Sales Process Q&A – Part One of Three
Last night, I worked on a Q&A form for a trade pub article on sales process. Since I adhere to the marketer code of "create once and reuse many times," here are my answers in this first entry of a new three-part series.
Q: What is the first step to developing an efficient sales process?
A: New reps, or those wanting to reinvigorate their careers, should do some training. My friend Tom Niesen, CEO and founder of Dallas-based sales training organization Acuity Systems, has lots of experience training sales reps in both the commercial printing and healthcare industries. (I have no incentive to refer business to Acuity.) There are many other fabulous options as well.
For those with smaller budgets, I wrote a workbook exactly for this purpose, "Playbook for Selling Success," published by PIA Press in 2009. There are other options as well, but none as good. (Yep, I have an incentive for you to buy this book.)
Q: What is the biggest mistake salespeople make in regard to their sales process? For example, is there something that they fail to do, like cut out extra steps or analyze their failures/successes?
A: Nervous Nellie types won’t schedule sales calls without overdoing the research. Kicking them out of the house is hard! Although it’s out of fashion to say this, I’m going to unapologetically state that too few sales calls will sink your sales results. Before you start sending me hate mail, let me also say that equally damaging are the loose cannon types that over-schedule and show up unprepared for sales calls.
Time is too valuable to waste. If you don’t do people the courtesy of researching their business before walking in the door, they should throw you out!
Q: How often do you evaluate — and tweak — your sales process? Do you like to begin and/or end each day by performing a certain task?
A: Everyone’s different. I like starting my day by catching up on the news and being familiar with what’s happening in my business community. It’s important to know what’s going on in the world so you’re not a one-trick selling pony. That’s too boring. Humans are at the top of the food chain because we out-adapted everything else in the past 100,000 years. What’s another word for adapt? How about tweak?
The bottom line: always tweak and improve.
Q: How can a salesperson make sure the lines of communication are open between him/herself, staff and clients?
A: This is easy. Practice a modified form of the golden rule. Communicate with others the way they want, not the way you want. At your first meeting, find out how your prospect prefers to be contacted — email, text, phone, online meeting, breakfast meeting, Slack, or some other way — and do it.
Word to the wise, no matter what they say, always ask for permission to birddog them if necessary.
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Join me next week as I continue with part two of this three-part series
Repetitive non-sequitur: Meet in Düsseldorf?
Let me repeat the same offer I’ve made at the end of my last few blog posts. If you want to put sales growth, relevant content marketing and lead generation on your drupa dance card, contact me. I’ll be in Düsseldorf June 3-6. Reference "Christmas in June," and the first Altbier’s on me.