There has been lots of talk from me and other sales consulting professionals about incorporating a process when it comes to selling. If you look at your business, I am sure there are processes you engage in and would never under any circumstances change those processes. Why do we believe that in sales its ok not to have one. Because it’s a soft skill we feel that if we hire the right people that have been successful in the past and just let them “do what they do” we will be successful in sales. How’s that workin’ for ya?
Lack of a sales process means that there is no real plan when approaching, communicating, or working with a potential client. A great number of sales people feel that having a process is not necessary. They assume that their personality and getting the prospect to like them is all that it will take to close the sale. Years ago that may have been true. But today, we are in a much more sophisticated and fast paced sales environment. Yes, relationship building is an essential part of getting and closing business, but there is much more involved than just “warm and fuzzies.”
You should understand and use a process when selling. A process will not only help you close more business, but better, more appropriate business. Selling cycles can be long because we often allow them to be. Having a process for doing business is taking control of the business, not the prospect dictating how it will work. The system is really a better, up front and honest communication process. There are typically steps involved in this process. The steps are merely guidelines for you to inject your own personality and style.
Obviously referrals are the best way to get business. Most people approach referrals as a reactive condition. In other words, if it happens, they follow up on it. It is important to establish a process for getting more referrals proactively, so you can count on them as a part of your overall strategy.
A sales process is important to establish because it allows you to be in control, you can set realistic goals and achieve them, and you always know what’s next in the process when you’re with a prospect.
A process consists of things like getting past the gate keeper, turning introductions into appointments, consistently getting to the “real issue,” and having a clear next step for the salesperson and prospect. If your company is unable to utilize a sales process, your team will normally fall into the “let me think it over” cycle. More than likely, when a prospect says they want to “think it over,” your sales team will feel compelled to give some free consulting. Often organizations salespeople will spend an inordinate amount of time putting together elaborate proposals or presentations that will not result in sales. This is also what happens when they have lots in their sales funnel but very little actually closes and results in a sale.