In the early to mid 1900's a renowned phenomena was discovered in America. Willy Sutton was his name and Willy has since had much to answer to. Willy was a bank robber - not a particularly good bank robber but nevertheless ‘bank robbing’ was his career.
One day a reporter questioned Willy asking why he robbed banks. Willy looked around and thought for a moment and then came out with one of the most fascinating answers that would ensure much more than his 30 seconds of fame. He replied - ‘Why do I rob banks - I'll tell you why, because that's where the money is’. Without doubt Willy had laser sharp focus knowing exactly who and where his target market was. During his career as a bank robber Willy spent more than half his adult life in prison and shortly before his death in 1969 became a consultant advising banks on security.
So as management and sales people, what can we learn from Willy Sutton and how can we relate it to sales?
Firstly - Do we really understand our target market? Willy knew exactly which bank he wanted to rob. He would ‘case the joint’ discovering all the variables and deciding if the target bank was appropriate or not.
Have we done our due diligence to establish what solutions we should be selling and why prospects and clients buy from us? What are the other factors that will ensure we stand the best chance of personal and team success for the next quarter? Willy Sutton really did understand his market and that was his major strength - so hands on heart do you?
Secondly - He understood the power of motivation. Is it really surprising that after making his presentation to the banks’ staff, gun in hand, people were highly motivated to carry out his instructions (lie down on the floor and don't do anything stupid). Any objection handling would have been dealt with immediately in a crisp and authoritative way - unfortunately as sales people we cannot use the phrase - do you really want me to blow your brains out?’
Thirdly - The escape plan. Having achieved his objectives and earned his commission, he would then disappear not hanging around to make idle conversation where he might be tripped up. His strategy was end to end (although potentially his strategy was weak as he was often caught before he left the bank)
Willy's ultimate downfall was the marketing used by the opposition. Being constantly written about in newspapers and having his name nailed to trees in the vicinity with a complimentary photo meant he was also subsequently arrested some time afterwards.
Have you a solid Marketing Strategy?
Lastly, if you decide to change from selling and move into ‘bank robbing’ then here are a few tips:-
- Make sure you get enough money that you can flee to a country that currently does not have an extradition treaty with the UK
- If you decide to rob a bank in the country make sure it doesn't only have one road in and one road out
- Wear a mask
- Get a reliable gun
- Practice your script ensuring it is short and to the point
- Dress for the occasion - you never know who will want to take your picture
Being in sales is easy - being successful is somewhat different. You must plan and understand your market - both important keys for your continued or future success.
Creating a highly qualified pipeline from your prospects and customers will ensure that you have focus - and thus Willy Sutton will not be the only one who goes where the money is. You must focus on where you get the best return for your sales effort and also ensure you read read the signals to avoid any surprises. Like Willy Sutton you don't need any surprises when you are hard at work and going for the ‘big one’. Unlike Willy Sutton you don't want to be caught out because you didn't have the right information or target - don't you want to mitigate risk wherever possible. Get the focus you have everything to gain!
Bio Info: Mike Palman, is a global Master Sales Coach, Sales Mentor, Author and Sales Trainer and CEO of The Sales Academy. Mike helps people and businesses do more, do it better and get the results that they really want. In 2005 Mike started an e-mail marketing company believing that e-mail marketing is an essential part of today’s marketing that can help leverage new business http://www.candomail.com Mike had a successful career in sales for over 25 years and now helps salespeople, sales management & business owners get the sales edge. Mike lives in both the UK and South Africa. For more articles by Mike Palman, visit http://www.thesalesacademy.com