A Basic Selling Process
A Basic Selling Process
Consultative selling, relationship selling, client based selling. There’s a lot of confusion about selling processes these days. Is there any difference? What exactly is each one … what will work in your world, what won’t. Should you invest in sales training and what kind of results should you expect to get?
Companies worldwide spend One Trillion Dollars annually on sales training. That’s $1,000,000,000. Not a typo. Nine zeros! In the US alone it’s $20 billion annually. The average company spends $5,000 on each salesperson.
Now, because we have access to so much information these days you would think that it would be easy to make decisions about something like sales force development. Not so. Most of us suffer from information overload. According to the University of Southern California, we receive five times more information today than we did 20 years ago. That’s 174 newspapers worth of data every day! Now I don’t know about you, but my brain can’t process that much information. I have to chunk it down into bite size pieces that I can chew on.
When it comes to choosing a selling process I ask myself the following questions:
- What do I want the process to accomplish?
- Will the process fit with the values and culture of my organization?
- Is there a better than reasonable chance that my people will adopt and use it?
- What steps do I need to take to make it happen?
I like the following definition of selling by Guru Ganesha Khalsa so I look for a process that will accomplish that.
“Selling is the art of inspiring people to do what’s in their best interest by helping them get in touch with what’s important to them on a personal, emotional level”
To me that is the essence of consultative selling. Whatever process you choose should have the following components:
- Introduction: Explain who you are, why you’re calling and what you hope to accomplish.
- A clear understanding of what will take place during the call. Everyone involved knows what to expect and the salesperson gets permission to ask questions.
- Discovery: This is a process where the salesperson finds out about the company’s specific needs and challenges and whether his products or services might fit. Remember the focus is on the customer. This requires exceptional listening skills. By the way, don’t show up totally ignorant and ask “what do you people do?” Do enough research to know that there could be a fit between what you do and what your prospective customer needs.
- Solution: Do you have a solution for the challenges you uncovered in the discovery step. What can you do to make their situation better?
- Money: An important part of the sales call but only if both parties have agreed that there is a need and a solution.
- The Contract: Buyer and seller agree on what will happen next … deliverables, timing, terms, etc. this should be in writing and in plain language.
Before you invest a single dollar on sales training make sure that you have the right people on your sales team … salespeople who are trainable. You need to be certain that each one will give you a solid return on your investment. In addition you must understand that there are no quick fixes. There must be ongoing reinforcement and coaching from your or your sales management to ensure the process is used.
Oliver Connolly writes a weekly blog on Street Smart Sales Management and coaches a limited number of sales managers. For more information please click on www.clevelstrategic.com