The 5×5 sales method seems to be the ‘hot thing’ out in sales marketing trends. Generally, this refers to sales people becoming mini marketers, creating drip campaigns for their prospects. This is a method that I’ve always been driving with my sales team.
Why? Because life.
You know the drill. You don’t lose weight from eating a salad once. You’re not getting fit by going to the gym twice. Real results require repetition.
Once is Never Enough
In my line of work, helping small business owners find online advertising solutions, you need to play the #’s. It takes about five calls with a business before you even reach a decision maker (usually an owner or general manager). Until that point, you’re usually leaving messages with a receptionist, bartender, voicemail etc. This means if you just call the business 1 time and leave your number with the receptionist, there’s an extremely low chance the owner is actually going to call you back.
Why? Maybe the message was never actually taken, Barb fooled you and did the “air write-down”. Or maybe Barb did actually write down the message but forgot to give it to the owner. Maybe she wrote it down and gave it to him but he never saw. Maybe she wrote it down, and gave it to him, AND he saw it but didn’t understand the need. Maybe he understood and didn’t care. Maybe Barb wrote down the message and gave it to him, and he saw it, and understood it, and cared, and actually wanted to speak to you, but had 10 other things going on and forgot, and then lost the message with your number on it. As you see, if you’re putting your hope in that 1 call to Bob’s Auto Emporium doing the trick, you’re going to have a pretty long week.
The age old marketing adage says that a person needs to see a message seven times in order to internalize it. Seven times JUST to pay attention. We shouldn’t treat sales, or any important life task, any differently. So on our sales team we don’t. I don’t assume that because I called a business once and never heard back, that my prospect wasn’t interested. I assume that she is running a successful business and is quite busy. I also know that no one has time for something that doesn’t work, but I know my product does work. So I give my future customers the chance. I remind him.
(If I want to reach a potential customer with a great opportunity this week that I know is going to better his business, I make sure that he actually gets the message. And more importantly, that he understands what the opportunity involves, so that he can make the educated decision to take the opportunity or pass.)
The 5×5 Approach
1x – The Opportunity
I’ve learned that I, myself, work this way. I get sales calls and emails all the time these days. Most of which I don’t have time for. Everyone is coming to me with the same basic lines, “Hey Dave, I work with company A + B and wanted to see if our X and Y can help drive your bottom line, when’s a good time to speak?”. Typically, I think that most salesmen and most products out there are no good, so I almost never respond.
2x – Push to Top of Inbox
The better sales people will follow-up a day or so later: “Hey Dave, just wanted to push this to the top of your inbox…”. Rarely will I respond here, either.
3x – Add Value
Even better sales people will follow up again in a few more days with something of value to me – NOT just asking for a sale or conversation, but proving how they can add value to me. For example, recently an email tracking company was reaching out to try to win business from my team. A value-added email might go, “Dave- did you know that after analyzing x thousand email subject lines we found that the simple subject line ‘too busy or not interested’ got a 30% better response rate than the average subject line. I thought that might be a useful tip for you to try. Hope we can talk soon. – Jim”.
Well, now you’ve piqued my interest. We’ve already been through the first two contacts, so I’ve likely ignored your outreach twice now… but it’s finally starting to register a bit. Also, you’ve just added some value to my day. Now I feel a little bit better about you, and a bit better about your company. I’m still not going to respond to your email. I don’t have time to “talk to some salesman about nonsense”, but I might do a quick google search to see what your company’s all about.
4x – “Too Busy or Not Interested?”
Fourth email. Subject: “Too busy or not interested?…” Yup, you guessed it, he uses the same subject that he told me works. And guess what? I feel it. He just wants a yes or no, and I feel like I owe him that. But, both he and the product actually seem pretty interesting. I don’t want to lose out on the opportunity and he seems a bit better than the other 100 salesmen coming to me. I might give an “I’m sorry Jim, I’ve been swamped. Can you send over the details?” Alright! Jim’s got a win now. At least we’ve got a ballgame.
If there is no response from the fourth email, a smart salesman will send the ‘Breakup email’. “I just wanted to let you know we’ve filled this opportunity. I’ll continue to keep you in mind as new things come up. Cheers, Jim.” This is a great way to say: Hey Dave, remember when I was telling you we had a good opportunity, but time was limited. Well, that was true and you missed out. Fear of loss is psychologically the biggest driving factor towards making decisions for most humans. This last email gives credibility to your other 5 urgent reach-outs and allows you to cultivate your leads. Next time when you go back to him with another opportunity, he may not wait until the 5th reach out to get the wheels turning.
On my team, we’ll additionally work calls in between the email contacts. If I want to reach a potential customer with a great opportunity, this week, that I know is going to help their business, then I’ll make sure I can reach them. I make sure that understands the opportunity so that he can make the educated decision to take the opportunity or pass.
Pete and Repeat…
This repetition method doesn’t just apply to sales. I am NOT a guy who likes to do the same thing over and over. I like new challenges and new adventures; tackle one problem and then on to the next. Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to teach. With my own team, if I teach them a new strategy or give them a new idea every week and don’t ever revisit, it’s bound to get lost in the shuffle. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. If I want a message to sink in I’ll hit the concept, (you’ve guessed it), five or more times. (Pro tip: I’ve found Boomerang by Baydin to be an extremely helpful gmail tool for this, allowing you to chose to push sent messages back into the top of your email if no action taken.)
The same goes for my own goals. Every self help book, religion, sales guide, etc. preaches, in some way, to repeat your goals to yourself over and over again; whether it’s praying, writing them down, visualizations, whatever. With repetition comes understanding. Let me repeat that: with repetition comes understanding. First, things start to sink into your subconscious Then, you’re ready to pay attention to. Finally, you’re ready to “buy” the actions that need to be done to reach those goals.
People are busy. There’s a lot going on this world. If you want to get something done, you need to put in the extra effort to be noticed.
Try this concept once… and then try it again. And maybe a few more times. Have you gotten anything out of it? I’ll check back in a few weeks.