One of Library Journal’s Best Business Books of 2008
Even the most competitive companies only close about 15 percent of the deals in their sales pipelines. That means that salespeople spend time with prospects who, 85 percent of the time, aren’t going to buy. Wouldn’t those salespeople rather spend more time pursuing prospects they knew they could close? Or spend time with their prospects where it matters most at an executive level? Readers who are ready for exceptional results for themselves and their companies need Selling to Zebras.
The Zebra way can help salespeople identify the perfect prospects for their companies–their Zebras–and develop a sales process that will help them close deals 90 percent of the time.
The Zebra method of selling will:
- Increase close rates
- Shorten sales cycles
- Increase average deal size
- Reduce discounting and increase margins
- Make better use of scarce resources
- Make customers happy, creating a stable of great references
Jeff and Chad Koser don’t just offer theories and concepts. They give readers specific tools, models, and spreadsheets they can customize to make the Zebra way the best way for their companies to do business.
- Publisher : Greenleaf Book Group LLC (October 1, 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1929774575
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
I can’t thank you enough for telling me about Selling to Zebras.
When I first went to the Selling to Zebras website and watched Kevin Calderwood’s testimonial video I knew I had to find out about it.
I was working as the Director of Business Development at the time for a regional home mortgage company and was struggling to get traction. I had been hired to do a 4-6 month consult with this company to see if I couldn’t expand their strategic relationships and find additional avenues to obtain home loan leads. This was an experiment as they had not previously had someone in business development. After 5 months of working extremely hard making calls, buying lunches, doing home shows and setting up meetings, I still hadn’t gained any significant traction.
The company had thought that we could do relocation services for the big companies that were moving into Utah like Adobe, Lockheed and EBay, but I found out after considerable time and expense that unless you had an international footprint, you couldn’t get a big corporation’s relocation business. I was working hard and spending countless hours making dead end calls and I was very frustrated.
To complicate things, the new director of sales, we’ll call him Bart, who had hired me stepped down and went back to running his own mortgage group within the company. Previously he had been the top loan officer in the company for 14 of the last 15 months. I knew my days were numbered and was feeling like this would not be a good reference account going forward.
So, after watching Kevin’s video I purchased the book online and started reading and taking notes. As I read through the first few chapters I started actually taking an objective look at the situation and a few things began to stand out. The company had some 200 loan officers and yet the top 15% were doing about 75% of the overall volume. Bart, was the number one producer month after month. The CEO often commented, “I don’t think this guy is human”.
I had recently moved into Bart’s team and I told him about the Zebra profile and asked him for some data. I gathered all his sales data over the past three years and came up with some interesting findings. Loan officers get the bulk of their leads from Realtors and I found out the average number of loans and average loan size that he was getting from his Realtors.
I then found another good producer in his group that we’ll call Matt who did about 1/3rd the volume Bart was doing and did a profile on his Realtor relationships. What I found was very interesting. The average quantity of loans per Realtor and the average loan size for Bart and Matt were almost identical. The only difference was that Bart had three times as many realtors providing him leads.
Then I went one step further. Through a Realtor relationship who’d become my friend in the first 5 months I was able to obtain production data for 5000 realtors in Utah over the previous 12 months. From that list I looked up the 20 or so realtors we had been working and found how many total homes and average price of the homes they had sold in the previous 12 months. From that data I extrapolated a sweet spot or range that matched up with the realtors who had been giving us the most referrals.
From what I had learned in the book I felt like I’d found my Zebra. I then applied my Zebra profile to the list of 5000 realtors and found that 160 of the 5000 met our criteria.
The data was shocking to me. We had been spending the bulk of our time going out after the big Realtor producers and not getting any of the business. By doing the profile I realized we would never get their business because they already had strong established relationships with lenders. We had also spent a bunch of time gaining relationships with low to average producers and making friends but not getting much business. I was really busy making calls, keeping stats, buying lots of lunches and coffee and yet the production numbers had remained dismal. So I changed my operating basis and working with Bart, created a marketing and sales plan to go out after the 160 that met our profile.
The results were amazing. I literally went from spending 10-12 hour days with almost no production to spending 1½ hours per day on the 160. As close as I can tell my production went up 10X and it was amazingly easy. When it came time to ask my Zebras for a face to face meeting and their future business, my closure rate was about 90%.
We quickly had way more business than Bart could handle and we had to start implementing the program with other loan officers in his group and obtained similar results. Production for Bart’s group hit an all-time high and his group continues to knock it out of the park.
Tell Jeff Koser when you see him that I’m sold on the methodology and please thank him for taking the time to write the book and create the tools.