If you want to ramp up your sales numbers for this quarter or the entire year, you might try focusing on being more effective, rather than simply focusing on the process.
It’s ironic but true that most of the training that has been delivered over the past 30 years has focused on defining the sales process rather than how to execute more effectively. While I agree than having a standard sales process in place can be a good thing, if you look around virtually any sales team in any company you will find that some salespeople are killing it while others continue to struggle, using the same exact sales process. Why does this phenomenon occur? Bottom line: It’s because the sales process in and of itself is not the differentiator.
Can we agree that most of your competitors have a sales process in place, too, and it’s probably one that is very similar to yours’? Hence, just defining the steps of the process doesn’t give your sales team any advantage. For example, everyone knows that Step #1 in the process is to identify new opportunities. The challenge salespeople now face on a daily basis is “How” to execute more effectively, given that a plethora of other salespeople are calling the same accounts, with the same objective of penetrating new business.
What’s Step #2 in the process—to qualify or uncover needs? Have you noticed that prospective customers are reticent to give out information to salespeople they don’t yet know or trust? How is a salesperson supposed to execute effectively when customers aren’t open to sharing information with a salesperson they don’t yet know or trust?
Follow the process! What process? Just identifying the steps of a formalized sales process doesn’t ensure your success. Perhaps this is why when I first come into a client account some salespeople are struggling, while others are knocking it out of the park; calling the same types of accounts, and the same types of people.
Execution has more to do with skills development than simply beating your head against the wall following some old-school sales process. Today, one of the major differences is dealing with customer skepticism. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. Customers are more standoffish toward salespeople than ever before. Therefore, the ability to cause prospective customers to “want to” share information with a salesperson they don’t know or trust has become quite a challenge.
While most process models are built on the premise that customers already want to share, Question Based Selling takes the opposite view—that you must first pique the prospect’s interest and earn credibility in order to get prospects to open up. How exactly do you do that? That’s where the odyssey begins—toward you becoming a student of the question-based sale.