Fact: Microsoft was started in a recession. Apple was started in a recession. Amazon was started in a recession.
So get off it for a minute – worrying and whining about the Economy… fretting over CNBC reports. The “Yield Curve” has nothing to do with how well you might do over the next 12 months. The GDP is a measure of the GROSS economy – not your economy.
There are always winners and losers regardless of what the macro economy is doing, good times or bad.
In “bad” times – the weak, the cowardly, and the stupid – get their heads utterly hammered. They blame the economy. It’s their fault. They were relying on factors they couldn’t control – cheap credit, low opportunity costs, and people not caring.
In “bad times” – opportunity costs go up, cheap credit goes away, and people care – A LOT. As a result, the weak get hammered.
There are always businesses that don’t. That’s because they do three things really really well – and that’s the focus of my first Friday strategy session for Aviation Executives.
This is the first in a series of videos and talks I am going to give Aviation and Aerospace executives to show them – your future isn’t dependent on the “GDP” it’s dependent on the G-D-Me.
Your ability to sell is what determines your success. This video is going to be an introduction to the core topics I use to grow companies with real returns of 30% or more in a 12 month period of time.
Thank you for taking the time with me today. My name is Bryan Del Monte and I am the president of the Aviation Agency.
The purpose of today’s presentation is to show you as the leaders of aviation aerospace companies, how you can grow in any economy. I know right now there is a lot of anxiety as I’m talking to you today because who knows when you might encounter this.
As I’m talking to you today, it’s the third week of August. There has been a tremendous amount of tumult in financial markets. There is a tremendous amount of tumult in the stock market. There is a lot of concern that the good times may be over.
I am an economist. I don’t know when the next recession is going to be. I have my own suspicions about it. But today I want to talk to you about how to grow in any economy and as business leaders, the economy, the GDP, recession growth, all of that, there are always winners and losers in the economy, whether the economy is good, quote unquote good, growing or quote unquote bad.
Microsoft was started in a recession. Apple was started in a recession. Amazon was started in a recession. There are always winners and losers regardless of what the macro economy is doing, good times or bad. Today’s briefing is about how do you win that game regardless of what the economy is doing. So let’s get to it.
Sales – Lead Generation and Sales Capture
Sales is the lifeblood of corporate growth and I think we would all agree on that fact. Nothing happens until there is a sale. Sales activity is really broken down into two big buckets. There is lead generation and there is lead capture. Lead generation is about your at-bats, your calls, your inquiries, the pitches you make, how many pitches you get to make and your sales intensity numbers. Sales capture is about the deals you are winning, can you maintain prices, can you maintain profit margins and lifetime value and second money and all that good stuff.
Let me begin by saying that all companies typically have a strength in one and not the other. If you are truly strong in both or truly weak in both you wouldn’t be watching this, because companies that are really strong in both of these, they are too busy doing business to pay attention to anything other than taking orders. Companies that suck at both, well, they tend to go bankrupt.
What I would like you to think about for a moment is which one are you strong in and which one are you weak in? Chances are you are probably stronger in capture than you are in lead generation. That’s part of why you are here. It’s actually the main reason why you are here. Because you are like, “Well, I need to grow revenues. I don’t know how to do that”.
My guess is you already kind of know lead generation isn’t doing it for you.
That’s okay. About 80% of businesses out there don’t have really effective lead generation strategies.
Well, in the end it really boils down to fear. That fear makes it tough to sell because at a very deep level, if you are not sold on your own value and you are not sold on doing enough to make the connections to create all the opportunities and there is, you know, selling is a kinetic activity, then you are not going to get well-known enough to have lots and lots of people in your pipeline. Most companies struggle with lead gen. That’s very, very typical.
Over the next few weeks in these presentations that I’m going to do, these trainings, I’m going to go deep into both. So if capture is your issue, we are definitely going to talk about capture strategies and the things that go along with that.
But today we are really going to kind of focus on lead gen because that is where most people are. It is really the core of how you win in any economy. You have to know how to attract people and convert them. Most businesses in aviation have reasonably good sales capture processes. They do need work, but the weakness for most is lead gen.
How to grow in Any Economy
When everything is firing on all cylinders properly, when you’ve attracted that lead and closed the deal and everyone is all smiles and whatnot, three things fell into place. There is a micro level that these things fall into place and there is a macro level that these things fall into place.
The difference between companies that grow no matter what and companies that are subject to the whims of the broader market really boils down to how well they execute these three activities, domination, WIIFM, and follow up on a macro level.
Because when things are good the opportunity cost of making a choice is much lower. So you don’t necessarily have to dominate your market. You can have imprecise communications and sales functions and really crappy follow up and people will still buy your product. This is why winning is sometimes dangerous. You confuse low opportunity costs with actual real sales effectiveness.
The dominant companies, the companies that grow even when the economy gets tight, they are very laser focused on these three activities which are dominating their markets, what’s in it for me or WIIFM and follow up.
In subsequent seminars, I’m going to talk in much more detail about all three of these things, but I want to give you an overview because this is the secret sauce.
If you are like, “Hey, what’s the secret sauce to growing in any economy?”
This is the secret sauce, getting very good at the macro level, which means every encounter with a prospect, everything you do in your company, every aspect of sales has these three elements ingrained and baked into every activity.
Because every time you made a sale, these three things fell into place. You dominated the attention of the prospect. They had a deep empathetic connection to you in terms of the WIIFM and you probably did it subconsciously or not aware that you were doing it. And then your follow up or lack thereof didn’t impede the sale, which actually, it’s usually the lack thereof.
But this is it. This is the formula. You have to dominate your market. You have to speak and understand your market in a certain way and you have to follow up. That’s how you survive regardless of what the economy is doing.
Let’s talk about these three things for a few minutes because this is it. This is the core of the presentation, domination, dominance. Let me assert something that’s controversial. I don’t mean it to be controversial, but it often winds up being controversial and please feel free in the comments to comment about this. I’m happy to answer questions.
My statement to you is this, competition is for cowards. It’s for the people who hope for growth, who hope for the best, but they are not committed to leading a market and they are not committed to truly generating long-term growth. What do I mean by that? It’s not enough to be good at what you do. In today’s business world, you must dominate.
Domination is your Goal
There is a very distinct difference between competition and domination. Competition is a struggle in pursuit of goals where multiple actors compete with one another and just the guy who is marginally better wins. Sports competitions decided by milliseconds, fractionally better.
Domination is where you influence and control everything around you. You make the market, the market doesn’t make you. That’s the difference. There are companies that dominate Coca-Cola, Apple. There are sports teams that dominate the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots.
At various times in NFL history, those teams have been super dominant. They controlled everything around them. Even now with the Patriots, the New England Patriots, just to focus for a second on sports, does anybody believe the Patriots won’t have post-season play this year?
It’s 2019. Maybe I’m wrong, but my belief is they are going to be in the playoffs.
Are they going to go to the Super Bowl?
Well, the odds makers seem to think it’s at least a reasonable bet. They are dominant. That’s domination. That’s being so secure in your position you don’t worry about what the other guy is doing, because everything is flowing to you almost faster than your ability to deal with it.
But as I’ve pointed out with all these companies, Coke and Google and Apple and the sports teams and whatnot, they are not dominant forever. Why? Because at some point they get lazy and they just start trying to keep up with everybody else. They slip into competition.
When I have this discussion with some people, what they will immediately point out is, well, you know, that’s just the first mover advantage and people eventually catch up and whatnot. No, that’s actually not what happens. If you’ve heard about the first mover advantage, the idea is if you have a first entrance into a market space, you can capture significant market share while competitors scramble.
I’ll give you a good example of where this falls flat, Netflix. Netflix put Blockbuster out of business. Netflix put a lot of people out of business.
They were not the first to enter the market. They were not even the first to enter the idea of streaming, but they entered it in such a dominant way that they were the last mover to enter the market in that regard.
When you are the last mover that you create the last great development for a specific market, which the idea of on demand streaming, which was the actual outgrowth of getting the CDs, they made the last great development for the specific market and so they enjoy decades of profit as a result. Whether or not they can hold on to it is an interesting question, but they dominated and destroyed established businesses that had way more money than them.
You have to dominate your market space.
You have to dominate it and then you have to scale up from there and so everything you are doing, all the marketing you do, all the activities you do, how you prospect, how you talk, how you walk, your strategy, it all has to be looked through the lens of, somebody is going to have to lead this industry, so it might as well be us.
Strong companies focus their investments, including all the money they spend on marketing, communications, advertising, and everything else on investments that help them dominate very quickly.
A really good example of this would be Amazon. Again, another company, and we talk about “disruptors.” Disruptors have a certain mindset which is, we are going to dominate the industry.
Jeff Bezos throughout most of the growth of Amazon was all about taking the money that they made and piling it back into customer acquisition, customer acquisition, customer acquisition. He would set for manager’s targets as to how much they could spend per head because he knew that if he became so dominant in the mind of consumers for what they were doing, everyone else would fall apart and that’s exactly what happened. They drove B Dalton’s essentially out of business and they put Barnes and Noble on the ropes.
Those were big competitors and Amazon was a startup. Dominate your market, quit spectating, quit playing in it, quit trying to be competitive.
Make the decision to dominate and great things will flow from it.
WIFM – What’s in it for Me?
Second issue, the WIIFM also known as what’s in it for me. I’m sure you’ve all heard people don’t want to buy the quarter inch drill, they want to buy a quarter inch hole. Or sometimes it’s like people don’t want to buy the drill, they want to buy the hole. Or they will say people buy the benefit, not the features.
All of that is from a Harvard business school professor by the name of Theodore Levitt. I know we’ve all heard this before.
Well, guess what? They don’t even want to buy the hole. Your customers don’t care about your products. Even the ones that buy from you don’t care about your products. What they are buying is the solution that that benefit creates.
I used to joke, you know, how can I most easily demonstrate WIIFM to you? I used to joke that I sleep with all my clients, which obviously is a provocative statement.
What I meant and what I would continue right after I had their attention or I have yours, is I know what keeps them up at 2 in the morning. I know what keeps them awake night.
To do that, you have to have a deep empathetic understanding for what the real problem that your customers have and how your offering solves that problem.
When you have that understanding, it completely changes how you sell, how you lead generate, how you capture. You will say things differently. You will give different messages in the marketplace and people will come to you from unexpected and expected places.
Great companies take the time to genuinely understand what is going on in their prospect’s heads and they speak to them in a way that grabs their attention, like tuning a radio dial, like I’ve been talking to you. It’s, hey, how to grow in any economy.
I know people are worried about recession. I didn’t say, “Look, let me give you 12 tips in order to make more sales”. That wouldn’t be as bad because it’s still the problem of how do I solve sales?
But I get it, you guys that are listening to this, you are empathetic. You are like, “Okay, if the economy goes bad, how am I going to continue to make things work? How am I going to continue to make payroll? How am I going to…?” I get all that.
This series of articles that I’m going to have for you, this series of videos that I’m going to have for you, they are definitely what’s in it for me. I’m going to show you the secret sauce of what it’s going to take to survive and it’s up to you to decide.
This is a proven method. It’s what I use with clients, but it’s up to you to decide if it makes sense. So here it is. I’m presenting it to you. That’s what’s in it for you. Similarly, no one is buying an APU. No one is buying an avionics package. No one is buying a jet airplane.
What they are buying is the problem that those tools solve, period.
If you understand why you make sales and why you don’t, you can grow in any economy. Like I said, in the case of companies that rise with the tide, they understand these things at maybe best, a subconscious level, but it’s hit and miss in their execution.
The ones they win, the WIIFM is good.
The ones they don’t, the WIIFM is not.
If you want to win every time or you want to have a shot at winning every time the WIIFM has got to be nailed down every time. As one of my mentors and people I look up to, Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometimes thing. It is an all the time thing.”
WIIFM is not a sometimes thing.
It’s an all the time thing.
You are the missing Link – FOLLOW UP for more $$$
Finally, we come to follow up.
Here is interesting thing, 80% of all sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact. Do you want to know how many sales organizations actually have that level of follow up? About 2%. There are a lot of reasons why sales teams don’t follow up. Again, it largely boils down to fear.
Without effective follow up you don’t grow sales. Without effective follow up you don’t nurture prospects. Without effective follow up you don’t keep the business you work so hard to get.
Nothing is more expensive than replacing a customer you had. So what’s your follow up on prospecting? What’s your follow up on lead generation? What’s your follow up on sales activities? What’s your follow up on post-sales activities?
Most businesses are very, very weak in this area.
Honestly, in good times follow up is not as important because the opportunity cost again, is lower, so people aren’t so intensely structured to be so resistive to making a decision.
Whereas when things are bad, follow up is like essential. If I had to choose one of these three things when the economy is really bad, follow up is probably the thing you’ve got to do more than anything else, because if nothing else, you are still going to get more sales even if you don’t understand your market and you are just competitive.
If 73% of business to business prospects are not sales ready and from that 50% are not ready to buy in that first contact.
So the only way to sell is through the system of follow up.
You have to build your credibility. You have to show and prove your commitment to your product and service. You have to be in front of the buyer. You have to keep pounding it away every day. That’s what’s required.
Secret Sauce Revisited
This is it. If you can dominate these three activities, if you know these three things cold, if your sales team is cold, domination is going to allow you to generate leads like they are fallen raindrops from the sky.
WIIFM and follow up are going to allow you to capture like it’s nobody’s business. But here is the thing, WIIFM also really helps with lead generation, because like I said, it’s like tuning a radio. If you are really on that person’s frequency, it doesn’t really matter all the competitors and what they are saying.
I like to joke, there is always that rib joint that everybody goes to for 20/30 miles around regardless of what everybody else is doing. That’s WIIFM. That’s lead generation. That’s how WIIFM leads to lead generation.
Follow ups are really more about capture than anything else, but domination and WIIFM are all about lead gen. But you want good prices, you need domination. You want them to be happy and stay longer. That’s WIIFM.
The degree to which you can internalize these habits at a macro level such that they are applied in every case is the difference between having to weather the storm and just hope for the best and growing regardless of what the economy does.
Thank you for taking the time to be with me today. I hope this has had a meaningful impact on you.
I’ve given you the tools. We are going to do more. I’m going to expand on these things.
We are going to do a series of Friday talks and I hope you will continue to listen.
Leave a comment below, give me your feedback, give me your questions, happy to answer them.