The Number 6...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Oct 27, 2012

Vermont and salesOff to the woods this morning to bring in the last of the wood before this incoming storm on Monday.  The Boys on the Bench having coffee this morning down at the general store are predicting heavy snow here in our little valley, so I know that unless the two cords that are still piled on the upper ridge come in right now, it's highly likely that the next time I'll be able to get the tractor and cart up there will be next April.  Just the same time 9 months ago, that I stacked the same pieces of wood up stick at a time, after one stick at a time, after one stick at a time.

6 Touches to get warm

A friend of mine, a retired state supreme court judge who also lives part time in Vermont, and I were recently comparing notes on cuttin' and haulin' wood.  A bit older than me, I was very impressed when he told me that he not only hauls his wood as I do, but he also cuts and splits it himself.  I gave those tasks up years ago trading the added costs of my chiropractor and massage therapist for the money I pay Tom the Wood Guy who now comes to the house with the cut pieces and stacks the four cords in the wood tent now erected by the front door.  During my discussion with the judge, we came up with the number 6 representing the touches prior to actually heating the house.  One touch for cutting the tree down and into small pieces.  One for putting it into the splitter, one for taking the split wood and throwing it into the tractor.  One for taking it out of the tractor and stacking it somewhere.  One for bringing it in the house and stacking it beside the wood stove...and then finally the last touch moving it into the fire. 

The wood coming out of the woods this morning resulted from the warm winter last year with the result being that we only used two cords and not the normal four or five.  Already two touches have been laboriously spent moving it from the wood tent up to the ridge and another two this morning moving it back to the recently re-erected wood tent by the front door.  The answer to the question that you are asking yourself right now about why not just leave the wood in the wood tent by the front door all year is that the LP (well known as "The Little Princess")  says that the wood tent spoils the view during the summer.  Of course, during the summer, we're on the beach and not in Vermont, but long ago, I decided on the correct answer to the question of "Do I want to be right or happy?"

Sales of sixis also the number of formal touches that it typically takes a seasoned, highly proficient, "A" level B2B salesperson from accepting an MQO (Marketing Qualified Lead), through the pipeline from Qualify-Discovery-Validate-Solve-Prove & Propose-finallly to Close.  And that's for an "A" level, professionally trained athlete taking the opportunity, working it, polishing it, and proactively engaging all of the members of the buying team in accepting the business use case before moving it across the finish line to a win.   At a minimum, it takes 6 Touches to Win.

Sales and 3In comparison to the number 6, there's the number 3.  The data shows that 3 is the typical amount of touches that a "B" level salesperson does before just giving up and moving on to explore another MQO because the first prospect did not give them any positive feedback.  Clearly not the fault of the prospect.  Definitely the fault of the salesperson in that they did not have a process, did not understand the math and did not consistently use Marketing to work with them to consistently nuture that expensive lead through the pipeline. 


One last number...

There are now only 38 real selling days left in the quarter...unless you're a better salesperson than I am and are able to close deals the day after Thanksgiving and between Christmas and New Year's.  


Don't manage Sales Results, manage Sales Activities...

  • How's your detailed actvity plan look for November?
  • Are your November travel schedules done?
  • Have you scheduled final presentations over the next 38 days?
  • Where do you need to bring your boss in the next 2 months?
  • Have you booked enough breakfasts in November with Referrals to build Q1?
  • [You need to fill this in here...]

Today's most successful sales professionals, manage the number of touches, the rest of the math, their activities, their process and most importantly, their time.  How about you?

I need to get up on the ridge. Have a great weekend, batten down the hatches and...

Good Selling !!!

Head Coach
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Tufts and salesIt's that time of year again, when in my "other" job as a marketing professor at Tufts, I begin to think about company projects for my students for next semester. For 12 semesters now, we've woven the theory and tactics of the rapidly changing world of marketing into six real world companies. With five students per team assigned to each of these companies, the students are presented by management with complex, semester-long marketing projects ranging from detailed market research on new product launches to building complete marketing plans .

If you're interested in participating, just email me, and I will send you an outline of what's involved. The deadline for selecting the companies is December 1st, and we are limited only to six companies only each semester.


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