Sales systems can be like the latest fad diet.
And, often, just as ineffective.
Just like dieters who jump from one new exotic diet plan to the next in the hope that the new one will produce better results, so too are sales managers guilty of skipping from one new sales system or methodology to another, hoping to find some magical solution to their team’s sub-par sales performance.
Ultimately, with dieting, the best results are found with the people who consistently focus on the basics: consume fewer calories than the number of calories you burn through exercise.
This value of this common sense prescription is that it is straightforward and simple. It doesn’t rely on rigid eating schedules, complex food preparations, expensive prepared diet meals, or other stratagems. All it requires is a little will power and determination (and simple math skills). Fortunately, if you’re serious about losing and keeping weight off, those factors are under your direct control.
Similarly, many sales systems are rigid, complex, costly to implement and complicated to maintain. Their primary deficiencies are often that they focus on a process to the exclusion of the fundamental, interpersonal, sales skills that are under the individual salesperson’s direct control.
Which is not to say that you shouldn’t employ a sales system. But, no matter which sales system you, or your company, employ, you’ll amp up your personal productivity if you build your individual selling process on a foundation of basic, common sense sales steps that you can execute to help your prospects make fast, favorable decisions.
1. Make every sales touch count
Maximize the impact of every sales interaction with a Value Plan. Before every sales touch with a prospect create a value plan with two elements. The first is a goal that is defined in terms of the value that you will deliver to the prospect during that interaction. And, the second is an outcome defined in terms of the steps the prospect will commit to take as a result of receiving that value. Don’t waste the prospect’s time, or yours, with sales touches that deliver no value.
2. Quickly follow up sales leads
There is no easier way to grow sales than to immediately follow-up all of your true sales leads (meaning someone that reached out and requested to talk to a salesperson). Just like dieting, the math is simple. Let’s assume that your conversion rate of leads into orders is 2%. And let’s also assume that you only follow up 50% of your sales leads (industry research estimates that more than 50% of all sales leads are never followed up). If you keep your conversion rate at 2% but follow-up 100% of your sales leads, what will happen to your sales?
3. Be Absolutely Responsive
Your timeframe for responding to prospects and customers should be immediate. Potential buyers usually will have invested their own time to educate themselves about your product or service before they interact with you for the first time. When they do engage with you, their need for information, by definition, is urgent. Research shows that the first seller with the answers substantially increases their chances of winning the order.
4. Optimize Your Sales Time
As a salesperson, your most valuable asset is your sales time. The easiest way to gain more sales time is to stop wasting it on potential prospects who are not a good fit for your product or services. Most importantly, don’t invest your sales time in poorly qualified prospects just to add another name to your pipeline. Think instead about proactively disqualifying the marginal prospects who distract your focus from the higher value prospects that are more likely to give you an order.
Apply these basic, straightforward, simple and common sense steps to strengthen your sales performance; no matter what sales system you use.