A Step Ahead
Skip Miller
May, 2009 Vol 3, Issue 4
The Eye of the Hurricane
Almost June. You have almost made it past the half way mark of this year.  How do you want to describe that success?
Feeling good that the worst is over?  Getting ready for the second half?  Funnel looking better than it did three months ago?  Yep, that would be the eye of the hurricane. 

Be careful...some stormy weather ahead. 
Summer months are always a slow time.  It will be tough to make up ground given June/July.  Over 40% of deals slip in the early summer months.  People going on holiday?  Waiting to get the first half results and need to digest them before they make a commitment?
Here is a novel thought: big push to get second half revenue will dry up the pipeline.
Rather than batten down the hatches and wait it out, or even get out of town, you may want to do something now so you can weather the storm.
Clean up the funnel now
Call high for their second half ValueStar
Sell to second half Gap Charts
Clean the funnel now
You have 30-40% maybes in your funnel right now.  I-Dates and Dragon hunting is the best way to get those maybes up and out.  No I-Date, no deal.  An I-Date is NOT when the customer is going to sign; it's when they are going to start using what you are selling them.  If they have not made plans to use or implement what you are selling (dragons), no deal.
Call high for their second half ValueStar

Remember, it's ValueStar/t.  Your questions must be future based, since that is where decision makers live.  "What are your risks right now?" is very different than, "What are your risks that you see for the second half of '09?". 
Sell to second half Gap Charts
You need to get the decision maker and do a GAP Chart.  This will help quantify the solution that you are a part of.  Remember, you are never the solution, you are a part of the solution, which is what the buyer is quantifying, not your cost.  If they are justifying your cost...well, good luck.
If you are a salesperson or a sales manager, get to the second half deals now. Call high and use the above tools to see if your pipeline is going to be full or empty come Hurricane season, which starts in July.  The more quantified Solution Boxes and GAP Charts you have, the better your funnel; and you thought just closing business for the next two months was going to keep you busy.
Look at it this way.  If you conduct just two of these high level sales calls from July onwards every week for the next four weeks, you'll be better off.  Much better off than spending the time worrying why your top accounts went "dark".
They say the second part of the hurricane is stronger, but is shorter.  All the data I'm reading says October/November turnaround.  Leading industries sooner.  Now is the time to work smart, not hard.  Brush off those Russian skills and go make the calls.  You will be a step ahead of the storm, and will weather it better than most.
Tools - They are Working!!

"It..it really works!"..........DUH!
Love getting notes from past students like this one.  I sure hope the tools work!
Go back over your notes for the 30-Second Speech and Summarize/Bridge and Pull tools.   All great calls start with the end in mind, and if you start a sales call without an SBP, you are winging it.    Here's the format.  

Usual Sales Call                                  ProActive Sales Call
1.      Middle                                              1.    End
2.      Beginning                                          2.   Beginning
3.      End                                                    3.    Middle
Organize your sales call the way customers want to hear it.  If you do not know where you want to lead the prospect , or what next step you want them to take, before the call is started, you're going to have to be lucky.  Be good, not just lucky.  Practice the tools.  You may think they are a bit too basic, but your prospect loves them  Buyer's want to be lead.  Lead.

In This Issue
Take Action
Tips and Things
M3 Learning Links
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Tips and Things

Welcome to the Gap Charts for salespeople and for managers.  It serves as a communication vehicle for you to have a great sales call, and be a value-add to your A players if you are a manager.  Let's face it,  there are usually 2-3 deals every quarter that are really important.  The rest are not really noise, but every quarter, there are those few items that need attention.   You are also looking at the next quarter, to make sure the deals are real and that value is created early.  These are the items you Gap.  

The Gap Charts is not a form.  You will not be showing up at a meeting with 14 Gap Charts and going through them slide by slide for the customer.  Gap Charts are a communication vehicle and how you establish your value in your prospects solution that they are going to fund that you are a part of.  It's a way for you to effectively get the prospect to communicate to you what is important to them, which items they are going to take action on, yes even provide them help, and stay in charge of the sales process.

In this example, A is say June 2009, B is December 2009.  Let's have the prospect assign value here.

"Right now we are 10% behind plan,  and see us 10% below for the first half, at $72 million.  Our 2009 goal is $150M.  Right now, I see us coming in at $145M for the year.

"Thank you Mr. Gysin.  If all goes well, and the plan you are working on to add revenue works really well, what do you see, if any, upside?"

"Well, I can see $160-165M if we execute well."

"Thank you.  If all the wheels come off the bus, what do you see as the absolute minimum that will come in?"

"I know that $135M is for sure.  Well as sure as I can be."

"Great.  That means you have a GAP of $25-30M.  Let's list the things you are doing to minimize the downside, and maximize the upside."

You now uncovered a list of three or so actions the client is taking, one of which is your solution.  Then ask,
"So with this solution that we are a part of now identified, and we all feel pretty good we can do this, where do you see your risk now?"
"Well, certainly we covered the downside $10M, and I feel pretty good about $150M now."

The solution the client sees is worth plus/minus $15M.  Your price is $200K.  Do you really think they are going to nickel and dime you for $10-20K on discounts?
Get good at GAPCharts, use them only on Russians, and have a value-based May.


This is looking like it is going to be a good second half.  You need to find companies with money...they will spend it.  Qualify early and higher in the organization to make sure they are really serious.  It would be easy to chase ghosts right now...hey, anything is a good deal right now.  Don't go for it.  Qualify to MMM and spend your resources wisely.  Have a great May.