Success in sales is not about pressure, it’s about performance. Top performance comes from executing a structured not scripted, and planned not canned, effective, efficient, engaging, endearing, educational and empowering process CONSISTENTLY. If a salesperson feels pressure on a sales call, they are either working too hard and/or working on the wrong end of the problem.
“Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the heck you are doing.” ~ Chuck Noll- Former Head Coach & winner of 4 Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers
Sales is not a numbers game. More leads do not necessarily yield more sales. Typically, closing ratios and average sales go down when a salesperson runs more leads. Thinking sales is a numbers game results in wasted opportunities, poor customer experiences and bad results.
Good results come from executing a process consistently that is designed to yield a desirable result more often than not.
Yes, the customer is in complete control of whether a conversation concludes with them buying. However, a salesperson can have some influence in the decision-making process with their behavior and information shared during their time with the customer. Salespeople can only manage that which they can control, and they cannot control when or if a customer buys. That’s a matter of freewill and choice.
Salespeople can manage and control their behavior, information and timing of sharing it, and the experience the customer realizes through a standardized and systematic process – A process that is designed to keep the salesperson in control and guide the customer through a proper buying process, always knowing what happens next and when, and yields success more often than not.
If a salesperson gives up their personal power and caves in on their fundamental obligation and fiduciary responsibility to properly guide a customer to make a good buying decision or try to cast blame for your lack of execution and say that the problem with the customer, the competition, the marketing, prices, weather, etc. – THOSE THOUGHTS ARE THE PROBLEM!
Nothing happens on a sales call that salespeople should not expect. There are no unforeseen pitfalls or surprises. We all get what we tolerate and allow to happen. Salespeople should be prepared for everything, because they will encounter it at some point in their career.
Unfortunately, most salespeople DO NOT have a process they execute consistently, they tend to “wing it”. The challenge is that most customers have a buying process and system of deferring salespeople which is more effective than the salesperson with no process or a poorly executed one.
- 98% of salespeople do not follow a consistent sales process
- 95% of customers say salespeople talk too much
- 93% of salespeople volunteer a price decrease without being asked
- 87% of customer inquiries are never followed up or not followed up appropriately or adequately
- 82% of salespeople cannot differentiate themselves from their competitors
“You have a 92% chance of making a sale with a linked, integrated selling system – without one it drops to less than 42%.” Bill Brooks, CEO The Brooks Group
The value of using a defined process allows us to:
- Have a common framework for planning, executing, and reviewing activities and results. Like NASA, the military or a chef, the process is a standard operating procedure or recipe for success that is universal, teachable and coachable.
- Communicate and strategize about sales opportunities with salespeople and company leadership using a common language.
- Make fewer mistakes since everyone knows the standard operating procedure and actions that must be taken. This reduces the chance of important steps being forgotten when a salesperson encounters a “curveball”.
- Shorten the buying cycle as salespeople can work through the steps of a pre-planned process much faster than just winging it, making it up as they go along, or allowing the customer to dictate the process – the number one mistake most salespeople make.
- Shorten the ramp up time for new salespeople who need to learn how to engage customers in the market and industry.
- Quickly diagnose and fix problems and coach individual sales performance.
- Ultimately, sales success is not about being perfect or how far from perfect one strays dictating success. Just as success in golf is not about hitting perfect shots all the time. Sales success comes from having a defined process and executing it consistently with as few mistakes as possible and knowing how to get out of trouble or correct a mistake when they occur.
There are no perfect scripts, one-liners, glib presentations, smart phrases, clever closes that work all the time. They are canned routines of traditional selling practices that are archaic, antiquated, predictable, manipulative, and weak shtick for weak salespeople. Therefore, there are no perfect sales calls.
By executing a process consistently, salespeople invite their customer to learn more and discover for themselves how to make an informed buying decision. The salesperson’s job is to provide good information at the right time to the right people, so they can make a choice that makes them happy. The process engages, educates and empowers customers to buy. If a salesperson executes the process consistently, customers will discover they will be best served by the company and solution offered.
Now that you understand the importance of having a process, we will take deeper dive into the process in a future article.
As the Philadelphia 76ers’all-star center Joel Embiid says: “Trust the process”.