Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. – Fyodor Dostoevsky
It can be very difficult to start things. It can be quite a feat to go from zero to one.
Once you get started there is momentum and feedback but getting started can be difficult. Most races are lost not at the finishing line but at the starting blocks.
Why? Because most people never even enter the race! They just never get started. Wasn’t it Lao-Tzu who pointed out that all epic journeys begin with a single step.
The Start of the Sale
What is the start of the sale? The start of the sale is Customer Attention. Before a customer can say YES or NO their attention must be on your offer. Fred Herman, author of KISS: Keep It Simple Salesman used to say, First, you’ve got to get the customer’s attention!
Yet, most of the time the vast majority of customers’ attention is not focused on your offer at all. Whenever, at any particular moment, the customer’s attention is not on your offer then there can be no hope of a sale.
The Check Move
To manage customer attention I designed a new unit of measurement. In my book NewSell, which became a best-seller in Australia, I designed a new unit of measurement which I called: Check.
A Check move (taken from the game of chess) is simply a customer contact of any kind. It keeps the focus on the escape from uncheck. Uncheck is when we are not in contact with a customer. Check is when we are in contact with a customer. From uncheck to check.
This has all been revised and updated in my book WOMBAT Selling: How To Sell By Word of Mouth and you can get an ebook copy here.
For years it’s been a common belief in selling that most sales were lost at the close. In other words, salespeople were missing sales because they were not ‘closing’ them.
Our research showed that this is a grand illusion. The whole issue of ‘closing the sale’ is a nonsense and I have offered a reward of $100,000 to the first person who can prove, with the balance of evidence, that it’s the salesperson who closes the sale. It’s actually the customer who closes the sale.
FACT: The decision to buy is an electro-chemical event in the brain of the customer and the salesperson does NOT control that event.
FACT: It’s the customer who closes the sale.
FACT: 99% of sales are not missed at the close at all but at the start.
FACT: It’s the failure to start the sale — to contact a customer by phone, by snail mail, by email or in person — that is the source of most lost business.
FACT: 99% of check moves have never yet been made.
Noting their check moves (customer contacts) helps salespeople keep a measurement of how much energy they are putting out into the marketplace.
Focusing on their check moves helps them: 1. to raise their energy level and avoid wasting time, and 2. to stop their obsession with ‘the close’ and all the archaic manipulation tactics that customers hate and which have given the selling profession such a bad image and poor ethical reputation.
Just get in touch with the customer and they will teach you how to sell them.
Focusing on the start (check) rather than the ‘close’, reduces the rejection and disappointment salespeople feel which so effects their energy levels. Check allows them to initiate many more customer contacts.
Morry Morgan’s book Selling Big to China tells about how he used “check strategy” to build a very successful HR consulting business in Shanghai and Beijing.
This, of course, always leads to better sales results because the only move that can turn a prospective customer into a client is CHECK which is enough to make it the most important move in business. As Woody Allen said, “80% of success is showing up.”
uncheck2check is a practical example of zero2one. The most difficult feat of selling is to escape from uncheck.
To start, to go from zero to one, is the fundamental creative act. The most difficult feat of creativity is to escape from zero.
To change a switch from the OFF position to the ON position is to start something and means something has now been created. It has been said that the most important skill in writing a book is sitting down at the keyboard — getting started.
When it comes to the power of STARTING no-one said it better than the German thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, said:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
Your DFQ #016:
What have you been putting off? What do you need to get started on?
Make a startlist and post your results.