Zero-Time Selling

“The race doesn’t go to the swift; it goes to the responsive”

- Zero Time Selling, page 13

Andy Paul’s Zero Time Selling identifies key steps for optimal selling in an information-driven cyber world. More so than ever, customers are using the internet to collect information about a firm’s products and services, prior to initiating any contact. With 70-80% of the initial research conducted online, Zero Time Selling is a methodology that empowers your customer to make an informed decision and increase their Return On Time Invested (ROTI) by selling with Maximum Impact in the Least Time (MILT) possible.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Zero-Time Selling Means Now

"This is what Zero-Time is about: using absolute responsiveness to reduce to zero the amount of time required to convert a sales lead into a satisfied customer"
- Zero Time Selling, page 34

The fundamental components to achieve zero-time selling are content and speed. Paul argues that quality content that is readily available for the customer will increase their ROTI. Instantaneous response to customer inquiries is paramount not just for ROTI, but also to maintain a competitive advantage over the competition. The process in turn results in converting sales leads into satisfied customers. Zero-time selling requires implementing the following steps, bearing in mind that it cannot be accomplished overnight and requires that a company prioritizes according to their practices:

  1. Sell with MILT: The fundamental underpinning for Zero-Time Selling is selling with the Most Impact in the Least Time (MILT).
  2. Follow up on 100% of Sales Leads: Ensure that salespeople follow up on every lead ever generated, no exceptions.
  3. Always Sell with the Sharp End of the Stick: The person in contact with the customer has to be able to answer any and all types of questions a potential client might have.
  4. Do Everything Now: Critically appraise your sales process and eliminate time-wasting activities. “Don’t let Indecent Intervals and Wallet Pretexts slow you down.”
  5. Practice Unconditional Support: Much like unconditional love, practice unconditional support. A customer is more likely to remember how you helped them in their time of need, rather than the features your product/services provide.
  6. Provide the Human Touch: Out with auto-attendants answering in-bound calls, in with live humans talking to customers.
  7. CRM It: Any and all interactions should be recorded thoroughly in your company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, regardless of an individual’s rank in the organization. This mitigates missing any client information and ensures continuity in the case of staff changes.
  8. Sell Low: Don’t over promise and under deliver. Also, make sure you sell to the decision-maker, who happens to be the individual with the lowest responsibility level in your client’s organization (i.e. the person who is signing the purchasing order.)
  9. Start Small: Smaller implementations decrease risks for you and your client. In addition, you can ensure optimal service delivery by selling based on your available capacity.
  10. Disqualify the Losers: Don’t waste time on poorly qualified leads and relocate those resources to prospects that need your product/service.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Treat Your Sales Like A Scratch-off Instant-Win Lottery Ticket

"Any Salesperson who can’t be bothered to respond to the lead is just leaving money on the table"
- Zero Time Selling, page 40

The author compares leads to scratch-off lottery tickets, where both have the potential of paying off – the lottery odds are slimmer – yet not every lead is treated like a lottery ticket. Paul argues that a lead is a lead – otherwise it wouldn’t be a lead – and there is no such thing as a “bad lead”. All leads have the potential of paying off and that can only be ascertained once they are qualified by following up. The simple-fix to this situation is following up on 100% of all leads. Paul points out that with zero-time selling, sales personnel should follow up with leads within 30 minutes.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Sell With The Sharp End of The Stick

"The sharp end of the stick goes into the mammoth; the butt end of the spear sits flat on the ground and tries to stay out of harm’s way"
- Zero Time Selling, page 45

If you’re out hunting with a spear, you generally have a good idea that it’s the sharp end that you need to direct towards your unsuspecting prey. Translated into zero-time selling, Paul argues that your salespeople need to have deep product knowledge. With technical information readily available by a subject matter expert, positioning them closest to customers increases your responsiveness in addition to eliminating any extra steps and time it takes to “get-back” to them with the right information. The result is increasing the customer’s ROTI, because the right information is available at the right time during the sales process. Furthermore, he argues that there is no such things as being over responsive, which may come off as “too eager”.

Zero-Time Selling was a good read. It has plenty of practical examples and easy to implement solutions that any buyer can find useful in the current cyber-market climate. Paul shares strategies to empower customers with the right information, and how to deliver it instantaneously. 

Recognizing that zero-time selling doesn’t occur overnight, a big factor is appropriately qualifying leads. Paul argues that: “A prospect that buys from your competitor was not a qualified prospect for you.” I am inclined to somewhat agree with the Paul’s statement, however I’m not sure it is applicable in all cases, because not every industry is the same and every customer has unique needs. Any thoughts?

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Yervant Terzian

ABOUT Yervant Terzian

The by-product of growing up in many countries, Yervant (aka Yerv) is a humanist interested in healthcare policy work. He holds an MSc from McMaster University, is the founder of YT Healthcare Inc...
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