Do you drive at the speed limit, the fastest speed you can get away with, the slowest speed you can get away with, or are you an 85th percentile driver? The 85th percentile driver travels at the speed that 85% of the cars on that road are traveling, regardless of the posted speed limit. Motorists.org has data, illustrated below, proving that the 85th percentile speed is the ideal speed for safe travel.
Thanks to a new finding soon to be included in Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations and assessments, the sales equivalent of this data shows a correlation between spoken words per minute and sales effectiveness, identifying the safest speed or pace to deliver sales messaging.
During 2019, OMG began asking salespeople who were being evaluated to provide their value proposition and elevator pitch on video. Prior to 2019 we simply asked them to type their elevator pitches and value propositions. The change occurred because we believed we could learn more from audio and video.
Today, we reviewed data from the most recent 3,000 or so videos and we observed that salespeople who delivered their messages at 110 words per minute, had sales competency scores that were higher than 93% of all salespeople. The ideal range - between 100 and 120 words per minute - places that group in the 85th percentile where their percentile score is better than 85% of the sales population. The actual range for all salespeople was recored at between 40 (they probably had several seconds of empty recording at the beginning and/or end of their recording) to 230 (they were in a big hurry to get this over with!).
The magic of 110 words per minute is that it's easy to listen to. A prospect is more likely to hear the entire message whereas a much slower pace is painful and a much faster pace will likely cause prospects to tune out. The easy-to-take speed of 110 is also less threatening to a prospect, thereby lowering the risk of causing prospects to become resistant.
Pace isn't the only thing we discovered. We've known from years of collecting value propositions and elevator pitches that the real problem is that most salespeople from most companies have horribly flawed messaging. The messaging is often weak, rambling, off-target, vague, inconsistent and most importantly, not worded so as to differentiate.
Finally, when does pace matter? When you're making your first call, when you're asking questions, and of course, when you're presenting!
Work on your messaging and moderate your pace to achieve performance worthy of the 85th percentile!
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