Over the course of the past forty years, I’ve worked with thousands of business owners, CEOs and/or high-level executives to facilitate the implementation of new, more effective and profitable selling processes. Many of them, probably ranging into the hundreds, have shared that their business is absolutely and totally unique from other businesses.
I find that, in the course of working with over 7,000 business-to-business salesforces, there are some marked similarities that should be attended to. If you think your business is totally unique, then you may be putting yourself into a mindset that is inadvertently suppressing revenue. The common denominators in all of the business-to-business salesforces that I’ve worked with are as follows.
- People achieve success: Without exception, at the end of the day, the quality of the team has a direct correlation to the quantity and quality of revenue produced by the team. Many of the managers who feel that their product is totally unique lull themselves into the belief that – because of the uniqueness of their product, business, business strategy, et cetera – the customers will buy without any quality of salesmanship. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A mediocre product can be sold by a superior salesperson profitably and consistently. A horrible product can be sold by a superior salesperson from time to time. But finding those superior salespeople is a challenge, especially in today’s tight employment market. Why not build processes that allow the majority of the good sales professionals to sell your product and service consistently and predictably?
- Sales process: Although all companies have slightly different processes, there are some major phases if you will that all new transactions go through. They are as follows.
- Get their attention: Many trainers call this phase of the relationship by different nicknames but, at the end of the day, if you don’t have the prospect’s attention, you can’t convince him/her that your product or service is going to produce the results that are desirable.
- Engage: The engage phase of the sale is a vital phase, but it is frequently overlooked by many poorly trained salespeople. Some salespeople would rather charge in and start disgorging all of the facts and features pertaining to their product and never bother to ask what results are desired. Consequently, skipping this phase causes sales volume to be suppressed and also impacts the velocity by slowing down the customer’s process. Once engaged, you must move quickly and seamlessly to the next phase of the sale.
- Educate: Again, you must educate the prospect to help the prospect understand how the results you produce will help him/her achieve a permanent and measurable improvement in one or more of their business’ operating conditions. If you’re not selling and showing the customer how you can improve some of their business’ operating conditions, then the customer will resort to pure price decision-making. He/she with the lowest price will win, and that hurts your profits. Conversely, a salesperson who understands how to quantify the results and the project improvement in operating conditions is the salesperson that will win, more often than not. Failure to engage and/or educate frequently leads salespeople to pursue deals that can’t buy, won’t buy or shouldn’t buy.
- Close: The last and vital step of the process is you must A-S-K to G-E-T. In other words, you must close.
I believe that the four phases described above are very universal. So, don’t “head fake” yourself into thinking that, because your product or service or business model or team is so unique, you don’t need to pay attention to the fundamentals. Manage your team to get through these phases consistently and predictably, and you will enjoy a significant and permanent improvement in your top and bottom lines.
If you’d like to talk more about this, please click this link to access my calendar and establish a mutually convenient time to chat. As always, I wish you…
Good Luck and Good Selling!!!