Everyone selling needs this. Yes, that’s you too. Why?
- Repeatability & Systemisation (so you define and control sales behaviors and actions and you are consistent to market)
- Aligning (your sales model with buyer behavior. Very important)
- Audit, interrogation and statistical measurement (sounds dull but is in fact crucial i.e. of non-converted leads or repeated objections to establish the why’s. Then putting learnings mercilessly in to action)
By having a process to follow, to ‘hang your hat on’, you can create your very own method to get what works for you really humming. Ninety percent of this in not wheel reinventing, that’s the good news, it’s the last ten percent where the challenge lives. So, for cynics:
Ah I don’t need one, I know what I’m doing
You may know what you are doing, but does your sales force? Does your off sider? Are your results that great? The most successful firms out there invest in sales process development because it serves everyone’s best interests. It is actually total common sense to do so. Here is a recent example of two comparable sales approaches, one which worked, and one which didn’t.
I recently invested in a new home gismo. I contacted two reputed, local service providers.
First up, Sloth Devices Ltd
The sales chap turned up on time. Good start. He was informative and gave me options. Good again. He then dropped a written proposal in my letter box after 3 working days. So far so good. The proposal was average, but that’s ok not a disaster, but then…
Enter Slick Gismo’s Ltd a couple of days later.
The sales chap turned up on a Saturday morning. Wow, commitment. He was authoritative without being pushy, knowledgeable without being arrogant and strode through my home like he was over for a dinner party the night before. I smiled to myself thinking he was a pro. I mean, he’d been on the TV too so he must be right?. Yes he was a pro, and I was quite enjoying the experience. The proposal was in my letter box after 4 hrs i.e. that afternoon, whoosh. The proposal presentation was excellent, with bespoke diagrams, options, and supplier’s literature. Impressive. He wanted it. But then the real differentiator, he
And then he
FOLLOWED UP SOME MORE
Who did I go with? That’s right..
Your process – map it, execute it, then improve it
From lead generation through to signing on the dotted line, define it, map it, measure it, even script it. Script those follow up calls, ask if there is anything else they require, reverse the risk – you take the risk. Be sincere and show you care don’t just say it. Caring and creating that emotion wins business never doubt it. Flakey folk get brushed up in the dust pan.
In a recent business networking group we discussed the sales process area fervently and with passion. It was fun. The outcome? Some had it covered more than others but all in the room could improve. Write it down, suss out what works, test and measure and set targets for results. Lest one forgets it is ALL ABOUT RESULTS.
Never burn a lead or prospect in your sales funnel
Never burn a lead or a prospect and set your no limit, with scripted training for objection handling (if you need that ambulance at the end of the cliff). I believe however sales are made in numerous mental green tick box moments in your prospects head when you are in dialogue with them. This starts with the handshake and the first whites of eyes moment.
You should not need to handle objections or have that ambulance if your sales process is implemented dogmatically with fortitude to deviate only where your absolute judgment says so. For example, providing a written offer after the first sales call. You might not normally do these but if that’s where the ferry is heading, you better go that way to seal it. So, be a little pragmatic.
Oh, you also need to spot the tyre kickers early on at best in your leads qualification, at worst early in the sales process. Are they serious about investing in your product or service? do they have the authority and funds to commit? Tyre kickers are wasteful, dispiriting and no good to man nor beast although some rats do still get up the drain pipe. Little buggers.
Use the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, that’s why you invested in it. Work the database
Use the CRM functionality as part of your sales strategy. Keep the data up to date, remember garbage in = garbage out. This is especially important in staff changeover situations. Work the database in your marketing and comms. Set the touches and contacts strategically and align with the customers individual preference. No e mail to touchy feelies, it’s a miss. E mail those who WANT this type of communication. Align your comms to your customers DNA. I’m a talky type, I admit it, e mail is not my first preference.
When you earn the right to ask for the business, use the right, always
Tom Hopkins and Brian Tracy have some great stuff on this, check them out on YouTube. Hopkins came from zero to hero in the real estate game after kicking off as a greener than green 19yo with his first mill at 26 or something nuts. After you have diligently followed through your process with your prospect, you have earned the right to ask for the business. Yes, you have earned it. Hopkins has some great script options here. I mean, how daft is it not to ask for the business in sales? But folk avoid it because it can be scary. But the fear is all too largely perceived and not real. Not asking for the business is a bit like studying for an exam then going down the pub on exam day. Daft, crass, illogical and bloodletting to your stats.
- Draft your own sales process. If you are not sure where to start talk to one or two sales professionals in your network
- Document and map your sales process. This is crucial for metrics and systemizing. Touch points are important i.e. ‘I’m just calling to see that you received our proposal Mrs Jones and to see if there is anything more we can do for you at this stage’. Touch point records are equally important for others to pick up the lead mid process if needs be.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up. Then follow up some more, punctuate stalk paranoia with ‘Gee I really feel like I’m stalking you Mr Hanson [laugh], but I was just calling to see’. You can leverage your conversion rate through well timed following up, say 1-2 days later after receipt of your proposition. After each day your conversion propensity falls, factoid.
- Keep perfecting the process, there will always be room for improvement in the process and the results. Never fall in to the trap of thinking you have it perfected. It never is.