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The five core elements of predictable selling

The first question you need to ask yourself is …

… is selling actually predictable?

There’s been a debate about this for years. First off, throw marketing out of this discussion. Marketing is a support structure for sales in many organizations. It can have repeatable success, yes, and can claim to be data-driven — but oftentimes the correlation to actual sales success isn’t there. Sad, but true.

As for sales, yes, it can be both (a) automated and (b) predictable. Why? Sales is inherently about persuasion, about moving someone from A to B. Persuasion, as Robert Cialdini has noted, in rooted in psychological laws, so similar procedures produce similar results over a wide range of situations. That’s the predictable side. The automated side is happening via the tech stack.

Now, if you understand that selling can be predictable, what are the five core elements of selling you need to understand to make sure your pipeline is predictable?

Valuable

This is where everything begins. You think people pay $1,200 for a phone because they think it lacks value? You buy the house in the neighborhood the hipsters are turning around with coffee shops for $150,000 because the value isn’t there yet — you buy the house with the fountains and the CEO neighbor for $1.8M because the value has already arrived. Value is the base of everything; it’s the first brick in any sales structure.

If we’re workshopping this, here’s the question you need to honestly answer: what about your product or service makes you confident in its value?

Relevant

What’s the desired end result of using what you make, in other words? How will it be relevant to a person’s life? Remember: people aren’t always buying your product. They’re buying what they think your product will make them do in their life. People don’t buy Air Jordans because they’re pieces of cloth and plastic and rubber tied together in a factory; they buy them because they think they’ll be better at basketball for having them. That speaks to potential value and relevance.

Important to understand here that you don’t need to be No. 1 in the market immediately, rather, you need to be able to answer: What desired end results am I providing/is my messaging speaking to?

Credible

Are you doing what you say? And do you always tell people you’re doing it, or are you understated in the process of doing it? Credibility is about consistency of reputation, and it’s about who you align yourself with: who is your messenger, in other words, and what makes them worthy of the task? (Malcolm Gladwell has made an entire “thought leadership” career exploring stuff like this.)

Sequential

The process of sales, because it’s predictable (it is!), needs to also be logical and sequential to a human brain. The common example you’ll always see is this: a lot of companies get one level of permission from someone, say an email address. Instantly they go into a hard sell and start bombarding the prospect. Do you ask a woman to marry you on the first date? Of course not. (Well, hopefully.) But many organizations set up their funnel in an illogical, non-sequential way that doesn’t mirror actual human relationship development. That dooms the funnel.

Core question here: Describe your offer funnel and how it’s mirroring the same form and function of a normal, healthy relationship.

Scientific

This has been twisted in recent years with everyone under the sun claiming to be “data-driven” and “science-first,” which admittedly usually means “We use Excel to make decisions periodically.” In a sales context, what “scientific” actually means is learnable and repeatable. Oftentimes, something works once and people consider that “a business model” or “a funnel.” (Tons of business ideas spin out of bigger companies or services firms, but usually they are just that — ideas that worked once and won’t work for long on the open market.) What about your business model and sales funnel is both learnable and repeatable?

How we help

We have three tiers of sales + lead generation DACH packages to help you go-to-market in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and more successfully. If you don’t want recurring packages, we also offer product/market fit workshops and we can develop and build your own repeatable sales machine in 90 days (described at same link), all designed to get you ramped up in a new market quickly. You can contact us about anything sales-related you’re stressing out over — we’ll help.

Ted Bauer
About the author

I help companies to market their content in the most effective way.