January 13, 2017

If you need a sales process to tell you when to close…

Do you need a sales process to tell you when a sale is ready to close?

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Recently I read an article that was written from the perspective of a sales rep and it stated: “..unless you give me a smart sales process to follow, I can’t tell you when the sale will close.”

Really?

That’s like saying that after 10 years of commuting to the same office for work, you still need to use your nav system to tell you how to get home every day.

If you think that you can passively rely on a sales process to tell you when to close a sale, then you’re looking for help in the wrong place. That complacency will not lead you to success.

Don’t get me wrong. A well defined sales process is an essential element of any effective sales strategy. But, to assume that your buyers are going to map their decision-making process and follow in lockstep with your scripted sales process ignores the most basic truth about sales. People buy from people; not from a process.

Of course, there are products and services that are very transactional and that can be sold in one or two calls. In these cases it is all about the process. The seller and the buyer begin both the sales and buying process knowing that time is of the essence. A decision will quickly be made because the price point and value proposition don’t justify the expenditure of much time on the part of either the buyer or seller.

As the nature of the sale grows in complexity, as the quantity and diversity of interests of the people drawn into the decision making process increases, and, as the duration of the buying process lengthens, it becomes unrealistic to presume that the buyer will follow the yellow brick road that sellers have neatly have laid out for them.

The stages of your process are useful milestones to measure your progress. But even with well defined exit criteria for each stage of your process, a process won’t tell you when the sale will close.

However, your buyers will. Instead of blind reliance on a process, talk to your prospects. Don’t email. Pick up the phone and talk to them. If you ask them the right questions, and, carefully listen to their answers, you might be surprised what you learn.