REDUCING FINANCIAL SERVICES SALES CYCLE
A nationally known financial services company whose main market is retirees had stats that on average it took 5 sales calls to close a new investor. They wanted to reduce the sales cycle to increase production of each rep.
To assess the situation, I traveled in the field with reps prospecting and realized they were making the same mistake as all other sales reps----they concentrated on building a social relationship. On a cold call, they spent about 15 minutes with social conversations about the prospects, kids, sports games, etc which they thought was building a relationship. Instead the prospects were getting fidgety and stressed wondering what this person was doing in their house.
I helped the company re-format their cold calls. Instead of spending 15 minutes to build a social relationship, I suggested they cut it down to 2 minutes and then seque into this question: Mr. Prospect, can I ask you an important question? Wjhat are the three things you want your money to provide for you in the future.
This one question is the million dollar question. It takes the customer away from thinking they are being sold to thinking about what they want that is important for them., Their stress level goes down, they provide critical information and the rep is automatically positioned as a valued advisor.
The results were dramatic. This company reduced its sales cycle from 5 calls to 3 calls. Imagine how many more prospects a rep can see when they eliminated 2 calls from getting the investor on board.
Here is another result that was IMMEDIATE! I was attending a meeting with the firm partners when a senior partner said they had a class in for the week- veteran reps had 4 to 7 years of experience. They asked me to do a one hour session on this concept. Later that evening one of the reps in the class called my hotel room and asked if I had a moment to speak. I asked him what’s up and he said that coincidentally he had to Widows who had the same amount of money to invest $100,000. He was trying to get them on board for six months and couldn’t. He called him after my session and said I was remiss in not asking you an important question as we were only talking about stocks and bonds. And then he asked the question what are the three things you need your money to provide for you in the future?. Miraculously both Widows gave him more information than he acquired in the past in the previous six months and he felt the relationship changing. One widow actually committed her funds to him that night and the other widow gave him another appointment to come back In. Talk about immediate results!
TRANSFORMING A $96MM PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY INTO A $1BILLION ACQUISITION
A medical device company’s flagship product, which was expected to drive growth, was a system for surgery that consisted of a powered hand piece and control box, as well as disposable blades to be used for each surgical case. After just going public and being valued at $96M, this company began to get concerned when they missed their first quarter numbers and the price of their shares dropped by 62%.
Reliant on this product, they needed to implement a strategy that would contend with their competitor, who had 90% of the market share that was driven by powerful national contracts. To match the competition, this client placed the powered hand pieces in facilities at no cost, and the disposable blades were sold at a 50% discount of their list price.
Despite having a superior product, sales were not being met, more than $2M in field inventory was sitting in hospitals, the company was going broke and they could not compete with the market share leader.
The Executive Vice President of Sales brought in Ron Karr to evaluate their sales issues. After meeting with several sales reps, Ron recognized that the company’s direct sales force did not know how to sell the value of the product, nor did they have the confidence to do so. In a session including 75 sales reps Ron lead, trained and motivated the team, providing them with the necessary tools to sell the value of the product.
Within a year 50% of the competitors business was taken, field inventory was cut by 50%, discounts were cut by 70% and sales grew by 36%. .In the second year another 50% of whatever business the competition had was taken, field inventory was cut again by 50% , discounts were reduced to 50% and sales grew by $33M. By the third year the competitor had virtually no market share left, Ron Karr’s client was dominating the market, selling both the power units and the disposable blades at list price, resulting in another successful year with sales growing by $35M.
Within three years, $2M of field inventory placed in hospitals was reduced to $50K of field inventory, that was primarily placed for demos only. Nearly all of the sales were made at list price, the company became a market leader, and completely drove the competition out of the market.
In one of the highest valuation acquisitions in medical device history, the company that was valued at $96M three years earlier, was sold for $1B, 10x the public valuation.