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In sales, it’s critical to commit to your sales process and see it all the way through to the end.
This commitment will not only increase your effectiveness and efficiency in your everyday sales activities, but also result in the most important part — more sales!
Many sales reps (for the sake of this discussion, we are referring to full-time business development reps) fail because of their lack of commitment to their sales process at one or multiple steps, from prospecting to the actual sale itself and so on.
In fact, many reps fail right from the start, lacking an actual sales process to work from. Typically, 91 percent of reps have absolutely no defined approach to their sales approach and spend each day feeling around in the dark through low-impact sales activities, lack of planning and not performing to their maximum potential, which is highly inefficient and at the same time, highly ineffective.
A few will have a process, but will keep repeating the same methodology that leads them to little or no sales, leading further to overall subpar sales performance. Does this sound like the definition of insanity? That’s because it is!
Fully committing to a sales process actually has several components:
- Developing and implementing a sales methodology.
- Setting goals, both short-term and long-term.
- Consistently executing that process.
- Getting to the decision maker.
- And, getting them to make a commitment to you.
During the sale, there are many ways to veer off the course of the sales process; for example, a rep finally reaching the prospect but not using his or her skills to navigate the sale all the way through to a definitive “yes” or “no.” In hunting, one common example is giving up too early in attempts to reach the prospect.
By not fully committing to the sales process, you could be leaving money on the table. By working an established prospecting plan and knowing where you’re going from the initial prospecting step, all the way through closing the deal, you should begin to see different and more profitable results due to your commitment to your sales process, both in hunting and during the sale itself. This month, we’ll look at what it means to commit to your sales process “During the Hunt.”
Committing to your goals
A great starting place for your newly found commitment to implementing and executing a well-oiled sales process is to establish daily sales metrics for yourself and, of course, long-term goals such as how much sales volume you want to bring in. This includes the number of sales activities you will make today in order to reach a decision maker so you can begin the actual sale itself.
This daily commitment can be particularly challenging, as we get pulled into several directions, become distracted by other (usually less important) tasks or might be experiencing days where banging your head into a wall sounds more enticing than calling or seeing a prospect.
But, by committing to all your sales activity each day, you’ll be pushing more activity into your sales funnel. And what happens at the other end of the funnel? More activity equals more sales.
To further ensure your new dedication to performing your daily sales activities is carried out, think about when you “peak” during your day. This will be the time period when you are at peak performance, meaning you have the most energy and focus during your day — this is the time you should be feeling the mental mindset of “game on,” and you can conquer tasks that are particularly difficult or undesirable.
Save your most challenging or highly focused sales activities for your peak time. Don’t particularly enjoy making telephone calls? Make the calls during your peak time — they will become that much easier to do given the right energy and frame of mind. Save the easier tasks, such as database management and sending e-mails for the times when you know you’ll feel more sluggish or don’t require a higher level of energy and concentration.
During the hunt, you must also make sure you are reaching out to your prospect on a regular, frequent basis. If you are going to call them once a week, stick to that frequency and set your tasks to reach out to that prospect in your calendar. If you are an owner or have to wear another hat in the organization, finding and setting aside time consistently every day is difficult. But, devoting even one or two mornings a week where your sole focus is sales can start to yield more favorable results.
Committing to your sales activity metrics every day in order to keep your commitment to your overall sales process is critical to keeping a healthy sales pipeline full of activity and the sales momentum charging forward.
Many times, you won’t be able to make it to the decision maker. You call, you visit, you send e-mails, drop candy, but never get a response from them. You’ve done your part in committing to your sales process and contacted them on a regular basis.
Their response to you? Silence. Crickets chirping. A mental image of a tumbleweed blowing down a dusty road starts to form in your mind. Now what? There are a couple of ways to approach this.
The first choice is to throw up your hands and say, “Well, that was a waste of time.” Many reps go this route, essentially giving up too quickly on their first go-around, and usually on the first sales “touch” to that prospect, let alone multiple touches. Is giving up this easy committing to your sales process of seeing it through all the way to the end?
Remember, you have not reached a decision maker, and you have definitely not received a definitive answer one way or the other of whether they will use your services or not. You still have work to do with your efforts to fully committing to your sales process.
An important understanding of your prospecting activities is not to see them as individual telephone calls, e-mails, etc., but to see them as a sequence of activities that builds one upon the other, letting the target know that your attention is on them, that you are pursuing them and, if you are skillful, that you are offering solutions to problems that they have right now.
Here’s choice number two in the situation of “crickets chirping” after reaching out to a prospect. Instead of giving up, you should continue to pursue the lead until you get the clear message that they don’t want to talk to you, such as they pick up the phone and say, “Stop calling or I’m calling the FBI!” or keep going with your sequence until you get in front of them and put them through your entire sales process all the way to the end, yes or no.
Now, this might not apply to each and every lead. How much sales activity and energy you continue to put into place on a particular prospect will depend on a number of things (how you qualify them) and their importance in your sales funnel.
Remember, just because you feel like your prospecting attempts are going into the netherworld of e-mail inboxes and voicemail doesn’t mean the hunt is over. People are busy! And, they are getting bombarded by thousands of messages and multiple people each day. Stay true to your process, and don’t give up after your first attempts.
So, what if you do end up reaching the decision maker? That’s a topic we will cover in the next article.
Iris Kelley is a sales and marketing consultant and the director of marketing for Business Development Associates Inc. Kelley has more than 15 years of experience in the sales and marketing field in several industries, with a specialization in helping restorers to predictably grow their businesses through effective strategies, tactics and implementation. She has a MBA with a concentration in marketing from the University of New Mexico and is a certified WRT. You can reach her at (847) 386-6556 or Iris@GoBDA.com. You can also visit www.GoBDA.com for more information.