There are lots of buckets; rice bucket, honey bucket, bucket list, ice bucket, backhoe bucket, bucket of crud from the cartoon Beetle Bailey and one that every salesperson should draw from daily, their bucket of opportunity.  A salesperson’s bucket of opportunity is one of the most important buckets in the world.  It contains your future sales, commissions, prosperity and success.  And yet, so few salespeople ever draw from it or even know what it is, where to find it and alas, how to use it.  Every salesperson has their own bucket of opportunity, but they don’t know how to fill it or how to drink from it.  The bucket remains a mystery and a waste for most salespeople.

In the next few moments I will explain the use of a salesperson’s bucket of opportunity by explaining how to fill it and then how to draw three extremely valuable properties from it.

First of all, your bucket of opportunity is filled with every sale you have ever made.  Whether you know it or not, every sale goes into your bucket.  Every act of customer service, quality, attention to detail, kindness, patience, on time delivery, customer satisfaction and every other sales detail appreciated by your customers goes into the bucket.  Once these actions and details go into the bucket, they will stay there until you draw them out.  However, they come out of the bucket in three distinct forms.  They all have equal value and when combined they contain an almost magical synergy.  Here are the three properties found in your bucket:

1. Additional sales opportunities with your customers:  The very best source of new sales is with an existing, happy satisfied customer.  Make sure that you treat your customers well, so they will be both happy and satisfied when you pull them from your bucket.  You have a relationship with these current and past customers.  Therefore, you have a built in advantage in selling additional products and services to them.  They know, like and trust you.  Just like the famous commercials for the Larry H. Miller Automotive Group says, “You know this guy”, which implies a trusted relationship in addition to a quality product and customer centered service.  Take advantage of that relationship between you and your customers in your bucket of opportunity.  Again, the bucket contains your very best next sales opportunity, bar none!
2. Letters of recommendation:  If you have ever read a great letter of recommendation or endorsement of a product or service, it came from someone’s bucket of opportunity.  There are more letters in that bucket than a typical salesperson could ever use.  Trust me on this one, letters sell!  However, most letters of recommendation remain untouched in a salesperson’s bucket.  They don’t realize they are there so they never pull them out and use them.  Don’t flatter yourselves, you are not the best salespeople out there.  It is not even a contest.  The very best salespeople in the whole world are happy satisfied customers who tell others prospective customers to buy your products and services.  Don’t waste the power of a letter of recommendation by leaving it in your bucket.
3. Referrals are the third property found in your bucket of opportunity.  If existing and past customers represent the very best source of new sales, referrals from these customers are the next best source of new sales.  Most people respond favorably to the idea of referrals.  Restaurant referrals, movie referrals, vacation referrals, etc. are part of the human experience.  People trust people that they have a relationship with.  If your customer was happy and satisfied with you, your product and service, it stands to reason that they would be willing to give you a referral to someone they know.  With the referral comes the relationship.  People by people first, thus the value in transferring relationships through referrals.  Referral sales close at a much higher rate than other forms of prospecting.  In many cases, referrals can close at a rate greater than 50%.  Referral sales also close much more quickly.  A referral opportunity will typically close in half the time it takes to close any other prospecting opportunity.  The prospect trusts you and believes you based on the recommendation of someone that they know and respect.

If you will take advantage of the properties found in your bucket of opportunity, you will come away with a new sale, a letter of recommendation, or a referral.  If you are lucky, you might come away with two or maybe all three properties.  The only way you can walk away empty-handed is to ignore the value of your bucket of opportunity.  Begin today by making a list of your current and past, happy satisfied customers and begin calling on them.  Continually fill your bucket through making your customers happy and then draw new opportunities each day from your bucket.

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Copyright: The Business Performance Group, Inc.
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