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!

 

 

Leaders: You may be doing it wrong.

Invest your time like you would invest your money- In the places you will get the best return.

I want great returns on my investments. I can get that in a couple different ways:

First, I’d look for stocks that have a good rate of return. Steady performers that have good growth and a solid balance sheet. My buy in cost will be higher here, but the return will be steady and large.

Next, I’d scout for the next big performer. I’d look in the middle of the pack for companies that have a great profile, good potential, and require a moderate investment. I’d love to discover the next Amazon, Apple, or Keurig and watch it grow.

Last, once in a great while, under the right circumstances, I may throw a few dollars at some penny stocks and hope for the best, but I’m certainly not going to build a portfolio around them. I also want to be well aware of declining stocks, sucker bets, poorly run operations and shady companies that are looking to consume my resources and sap my positive outlook.

[bctt tweet=”Invest your time like you invest your money- In the places you will get the best return. “]

Leaders, how are you investing your time?

Are you spending all your time with penny stocks? I hope not, but the reality is that many are. Sadly, many leaders feel they must fix what is broken and in doing so, they neglect the best performers.

We wouldn’t invest in a plummeting stock, right? But we will give up an entire Tuesday to spend with Bill, who hasn’t hit his number in three consecutive periods. Meanwhile, Tracy, one of our President’s Club winners for the last three years is left alone. (‘Surely, she’ll call if she needs something’.) Absurd.

Your time is the equivalent of your investment dollars. You only have so much to invest. It is your job to maximize the return. You owe it yourself, your company, and your people to make wise, well thought out decisions about how you will invest.

Investing in your high performers costs more. You have to prepare better, you will need to clear bigger obstacles, and you will have to work really hard to get them to higher growth numbers. At this level, even a modest return is huge dollars. They also constantly perform, year after year after year. 20-40% of your investment should be made here.

Your mid level people should be mined for gems. Make consistent investments in this pool and you will not only find your next star, you will likely see great returns. Overall, we are in it for the long game, but stay aware of market trends that may cause this group to fluctuate-  you may see something that is worth heavy investment for a large, quick return or you may find yourself in a position to offload some deadweight before it drags your portfolio down. You will spend the majority of time managing this group so you can stay nimble, informed, and can make needed adjustments. Plan on dedicating 40-50% or your investable time here.

The remainder is yours to spend as you see fit. Take some risk, invest in a penny stock here and there if you like. There’s no harm in taking chances provided you aren’t betting the farm. Whatever you do, stop making investment in those who are showing a consistent, downward trend. Know when to call it a loss. Pay the brokerage fees and sell them off. Your team will thank you.

Go look at your calendar. Look at how you’ve allocated your time this week and next. Make sure you are investing your time like you’d invest your money. Leave the penny stocks for newer investors. You go make wise, thoughtful leadership decisions about your time that will get great returns that will provide for a comfortable retirement.

Let me know if I can help.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Skills Your Next Salesperson Must Have

People often ask, “What are the things you look for when hiring the best salespeople?”

That answer has changed over the years. Relying on what made people successful a decade ago won’t cut it today. Things have changed.

Technology, availability of information and our ability to communicate ideas in an instant has accelerated the rate of change in the workplace. As a result, skills that used to be advantageous are becoming all but imperative. To be successful in this fast-paced business environment curiosity, creativity, teamwork, and flexibility now stand out as hallmarks of effective salespeople.

  1. Curiosity: Salespeople must be inquisitive asking ‘why’ and exploring the origin of projects, objectives and resources so they can get to buying motives quickly. Failure to do so can result in lost time, missed deadlines and tasks. Today’s salespeople have to use curiosity to help them develop empathy, putting themselves in the buyer’s shoes, so they can truly understand the buyers position and the impact of the sale they are trying to make.
  2. Creativity: Buyers have become very well informed. The information at their disposal is vast, allowing them to make decisions at a very rapid pace. If a salesperson is going to get their attention, they have to be creative. It seems that much of what we need to know has been reduced to a tweet, a snapchat, or a meme that we scroll through rapidly. Buyers have no patience for lengthy emails or requests for hours of their time. Creativity can open many doors and goes a long way in advancing or closing the sale.
  3. Teamwork:  The share economy has created groups and teams for everything. People buy and sell in groups. They share knowledge, insights, roles, and data. These challenges put salespeople in a situation where in order to be successful one has to learn to work both independently to uphold individual responsibility but also must get results through or with others. The Lone Wolf is no more.
  4. Flexibility:  Salespeople must be willing to pivot quickly. Tasks and projects can end and be spun up in an instant. If a salesperson is to succeed they must be mobile and willing to flex quickly. Failure to do so can make them look unproductive or leave them feeling frustrated in their role. Win fast, lose fast.

Bringing all of these skills together creates a salesperson that can understand why a target is set, can use people and resources to hit the target, and then can review the best parts of the work to make improvements and adjustments so the work continues to get better. Hire for these skills and the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales team will go up. You will see better results.

Speaking of getting better- Skill number 5 is Continuous Improvement. Many salespeople will have read this article because of the title. They will have clicked on the article wanting to know if they possessed the skills of the best salespeople, wanting to compare themselves to what was written, to see whether they measured up. Those salespeople are continuously striving to improve themselves by staying informed, honing their craft, and learning how to be more effective and efficient. You want those people on your team.

 

Do you have other skills you hire for? Drop me a note or comment with the critical skills you think salespeople must have. I’d love to hear about it.

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!