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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

(SALES) No Way -- A 90% Conversion Rate? Yes Way, This Way


"Mr. Fisher, have you seen the video yet? (What video?) If you had, you'd remember. Mr. Fisher my name is Jeff Schmidt, and our company has just secured the latest research about how to effectively advertise and market a business. It's a 12-minute video from National Video Marketing Systems that I'd like to show you in your office. I even bring the equipment so there's no hassle. It's important, Mr. Fisher, that I show you this video before one of your competitors sees it. I guarantee that this cutting-edge research about the science of advertising will give you a competitive advantage and help you improve the effectiveness of your advertising. Would you have 12 minutes this afternoon or tomorrow morning?"

If the prospect didn't take your call, you left this message: "Mr. Fisher, have you seen the video? My name is Jeff Schmidt and I wanted to make sure you had a chance to see the video before John Smith (a top competitor) sees it. Please call me back as soon as you can, and I'll explain. Jeff Schmidt 773-697-5675."

I was a new radio salesperson. I had an ugly powder-blue suit, a scruffy beard, and a shaggy haircut. I also had a portable video player. It was one of those all-in-one units. It weighed about 25 pounds and could be zipped into a big black case. Just opening the machine had a "wow factor" for the client. They had never seen anything like it; a portable video player that had its own TV? Hey, it was the 80s; there was no YouTube or smart phones -- I was cool! Well, except for the beard, the hair, and the suit.

80% of Messages Returned and a 90% Conversion Rate

Phil Fisher was the sales manager and part owner of our stations in Madison, Wisconsin. He created this video. The video player cost $1,600, so our station only had one. I rarely let it leave the back seat of my car -- much to the chagrin of the rest of the sales team. It worked for me. I had an 80 percent return rate on phone messages, and when I would talk to someone, nine out of 10 times the conversation would end with an appointment.

Read my "call script" above again. Okay, here are the keys to its effectiveness:

? The client is not told the name of my company or what I do.
? Excitement -- you can hear it in the speed and tone of my voice.
? A question that requires an answer.
? Tell the client you have something of value that they need to see before their competitor does.
? Tell them it takes only 12 minutes, and they will get immediately actionable value.
? Ask for the appointment.

No clutter, no stutter, and no slick pitch. Just a quick offer, excited enthusiasm with a taste of urgency, and ask for the appointment. Bam! Ninety percent conversion.

After showing the video, I would ask, "Mind if we do a quick review of the four key concepts?" There were four cut-aways from the video. I would play a 10-second clip, stop, and ask a question. This was our information-gathering phase:

1. The positioning ladder -- the mind is like a card file. Q: Who are your competitors? What are they good at? Weak at? Where do you see yourself on this ladder?
2. Information overload -- how the brain stores and recalls information. Q: If there was one thing you could get people to remember about your business, what would it be?
3. Targeting -- reaching the right people. Q: Who are the people you're trying to reach?
4. The power of repetition in making an indelible impression on the mind. Q: If you had top-of-mind awareness and could keep it, how would that impact your business?

Why Did "The Video" Work?

? There was internal (sales staff) competition to use it because there was only one.
? Nobody else in the market was doing it.
? It gave me a reason to make phone calls to strangers.
? It provided the prospect something of value whether they did business with us or not.
? Brief -- spending the 12 minutes watching the video was worth their time.
? By bringing cutting-edge research, I was perceived as an expert. I was helping.
? There was a sense of urgency -- you'd better see it before your competitor.
? There was a sense of exclusivity -- I'm calling you first.

Face it, you'd look pretty dumb if you walked into a prospect's office today with a 25-pound, all-in-one VHS player. So, what are you bringing to the table instead? What information do you have that will help your prospects whether they do business with you or not? Review the list of why the video worked and come up with your unique system. Some thought-starters:

? An article.
? A white paper.
? A Ted Talk.
? A YouTube video.
? A Knowledge Bite.

The resources are available if you invest the time. It's pretty simple actually.

I like to share research about adult education, how to improve retention of information, and the science of attention span. These are important concepts when training. Whether you hire us or not, you need to know this information if you plan on developing your team. It demonstrates why some training methods fail, and why people hate sales meetings. Even if prospects don't hire us, the research we share can make the training they do better. Sound familiar? Phil Fisher, if you're reading this, you should be proud!

Should you take the time and effort to do this? What will you do if it's your competitor who does this first?

Jeff Schmidt is EVP and Partner at Sparque, Inc. You can reach Jeff at

Twitter: @JeffreyASchmidt

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