When I took over Tracey’s territory at Xerox I literally had it made. She was one of those individuals that had her customer base so finely tuned that her clients would literally be faxing purchase orders to her house while she was away enjoying exotic president club vacations. That she was deserving of and very well had earned as I recall. I wish I could have said the same for myself.
During my very first week I had a sizable transaction that she’d set up in its entirety simply drop in my lap. Another one the week after, and even a few more the week after that. It was all I could do to keep my ego in check, my credit cards tucked tightly away, and remember that it was her work I was cashing in on. I tried to recognize her at the time, purchased her a nominal gift or two. But likely underestimated the value her work had contributed to my career overall. I ended up winning a much-coveted award as a result.
Back in the day, so to speak, those deals were called bluebirds. Transactions that paid commissions to sales people that didn’t have anything to do with them… It’s like a salesperson's customer in heaven form, the albatross if you will. Don't kid yourself; many a career has been built on the backs of customers who had already decided. I have often thought that a good percentage of deals happening with large vendors are doing so without a stellar account executive at the helm. Call it momentum, inertia, being well positioned; there are lots of bodies out there doing little more than standing in the way.
At least for me, those were the days. I feel I can say this because it's been that long, and I was working my fingers to the bone at the time. The bluebird meant I got something for nothing – usually a much needed relief from slugging away at some of the most complex $2000 sales you will ever see (and why do they take just as long as the big ones?).
The last bluebird I saw looked more like the one Snow White sings to than it did the one featured on the Twitter logo. My bluebirds came on acetate contracts with ink that you (jokingly) had to let dry so it didn’t slip off the page on the way back into the bullpen.
Until I started to practice the techniques we're currently delivering at Sales For Life that is. Now for the first time in a long time the bluebirds are back on my doorstep. At least I think that's what they're called.
Fact is, the primary outcome of effective social selling = mass amounts of highly qualified leads. I say mass, because even for a company of only a handful of reps this number can be in the thousands. That's right, more leads then you can likely handle. More than you can statistically handle actually.
From quantitative analysis, industry experts suggest that even with current metrics, sales people only ever follow up with 27% of the leads their companies pay to develop for them. Wow, how much does it cost your company to generate a lead?
Astonishing really. Is a lead not the first thing your team would gravitate towards? Maybe it needs to be better qualified? Perhaps they need to be better leads? It’s a quality issue. Perhaps your process is not built to deal with it? Now’s a good time to check, especially if your team doesn’t currently have meetings being automatically booked for them by interested prospects. I have been a personal witness to this and let me tell you – AMAZING!
Imagine seeing your team’s calendars fully booked out 4 weeks in advance with 35% more meetings. Or imagine having a customer volunteer the meeting that wins the business, the closing call. I’ve had that happen recently too – UNBELIEVABLE!
Fortunately for salespeople, if you're willing to do the work upfront and build the type of engine that we teach, you will start to capture opportunities where 70% of the buying has been done and 70% of the decision is in your favor at the point of initial contact. Have you ever opened your inbox in the morning only to find someone you never met requesting to buy your product and service? Now that's a bluebird!
The Bottom Line
I got my first bluebird this week for the first time in a long time this week and I did so through the positive effects of social selling. Even though it's a result of having conducted 80% of the heavy lifting up front to build a selling engine, now I can enjoy the benefits of winning business much more organically with roughly 20% of the effort needed on each transaction going forward. This ultimately allows to me to use the remaining effort now to build deeper customer relationships but more importantly more net new customer relationships. It means more bluebirds. To learn more check out our blogs and our 42 LinkedIn Inside Sales Tips.
Care to join me in the battle against the extinction of bluebirds at your company? Click here or on my below Click to Schedule button to discuss how we can become a part of your Q4 sales kickoff.