Sales Leaders- Increase Sales By Focusing On Buying, Not Selling.

Sales Leaders,

You have done an amazing job of crafting your company’s sales process. You have trained your sales force, set up your support system, and now have an army of salespeople ready to hit the market. Well done!

Here is the problem: Your prospects have not agreed to adhere to your sales process.  Frankly, they could care less about your sales process. They are focused on their business.

Your salespeople have not been coached on how to handle this. They are going to start exactly where you showed them- at the start of the selling process. They will assume the prospects are on the same schedule you are. The fact is, they are not. They are on their own schedule and it has nothing to do with you.

The reason for this disconnect is that there is a Buying Process. The good news is that the buying process is predictable and with a little work, it is pretty easy to align your selling process. The bad news is, if you haven’t taught your sales team the buying process they are wasting time and feeling less effective than they should.

[bctt tweet=”Even the best sales process pushed by the best salesperson will fall flat if it isn’t aligned to the customer’s Buying Process.”]

Lets work on fixing that, here’s how:

Your selling process likely looks something like this:Picture1

If not, call me. I can help. If it does, awesome! Let’s take a look at the Buying Process:

Buying cycle

This is a sample. Your prospect may go through slightly different steps. I assure you though, there is a clear Buying Process. Your prospects have become smarter and more self-sufficient. They will have started the Buying Process with or without you. Their own industry knowledge and  internet research has made it easy for them to get through the first few steps of the Buying Process on their own. That leaves us with three options:

  1. Meet them where they are. Assume you are coming in at Evaluate Proposal. Have your value prop ready, you’ll need it. Let your prospect know that you assume they’ve done research and will be providing them with information to make the decisions easier.
  2. Play catch up. Do some light discovery to find out where their heads are at. Be warned, if you come in at this stage and don’t acknowledge the Buying Process, your customer will assume you are a vendor, not a partner. “What’s your price?” will be one of the first questions your sales team gets. This is the customers attempt to bring you up to where they are in the Buying Process.
  3. Align you website and marketing to meet their needs in the first few steps of the Buying Process. Hand them the information they need to make comparisons. Make sure your marketing materials and website are about them and what they are going through, not just the stuff you offer. That will set you apart.

Anticipating the steps of the Buying Buying Process will help your salespeople match your prospects step for step. Not only will your prospect believe that you have anticipated their actions, they will appreciate how well your sales teams relate to their current state. There’s huge value in that. They will pay you extra dollars for it. Aligning yourself to the Buying Process is a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, so few salespeople are wired to think that way.

Let’s fix this disconnect right now! I’ll get you started and the good news is you already know how to do it and it won’t cost you a dime.

First, map out your customers Buying Process just like you did the sales cycle. It’s ok to just ask your customers. At this stage it’s also ok to make some educated guesses. You’ll have to take a pass at defining each step of the process.

Next, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask “What do they need in order to move the decision forward?” at this stage?

Then, combine the two processes. Lay the customer’s Buying Process on top of your selling process. It should look like this:

COmbo cycle

Last, coach your salespeople. Once you’ve developed a map for your organization, coach your salespeople on how to safely merge into the Buying Process while it is in motion. Prospect already at decision-making? Great! Help them by providing not only your info, but also your competitors. Are they already meeting with your competitors? No problem, have your value prop ready and show them how you stand out. Better yet, use this Buying Process to determine an optimum start time to begin marketing to them. Get a jump on the competition by being the first person to remind of their own upcoming decisions. Talk about setting yourself apart, holy cow! Knowing your prospect’s business as well as they do will create value and turn them into customers for life.

The reality is that too many sales processes are developed from the inside out. They rarely consider the prospect’s Buying Process. This is a miss. Customers and prospects buy when they are ready based on their own task and personal motives. We may have some influence over it, but we do not control it. Even the best sales process pushed by the best salesperson will fall flat if it isn’t aligned to the customer Buying Process.

The most effective thing you can do is help your prospect through the Buying Process and make their decisions as easy as possible. Align your sales process to that and now you have momentum that no competitor can touch.

Sales Leaders- put the finishing touches on your selling process by identifying and coaching to your prospect’s Buying Process. Make your salespeople more effective by making buying easy.

Id love to hear your thoughts on this as you begin to outline your customer’s Buying Process. Keep me posted!

If you’d like to read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

 

 

Don’t Pee In The (Prospect) Pool…

Seriously, it’s just bad etiquette.

Do you remember what age you were when you learned this life lesson? I was pretty young. The admonition was clear- “Don’t pee in the pool. If you do, you won’t be invited back.” My mom would call me out of the pool every so often and make me ‘try’ to go. Most of the time it was under great protest. Sometimes I was being stubborn, sometimes I was just having fun, often I was just comfortable and didn’t want to get out of the water.

My mom did that because it was the right thing to do. It was simply good etiquette; it kept the pool clean and it ensured a good experience for everyone; also, it was respectful to our host.

Sales Leaders: When was the last time you pulled your teams out of the pool to practice their craft? Do you have dedicated time set aside for role-play, skill coaching sessions, and additional training? Do you have a safe environment where your teams can practice new product or service launches and get feedback prior to engaging with real prospects? Do you have a process where new hires can prove themselves before they go out into the marketplace?

If you don’t periodically drag them out of the pool and make them ‘try’, they are likely peeing in the prospect pool. Not good. It’s bad form. We don’t get invited back when prospects figure out what we’ve done. Do you want to take that kind of risk?

Salespeople: I know you hate role-playing. I realize that it can feel intimidating, embarrassing, and sometimes a bit silly. Here’s the thing though- even a little bit of practice breeds huge confidence. When was the last time you got feedback on your performance from a peer or leader, someone who knows what you are supposed to be saying? When was the last time you recorded yourself and watched your delivery?

You might have yourself convinced that no one will know if you slip up, but the reality is that people do know. Your prospect knows when you are prepared, confident, and knowledgable. They also know when you are not. Every time you go out there unprepared or underprepared you are peeing in the prospect pool. Not good. It’s bad form. Maybe they won’t notice, but if they do, you’ll never be invited back. Do you want to take that kind of risk?

[bctt tweet=”Practicing your pitch in the field is like peeing in the prospect pool. Not Cool!”]

The point is that we need come out of the pool periodically to freshen up. Both sales leaders and salespeople need to set aside dedicated time to honing the craft of sales. Create a safe environment, outside the prospect pool, where we can practice, experiment, and learn. Set aside some time where we can build confidence, refine our pitch, and try out some new things that may make us more effective. Build an environment where it is ok to make mistakes and not fear judgement.  Stop practicing in front of the prospect. Making sure you are prepared, confident and knowledgeable is just good etiquette. It creates a good experience, and it is respectful to your host.

Take a minute, right now, and add some time to your calendar for skills practice. Commit to not peeing in your prospect pool. One or two hours a month will make a world of difference.

Let me know how it goes.

 

If you’d like to read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!