Today I would like to drive home the importance of having a sales process for maximizing your sales results and increasing sales revenue.
This is the first part, having a process; however the most important step is training the salespeople in this process.
Many companies when looking at their sales teams subscribe to the old syndrome “if it aint broke don’t fix it!”. The sales team are meeting targets, they are maintaining market share – why should we spend money on training?
Well that is a fair question when times are buoyant and customers are spending. The challenge for many salespeople however is they have fallen into the trap of becoming order takers so when things become a bit tighter and the pressure comes on to develop new business there is no process in place for them to follow such as prospecting systems, contacting systems, presentation and follow up systems.
A friend of mind who is what I would consider the consummate sales professional was telling me about a sales manager he once worked for who stated if all he needed from his salespeople was someone to go around the customers and “pick up orders” he would employ Labrador dogs as they were far cheaper and a whole lot cuter!!
Let’s look at contacting systems for a start.
The majority of salespeople suffer from call reluctance because they don’t have a process for getting the appointment.
There are 5 basic objections you will encounter when phoning for a first appointment –
• Too busy
• Already have someone
• Send me some information
• Tell me about it now
• What do you want to see me for
Not knowing what to answer to any of the above prevents salespeople from making the calls and of course they are far too busy calling on existing clients they know and like to follow up new leads anyway.
So the first step in your contacting system is to develop a customized phone script with the answers to the above already worked out.
Next you need to develop a system for gathering the key information about the person/company you are calling. This might include contact details, position, company history, key markets etc.
Next you will need to have a contact management system for managing your appointments. This can be a simple as 3 x 5 cards in a prospect box or as complex as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This will depend on the size of your business and your database.
Then of course you will have a diary system either hard copy or more common now some sort of PDA.
Quote of the Week –
When I prepare for a sales presentation, I try to think like my client and like my competitor. I try to pinpoint every objection that either of them could make to my presentation. I write these objections down, and then I figure out a way to respond to each one in three lines or less. I’ve given these “scripts” to sales reps, who then used them in their presentations. It’s staggering how even the most boring sales rep can become a great salesperson simply by learning to convey a few simple points. If you can move a customer so that he or she can’t argue against your point, then you’ve won.
Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Limited