Most people tell me they can sell once they get in front of a prospect, however if they don’t get the appointment they never get the opportunity to sell to anyone.

There are two parts to a sale – the first is getting the appointment, the second is everything that happens after that.

The point is if you don’t get the first part right nothing happens!

Brian Tracey talks about identifying what he calls your critical success factors. These are the activities that will determine either success or failure in your chosen field. He suggested there are generally 5-7 of these for most of us. In sales this could include such things as detailed preparation, prospecting, presentation process, following a sales plan to name a few.

People often ask me if I have worked with other businesses the same as theirs and in most cases I am able to answer yes however the point I am quick to make is that the sales “process” is the same for just about every product or service.

You need to:

  • Develop your sales plan
  • Identify the type of people you suspect may have a need for your product or service
  • Do your research
  • Arrange an appointment
  • Present your questions
  • Establish the return on investment
  • Ask for the business
  • Deliver on all promises
  • Keep regular contact
  • Gain referrals
  • Resell to new needs

As you can see this is probably how you develop new business using some or all of these steps if you are a pro-active salesperson.

The key to this however is developing processes around each of these areas so they happen on a consistent basis day in day out, week in week out.

The most successful companies benchmark their sales process to ensure consistent sales growth. The definition of Benchmarking is –

“A systematic process of comparing the activities and work processes of an organization or department with those of outstanding organizations or departments in order to identify ways to improve performance.”

Benchmarking programmes commonly include the following stages – identifying the area requiring benchmarking and the process to use, collecting and analyzing the data, implementing changes and monitoring and reviewing improvements.

From benchmarking, best practices can be developed for each process. This is particularly applicable for the sales process.

Do you have a set process for each of the eleven steps I have identified above?

A quick quiz –

Rate yourself between 1 – 10 for each of the steps above, 1 being no process at all and 10 being absolutely satisfied you have a system to ensure consistent delivery every time.

Your lowest scoring activity will limit and determine your level of success in sales in all the other critical sales activities. So if you don’t have a set process for arranging appointments then you will miss many opportunities. Likewise if you can consistently get the appointment but don’t have a process to advance or close the sale once again missed opportunities.

I will be continuing with this subject in my next article.

Quote of the Week –

“There’s no magic to it, and you don’t need a lot of natural talent. What you need is a disciplined, organized approach to selling. If you have that, you’ll outperform the great salesman who doesn’t understand the process every time. Selling can definitely be learned.”

Steve Bostic

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Ltd.