I was talking with my good friend Dave yesterday. Dave is a great sales person and an impressive persuader. In his business he sells very small parcels of real estate. They’re about 3.5 feet by 8 feet in size. It’s a small parcel but is landscaped with beautiful green grass. He also sells unique and very expensive parties. Hopefully, when you have the party, hundreds of your friends and family will attend. Have you figured out what he’s selling?
This niche is known as the pre-need cemetery and funeral arrangements. Yes, if you didn’t know, you can actually buy your cemetery and funeral arrangements while you’re still alive. Dave is consistently a leader in total sales for his company month in and out.
This is a funny niche to work. I know from experience because I originally met Dave years ago when he was my sales manager. I often joked with customers that it was my job to put the fun back in funeral.
Dave left management a while back and is selling one-on-one again. Why? Because he’s good. Dave’s the top counselor in his region for his company in both cemetery and funeral sales.
He does things the other pre-need counselors (aka sales people) won’t do. He goes door knocking in neighborhoods to prospect. He looks for people in the cemetery visiting relatives and strikes up conversations that turn into sales (he calls it lawn fishing). He looks through old files to find existing customers that haven’t completed all their arrangements. And, the list goes on.
While we were talking yesterday he mentioned another counselor (Jim) in his office decided to try lawn fishing because of Dave’s success. Jim spoke with two people in the cemetery that just brushed him off. Jim started to get discouraged and decided to talk with one more person. The third person was friendly, open and bought two graves right there on the spot.
The family was thrilled to purchase the spaces next to mom and dad because they thought they were already bought by someone else.(Yes, people actually get happy about buying their graves.)
Then, Dave told me Jim walked in and said, “I just got lucky.” Dave and I both started laughing.
Is it really luck?
The other counselors sit in the office waiting patiently for someone to come in and ask for help. The other counselors will follow up once, maybe twice, with a potential buyer. The other counselors don’t take time to brush up on their persuasion skills.
You’ve probably heard the quote by Seneca:
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
If you’re in a sales environment, you can’t wait for things to happen. Do you want better luck?
- Are you willing to make an extra call today? How about 10 extra calls?
- Are you willing to say something that might upset your buyer but they need to hear today?
- Are you willing to put yourself out there and take a risk today?
- Are you willing to do something out of the ordinary today?
- Will you dedicate time to learning so you can improve your ability to understand your buyers and make more sales?
Dave has spent years mastering what he does. He’s learned rapport skills to immediately gain and convey trust. He’s learned to use questions and language in a way that helps the customer understand their situation and figure out if this is something they want to do for their family. He goes to seminars and spends thousands of dollars on education to improve what he does. He’s not afraid to put himself out there and make a sale.
Having worked in the cemetery with Dave years ago I learned one thing that haunts me every day.
Your life will be over quickly. Stop making excuses.
When you make a sale, don’t say it’s luck. Selling, marketing, persuasion is not about luck. It’s about doing things other’s won’t do. It’s about taking risks and learning skills.
Get out there and be the best at what you do. Your life is on the line.
Tell me what you think below.
Photo credit Nicole Shackelford