By Elizabeth George and Steve Moran
It used to be that once I started reading a book, I felt obligated to read the whole thing. I am not sure if it was some grade school thing or because I felt like I had to get my money’s worth. I no longer feel this way. If I start a book and it is either not interesting or not teaching me something, I simply toss it. Time is too valuable.
Russell Rush, the creator of the R3R1 sales process and a Senior Living Foresight partner, sent me his book and I was prepared to start it and discard it, but as soon as I started reading, I found myself thinking this is so, so good that every senior living professional who has an interest in keeping their communities full should be reading this.
Simple or Complex
“People want to oversimplify selling, but the truth is that the sales process is not simple.”
Russell Rush starts with the reality that successful sales presentations take thought, planning, practice, review, and adjustment. In fact, his own sales process includes 17 steps that he continually refines after each and every presentation.
With a curious and analytical mind, Russell has painstakingly noted and studied each aspect of the sales process over the last couple decades, experimenting with a variety of approaches. He shares the methodology that emerged from this process in his book: R3R1: A Sales Formula for Success. The book is written in the same clear, logical and engaging manner that he advocates through the R3R1 method.
Russell is clearly a lifelong student in the science of selling and psychology and he’s leveraged his learning from these disciplines and his own experience to develop a formula that has worked very successfully for him.
His formula is focused on helping salespeople increase their closing ratios with qualified prospects through a tight and compelling sales presentation. The process revolves around three main sales actions:
- Relate – forming a personal connection with the prospect
- Reason – persuading a prospect that they will have a better outcome by purchasing your product or service
- Resolve – removing the obstacles that are preventing your prospect from making a commitment to buy your product or service
When these actions are successfully executed, Russell shows, it will culminate in a “Result” of a sale much more often. He doesn’t shy away from saying that his goal is to close 100% of his qualified prospects.
Each aspect of the methodology is supported by several tactics. And he shares insights from his mistakes: some steps, when not performed, have proven to be deal-breakers. Establishing a relationship with the prospect as a person, for example, is one of those because building trust is crucial to selling.
Throughout the book, Russell demonstrates the practice of relating with the reader, sharing engaging personal stories of his childhood growing up on a watermelon farm in Kansas to embarking on a successful career in sales across multiple sectors. It was his tremendous personal loss, however – the death of his teenage daughter in 2006 after a long and debilitating illness – that caused him to step back and reevaluate his life’s direction. The event made him realize he wanted to make a difference in another area – one he believes contributes to a longer and happier life for older adults. He has worked in senior living ever since.
Sales is a Noble Profession
Russell is acutely aware that sales is not normally considered a noble profession – he acknowledges that most kids don’t grow up thinking they want to be a salesperson and most parents certainly don’t encourage it. But he believes that sales “is an honorable and needed profession”. And he wants to help those starting out in sales, as well as sales veterans, to achieve the most success possible.
There are several things we like about the R3R1 method and by extension, this book. It is very clear, digestible, and the principles are easy to recall. Chalk it up to the power of 3s and good use of alliteration – I mean, what could be easier to remember than Relate, Reason, and Resolve?
What we also found valuable is the dual use of the book as a reference guide. It can be used as a blueprint to design a comprehensive sales presentation or a simple resource for accessing the principles more generally.
This book is intended to help sales professionals achieve more sales success by executing their presentations more effectively rather than by increasing the number of presentations they deliver. That’s because, in Russell’s estimation, the most precious resource a salesperson has is time and there’s a limited amount of it. While the book could include more detailed guidance around questioning and closing techniques, we believe its value is as a digestible resource for both process and principles that will be useful for the novice salesperson right up to the seasoned pro.