Many businesses delay sales training as other systems and budgeting demands take priority.
These delays come at a cost as sales are the only function in any business, with the exception of not for profit type businesses that bring in income.
You can have the best products in the world but unless somebody actually makes a sale – nobody in the business will be paid.
The majority, if not all, of the businesses that fail ultimately do so because of the lack of sales.
The lack of a sales process leads to salespeople missing many sales opportunities.
If we look at McDonalds they didn’t achieve consistency by waiting to hire the very best trained people. Rather they created a system through the use of checklists, processes and repetition and then trained people to use it. This approach applies to any business that is striving for consistency in the results they achieve.
The very best salespeople are systematic in their approach to selling while ordinary salespeople are haphazard and tend to “wing it”
How would you be feeling if just before your routine surgery you overheard your surgeon telling the nurse he hadn’t done any prep and was going to wing it this time? Sounds ludicrous however many salespeople know the fundamentals of selling however have no set process they follow.
I like to use the analogy of baking a cake when talking about sales processes.
My wife follows the programme “Chelsea Home Baker” and I happened to watch the finals with her. One thing I noticed was that the contestants all spent time writing out detailed plans and checklists for their baking even down to estimated timelines for each element of the bake.
Most of us have a rudimentary understanding of baking and could probably follow a recipe to produce something edible. If we were to continue practicing eventually we would become very good bakers.
The problem occurs when we’ve been using the same recipe and we become over-confident and eventually stop following the process relying on memory and experience to produce results.
This often leads to ingredients being left out which in turn leads to some pretty inedible results.
The same occurs with many salespeople.
The trouble with leaving major ingredients out of our sales process is missed opportunities leading to inconsistent results.
So what does a sales process consist of?
- Sales Plan – Targets, Time Lines
2. Prospect Plan – Prospect Profiles. Suspect Lists
3. Prospect Research Process – Key Information
4. Sales Interview Process – Questioning Process, Closing Process
5. Follow-up and Contact process – 90 days Maximum
With this in mind, consider your current selling process and answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions to see how your processes stack up –
1 Do you have a system for optimising referrals?
2 Do you have a system for calculating the cost of your prospect’s problem?
3 Do you have a list of the key questions you should ask each time to uncover the prospects needs?
4 Do you have a presentation process?
5 Do you have a follow-up process?
6 Do you have a prospecting system?
7 Do you have a pre-interview planning process?
How did you score?
If there were a number of “No’s” then these are the areas you will need to focus on.
Many see training as a cost to the business where in fact it is an investment.
The key question I always ask companies I am meeting with is – “How many extra sales would each salesperson need to make to recover the investment?”
The answer more often than not is – “one new client”
From Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company, who once was asked by a wholesaler why
he invested so much in training his people, when ultimately they might leave.
His reply was “What if I didn’t train them and they stayed?”
Hayden Burgess is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.