Factor points

Every business has factors and points that are the most important things to know. I was talking to a friend some years ago who managed a large grocery store. I asked him how business was, and he pulled out a small sheet of paper that had three sales factors on it. The sales month to date, year to date and the percentage sales increase/decrease from the same two periods last year. His name was Harry Owens. Harry told me that when his owners called him those were the main numbers they wanted to know. Harry, being a smart guy, updated those sales numbers every morning and put them in his pocket so that when the owners called he would know the numbers.

Pretty smart, right? When Harry’s owners called he didn’t have to say “let me check and get back to you.” He wanted to get out in front of the question and already have the answers.

In every business and every job there are reams and reams of paper and figures and numbers, but almost always there are a few factors and numbers that are the important ones. A good manager, salesperson, admin, painter, preacher, etc. know the real factors that are important and the ones that are not.

At Hotel AG, just like all sales companies, no one cares if you are number one, number three, largest this or that in this region, etc. If you are a Chevy dealer, actually telling someone that you are the largest volume Chevy dealer in the world does not mean anything to a buyer. Telling a buyer that your company sells three Chevrolets every hour gets the buyer’s attention because it is not a sales pitch they have heard before.

At Hotel AG, we find that starting a conversation with sales quotes kind of misses the point. We want to get the conversation to the point when the buyer asks “How many hotels have you sold” or “How many Hilton/Marriott hotels have you sold” because when he asks to hear the pitch, the pitch means a lot more. Our sister company, Pipeline Social Media Solutions, is a social media company. What is most important to Pipeline is the number of social channels they update each day, hour and or week. That tells the potential customer that you know what you are doing.

If you dig ditches, I would think the factors you need to know every day is the length of ditches you dig every day and the percentage of completion of the job each day. You get the idea.

At Hotel AG when we call a client, we never call and ask “Do you want to list your hotel with us?” The answer to that question is a resounding no and will probably turn the guy off. We go at every client as though he is a buyer first. What I mean is we talk about some hotels he may be interested in that are like the hotels he owns; this way, we can gain his trust. A seller of a hotel wants to know that the broker he is hiring knows how to sell hotels, knows how to sell hotels like his, and has sold a lot of hotels like his. What we find is that going to each client as though he was a buyer actually answers his questions before he thinks to ask them. Like the Harry Owens example above, the best way to develop trust is to answer the questions before the client even thinks to ask it.

So, if you handle corporate accounts, sell insurance, pastor a church, manage a Starbucks, know the factors that are the most telling in your line of work and know those answers before you are even asked. When you report to someone above you, it only takes a couple of conversations where you already know the answers to his/her questions before they ask when they start to trust you, respect you, and develop a high regard for your abilities. This usually helps you when promotions are handed out.

So, in summary, know the points and factors of your work and outsmart your competition by knowing the answers before they are asked. KT

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