Host: What is the paddlewheel method of selling?
Sean McArdle: Ah! The paddlewheel, the paddlewheel is my way of describing what salespeople actually do. We go to a marketplace of people and then overtime, not overnight, we try and move them from Hello , perfect stranger to Yes which is I will buy from you. If we do it right overtime, they will actually become our friends and over the years, we will be doing business with our friends. It is a wonderful way to earn living.
I refer to the paddlewheel, because I think that the marketplace that we call on should be considered to be a river. In it lie all the prospects for our company. We are on paddlewheel boat, cruising down the river and as we cruise through, we whap all of our prospects on the head with at least, ten paddles. Now, let me explain, years ago the American Management Association determined, that it took seven to ten meaningful communications to move a prospect from Hello to Yes and that the average salesperson was only making three to four calls before they gave up.
Realizing that this was a hindrance to anybody s sales success, I decided in my own career, that I would decide ten things to do in advance of ever calling a stranger and saying, Would you buy it from me? so that I can move them from Hello to Yes in measurable time, and that if it took seven to ten meaningful communications, I had them planned in advance. This is what I call the paddlewheel. When I teach companies and salespeople how to sell, we develop ten meaningful paddles to move a prospect from Hello to Yes based on the experiences of the people who already sell there.
Let me give you an example just to be specific, the first paddle might be to call a person and say, Hi, my name is Joe. I have done research in my company that shows that we have got ways to both help your company make money and save money by how we do business. I am not positive of that but I am pretty sure, if I send you some brief written information would you take a minute to read it? Now, the reason I like to ask that question is that people rarely say no.
So, the person says, Yes, paddle one done. You hang up the phone; you mail the piece that is paddlewheel two. Now, in a letter that you include with the written information you say, I will call you in exactly one week. So, paddlewheel number three is to call him exactly one week later. Now, the number one reason that most buyers according to the American Purchasing Management Association, buy from a specific salesperson is that they are dependable.
My first three paddles say, Hi, I have done research, it shows we can help you. If I send it, would you read it? The second paddle is to send it, so you said you have done something, now you have done it and they get it. The third one says, I will call you exactly a week. So, you are setting up with each of these paddles, the belief system in the prospect that you are in fact, a dependable person.
So, you design ten of these paddles, you carry them out on purpose and keep track of them in their Customer Relationship Management Software.