In a nutshell, here is the movie, starring Bill Murray as Phil, and Andie MacDowell as Rita.
Phil wakes up to find that he is reliving February 2. The day plays out exactly as it did before, with no one but Phil aware of the time loop. This happens every morning, without fail. The same day…over and over. Phil takes advantage of the situation. He decides to seduce Rita, who doesn’t like him. These attempts continually fail. So Phil spends every repeated day, trying to seduce Rita….getting better and better at it, as he learns more about her.
Eventually Phil decides to improve himself and help as many people as he can, with his intricate knowledge of the day. Of course, he gets the girl, and the time loop is stopped.
As I was watching this movie, it dawned on me that if I were in such a time loop, my selling skills would improve dramatically. And if I talked to the same prospects in a “Groundhog day event”, over and over again, they would probably all eventually buy……because eventually… I would be saying the exact right thing, asking the exact right questions, and fitting my presentation exactly to them.
Now, think of a prospect you talked to, but didn’t buy from you. Let’s say that you were in a time loop, where you started your presentation, and only you knew that you were repeating the event. If you kept learning more about the prospect, and kept trying different ideas…would they eventually buy from you? Almost certainly.
We can almost do that now. We can find out quite a lot about our prospects before we ever talk to them. What business are they in? Have they bought your offer before? How did they like it? What would they change, if they could? How often do they make a new buying decision? How does your offer exactly match what they want? How much are they used to paying?
All of this, and more is done through list selection, and either talking to a referrer or during the qualification phase. You ask questions throughout your presentation; to adjust the direction of the presentation, and fit your answers to their needs.
The director of Groundhog Day, Harold Ramis, said that the actual time that Phil spent in his time loop was at least 20-30 years, because it would take that much time to improve yourself, learn new skills, and adjust your world view….to get the results that Phil did.
But Phil didn’t have a mentor. He didn’t have books, training courses, and managers to speed up this learning process. You do.
If you are like most salespeople…you wing it, every time. And in most cases, you are blindsided …caught unprepared, by an objection, or situation that you haven’t prepared for. And on average a beginner salesperson may close 10-15% of his/her sales presentations.
Can you sell everyone you ever meet? No. But you can dramatically improve your chances by being prepared…trained….
In fact, at the highest end of expertise, a diminishing return sets in. Maybe 80% of the people I present to, buy right then. And I don’t make repeated attempts. But to get it to 85%? I’d have to be twice as good….and to get to 90%, I would need a time loop to accomplish it.
And I believe that maybe 10% are just not reachable, no matter what you do. Trust me, if a painless free cure for cancer was found, at least 10% of cancer patients would refuse treatment. It’s just the way some of us are.
So, take advantage of the vast amount of proven sales instruction out there. Read books on the subject. I still read sales books, even after 40 years of selling. And sometimes, I still get an “Aha!” moment. Learn from the top salespeople, the real experts.
Or wait for next Groundhog Day, hoping for a time loop. Your choice.