim.  In that same way, a salesperson can occupy space on the calendars of their prospects and they can exert influence on them by their body language, dress and demeanor.

Another example of positioning comes from the game of chess.  According to the US Chess Federation, the Queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess.  She can move any number of squares horizontally, vertically, or diagonally as long as her path is unobstructed.

At the beginning of the game however the influence of the queen is greatly restricted.  Although the same rules govern the play of the queen, she is unable to move and cannot attack.  Her only role is to provide limited defensive protection to the surrounding pieces.  In this configuration the queen exerts very little influence on the game.  The rules governing her have not changed, only her position on the board is different.

For this reason, one legitimate strategy in chess is a positioning strategy.  A person playing a positioning strategy in chess will orchestrate their moves to control the four center squares.  The knight when positioned at the start of the game can attack or defend only three other squares.  However when the knight is positioned in one of the four center squares he can attack or defend eight squares.  Simply because of his position, the knight occupying one of the four center squares exerts two and a half times the influence on the game compared to a knight in its starting position.

By occupying a strategic position, the knight can defend against encroachment and exert its force.  In the same way, all salespeople can have some influence simply because they have a title and a telephone, but salespeople who orchestrate their moves to control a strategic position exert greater force or influence on the outcome.  The positioning play helps establish the salesperson in a position of excellence that will put the odds of success in their favor by staking a claim, establishing a role, and occupying crucial market space.

Griffin Hill adds Mental Strength Coach to Team

Orem, Utah September 7th, 2010

Griffin Hill is happy to announce the recent hiring of Dr. Craig Manning as its new Mental Strength Coach. Dr. Manning has a successful history of working with business leaders, families, athletes, and sports teams to help them develop the winning habits that produce break away high performance.

Prior to Griffin Hill Dr. Manning coached the BYU Women’s tennis team. In ten years as coach, the BYU women’s tennis team won four Mountain West Conference titles. Dr. Manning has been honored with the MWC Coach of the Year award three times and also received the NCAA regional coach of the year award in 2005. Dr. Manning has also advised professional athletes in Baseball, Tennis, Track and Field, and Dance. He has also consulted with the U.S. Olympic Ski Team. Most recently Dr. Manning consulted Jeret “Speedy” Peterson to help him win the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

At Griffin Hill Dr. Manning’s talents will be focused on Mental Strength Conditioning. Based on the premise that strengthening a person’s character can positively and measurably improve productivity and performance in other areas of life—in careers, in relationships, in personal health and wellbeing—Mental Strength Conditioning from Griffin Hill will help participants become top performers and demonstrate greater value to their organizations.

About Griffin Hill

Griffin Hill is a professional sales consultancy that dramatically improves human and organizational performance. Businesses, organizations and teams rely on the proven, scientific methods of company founder, Dr. Scott Baird and sports performance consultant, Dr. Craig Manning, to achieve rapid, sustainable revenue growth, shortened sales cycles and consistently higher performance. Customers begin with an initial Bootcamp to learn Griffin Hill’s proprietary Performance Platform™ of processes, plays, metrics and coaching. Customers then receive ongoing weekly coaching to assure those skills are mastered. Since 1980, hundreds of clients have come to trust Griffin Hill to help them achieve extraordinary results. Visit

Mark Rosander
Griffin Hill Consulting

Keep It Simple

The KISS principle is a modern acronym for “Keep it Simple Stupid.” KISS states that simplicity should be a key goal and that unnecessary complexity should be avoided. Almost every night we hear reports on the news about a struggling economy, but how can we survive? In times of uncertainty, flux, or crisis a return to fundamentals is important. Now is not the time to pull out the trick plays. We need to simplify our playbooks.

A football coach who is working with a shell-shocked second string quarterback forced into duty is likely to shorten the playbook to select plays that are highly successful and have low risk. In a recent blog, Grant Cardoneexplained what organizations can do to survive selling in a recession.

“The only solution is to get back to basics. . . . Companies have to get back to training their sales and management team on how to rely less on gimmicks and more on sales skills and sales effectiveness in order for them to generate the activity levels that were created artificially.”

This is a brilliant observation by Mr. Cardone. Getting back to the basics will help you maintain focus on getting the close instead of worrying about surrounding circumstances.

An illustration of how quickly complexity can arise is looking at the factorial principle of mathematics. Let’s say you have three trees and three holes. What are the most different combinations you can come up with? The answer is 6. Now if you add 8 more trees and 8 more holes for a total of 11 that number jumps to 39,916,800 different possibilities. When you add just one more tree and hole for a total of 12 you’re now looking at 479,001,600 different combinations.

The same can be said in sales. By making your sales process more complex you leave yourself more vulnerable to things going wrong. That can create friction in the sales process because you will be forced to deal with the problems created by making your process more complex.

This is how the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System can help. Our Process and Plays give you a framework to follow that takes the complexity out of sales. Just as Mr. Cardone said in his blog, by getting back to the basics, and not worrying about gimmicks, our 6-Step Sales process will help you rely more on your sales skills.

Another way to simplify is to take time before each sales call to go over 6-Steps to a Successful Sales Call. This exercise will help you be better prepared for your appointment. Early preparation will help sharpen your skills so that you can be more effective in every sales call. Keeping it simple will help you focus on the task at hand, whereas making it more complicated will add confusion and friction to your sales process.