As a salesperson and sales executive for the past 30 years, I’ve seen great salespeople do wonderful things. I’ve observed how one person could exceed their sales targets consistently while others with the same product would struggle. During my own career as a field salesperson, sales team leader, and company president (actually a combination of all three), I’ve worked the sales process daily and have experienced nearly every example within this context learning from my mistakes along the way.
While you’ll never be selling a 100 percent perfect product, you can successfully sell any product or service by applying PowerZone principles. A PowerZone is a dominating attribute of a person, product, market, and channel or systems integrator. In fact, it contains the two or three most compelling strengths of those attributes.
An interesting exercise is to have your sales team define, discuss and rate your specific PowerZones, and then match them to your targeted vertical markets. Assign a PowerZone value of 1 to 5 as you consider your own attributes. If you are the absolute best systems integrator in the education market for instance, then you would rate that a “5” while a weak position in petro-chemicals may be rated a “2.” Next, your team needs to chart your company based on your strongest and weakest PowerZones. PowerZone ratings of “4” and “5” are where you should maximize resources while spending little time on those rating “1” and “2.”
The PowerZone process was developed over many years largely through personal necessity. In the late ‘70s, I was thrown into a highly competitive market selling broadcast television systems. My company’s products were very good and as an authorized reseller for various manufacturers, I could choose from a variety of solutions. The real problems for me were fundamental. Which customers should I approach? How should I present my products? How should my weekly schedule be organized? You can easily be overwhelmed by sales managers, quota pressures, and the personal drive that led you to a sales career. When you consider the limited amount of actual selling time available during normal business hours, it becomes clear that you must maximize those precious moments.
It was during our company’s 2004 national sales meeting that the efficacy of PowerZones surfaced in a team environment. We had just introduced our first full-featured DVR. The sales team had been under-performing overall, but some people were achieving outstanding sales. When I asked one of the successful salespeople, Steve, to share the secret to his success, he simply stated, “I focus on selling the recorder to schools since they have no access control system to connect to. Our recorder does not connect easily to an access control system.” Other salespeople were failing because the product did not connect to existing systems in the traditional installed base. As commentary to Steve’s report I responded: “Steve has found a successful zone for the product by aligning and focusing on the product’s most powerful features and strengths to solve the specific problems of a specific market. He found the product’s PowerZone!”
As the conference continued I realized that PowerZones were easily applied to every aspect of the selling process. Others in the room had individual PowerZones, and our reseller partners had PowerZones in different markets. This epiphany evolved into an organized, repeatable process that could be used to guide any sales force selling any product into any market. During breakout sessions the team organized the sales strategy based upon aligning all the PowerZones, aiming at specific vertical markets where the product solved identified problems for customers.
So, what are your company’s PowerZones? Your personal PowerZones? Focus maximum effort on those and you will see powerful results.