Most companies I work with have solid, documented processes for accounting, manufacturing and human resources, or at least to some degree. Yet, almost without exception, there is NO documented, repeatable process for sales. Below, check your sales process with the five I have listed.
1. You must have a “Milestone Centric” System –
What’s this mean? Just like Lean Manufacturing, there is a documented, step by step process from prospect to closed new customer. Selling is simply another name for qualifying an opportunity. Thus, each step either qualifies or dis-qualifies the opportunity. We should not be doing costly and time-consuming proposals, demo’s or sampling, until we get to the proper step. Far too many companies engage in what we call, Free Consulting. Meaning, you have simply taught your prospect how to buy your product or service! Then, they “shop” you around.
A milestone centric process tells everyone involved in the sales process, like technical service, design, engineering, where we are in the sales process. In a team selling environment, everyone is on the same page, working in unison, versus stepping all over each other. When we have gotten to the right step, then we can show our wares, but not until. This makes a duplicatable process where log jams, put offs and rough spots can be fine-tuned. Also, the CRM system can be matched to your process ensuring everyone knows where we are on this opportunity.
Lastly, based on data from the Objective Management Group in Boston, companies that simply make the change to an effective and repeatable sales process can sell 15 % more just doing that!
2. Take Control –
We need to take control of the sales process in a very integrity and professional manner. If not, we play by the rules of our prospect and that is not good for either party. After all, how well do your prospects know how to buy what you do? They focus on price, internet research and playing you against the incumbent. IN the end, nobody wins. So, each sales call, whether the first or the closing call, need what we call at Sandler, an “Up Front Contract”. Now, it is not a legal contract, but rather, an agreement in advance, as to what will happen at each call, and most importantly, what decisions will be made at every call? A strong “Up Front Contract” at every step is the consummate key to shortening your sales cycle.
3. Prospect Focused –
Hate to tell you, but prospects do not care about you, your company or your products or services. They care about them. Period. So, why do so many sales people go on a sales call with brochures, loaded up with their features and benefits and sometimes even Power Point? How can we present anything, until we know if they have issues, concerns or problems that we can help with? Our main step in qualifying is to understand better than anyone what are their specific issues. Why do these issues exist, and why now? Are the issues important enough to even fix? So, we must completely take ourselves out of the call and focus on them. We must have a sincere curiosity about the prospect’s past, their present and their future. Sometime, the more we know about our products, the more we want to tell, and not listen. Yet, the better we listen and the less we tell, the more that prospect feels understood. Feeling understood is the first accomplishment towards closing the business. A powerful Sandler Rule is, “A prospect discovers how much you know by the questions you ask, NOT, he information you give!”
4. You must engage the Emotional Brain!
The rational brain is way over emphasized. Biology has proven the only part of the human brain that can make decisions is the emotional brain! Yet, I find most companies are trying to sell to the rational brain. All your features and benefits, like service, quality, pricing, are all totally intellectual and you are not selling to the decision maker! You must have very powerful questions that create uncertainty to get the emotional brain to the meeting. When we are not able to get the emotional brain in our call, then all that gets focused on is price – unless we are able to differentiate ourselves in our approach, we end up getting beat up on price.
5. Deal with all the commitments –
Price is either brought up too early or too late. If you spend countless hours and dollars making the most beautiful and compelling proposal, and you are really proud of it, that is great. However, your prospect is going to page right through all of it till they get to the last page and see the price before they even notice the perfect cover page and your company’s wonderful certifications. If our sales process is all about qualifying, then we need to get all the commitments to engaging your help in the middle of the process. What are the commitments the prospect needs to make, and you need to make to solve their issues? It certainly is money, but maybe much more, like investing in change, training their staff and much more. Deal with these at the right step, and before you do any proposals or demos. If they are not ready, willing and able to make all the commitments to enlist your help, then, let’s find out soon.
So, a lot to consider. Rate your company on each of the five factors and be real. Each factor is worth 20 points. So, are you going to hold your sales efforts to the same standards you do all the departments in your organization? Then, these five factors might be a starting point!
About Moore Power Sales
We help successful clients optimize their sales initiatives. Moore Power Sales has the unique ability to serve as few as one person with on-going reinforcement to larger sales forces located around the country or the world. Visit our website.