What Works Best For Your Company?
Experience is a wonderful teacher, but only if you pay attention and draw the right lessons from your experience. It pays to document certain portions of your company’s sales process—and the most successful practices that you and your fellow salespeople have found for handling common challenges. Salespeople who do this maximize the use of their time, shorten sell cycles, make more sales, and cash bigger paychecks.
To learn from what works, document what works.
What parts of your sales process should you document?
First, identify the milestones in your sales cycle. What are the necessary steps that lead from your initial contact with a prospect to a completed sale? What commitment must you gain from the customer at each milestone that will lead to the next step? For example, does your sales cycle usually require an initial meeting with several decision makers followed by another meeting at which you present a formal proposal? Both of those meetings are milestones.
Write down your 10 strongest sales features—the features of your products or services that have the strongest appeal to most customers. Include a benefits statement for each feature. Remember that benefits usually have dollar signs attached.
Next, write down the expected customer needs associated with those 10 features and benefits. Customers will only buy if a benefit represents a solution to a perceived need. So what needs must you look for? Write some open-ended questions that help you draw out needs for which your 10 strongest features offer solutions.
Write the best questions that you can use to determine what your sales strategy must be for a particular client. Your sales strategy is determined by the competition you face, the buyer’s time frame, and the buying influences that will play a role in the sale. What are the best questions with which to draw out information about those factors?
Document a crisp (30-second) and powerful company story that you can tell in all first-call selling situations.
Ask your peers about each of these topics, and compare their approaches with yours. If somebody else has a great question for drawing out needs, for example, by all means write it down and use it. Create reminder lists for yourself, and review them before every sales call. Then you can stop making the same expensive mistakes.
In The Field:
“Our region has jumped to No. 1 in the country, ” says Leif Rowles, regional manager for Sears Commercial Division. Rowles moved his region from the middle of the pack to the top in sales while boosting profits by a whopping 111 percent with Action Selling Sales Training. His people learned and practiced “The Process” until it became part of their culture.
“Now we have a common sales language we can use to strategize before and after sales calls. We are a stronger team and better able to coach one another, ” Rowles says. Action Selling sales training programs define the most effective practices for conducting the entire sales process. Then it provides a template to document exactly what the best salespeople do to gain business.
When you have a system that clearly shows everyone what the Best Practices are, you can achieve great gains in performance and productivity. Rowles puts it simply: “Action Selling is the reason we are closing more customers. ”
Duane Sparks is chairman and founder of The Sales Board, a Minneapolis-based sales training company that has trained and certified more than 200,000 salespeople in the system and skills of Action Selling. He has personally facilitated more than 300 Action Selling training sessions.
In a 30-year career as a salesperson and sales manager, Duane has sold products ranging from office equipment to insurance. He was the top salesperson at every company he ever worked for. He developed Action Selling Sales Training while owner of one of the largest computer marketers in the United States. Even in the roaring computer business of the 1980's, his company grew six times faster than the industry norm, differentiating itself not by the products offered but by the way it sold them. Duane founded The Sales Board in 1990 to teach the skills of Action Selling to others.
Contact The Sales Board for more sales information or sales training that's been documented and research-proven to help you sell more! 1-800-232-3485