I did a talk on sales structure and sales process recently – and what happened 2 weeks later really made me stop and think.
The primary point being that most people have neither structure nor process and rely on the ‘wing it, hope and pray’ approach to selling. Which, in their defence, is probably the most popular strategy in use by UK small business owners today. It’s not great at delivering results but it has the benefit of being ‘comfortable’ and low stress.
I took it that everyone who attended the talk must have felt they had something they wanted to learn about sales, so I was hopeful about where they might all take the knowledge they acquired. To help them, all the participants had been given a useful workbook that directly related to my talk. It would allow them to work through the content in the intervening weeks, helping them to review their approach, challenge their current thinking, and identify key gaps in their current process. Easy peasy!
So, fast forward two weeks to when I was asked to go back and deliver a ‘how are you getting on?’ follow-up session.
This proved to be VERY interesting…
One lady had made great progress. In fact, she had totally reconstructed her sales process, making it much more customer-centric, focusing on their issues and how she could solve them. She was much firmer on her pricing and now didn’t automatically go into ‘discount mode’.
And she was getting results – in less than two weeks from hearing my talk!
It was brilliant listening to her enthuse about how different her sales conversations now felt – and how she was responding to them very differently. She was valuing herself more during the sales process and was totally focused on the value she could bring to the customer. At the right price.
Understandably, she left with a bottle of champagne!
Great progress – but sidestepping the ‘uncomfortable’
Another lady had made changes to her approach but with mixed results. Essentially, she was still struggling with ‘think it over’ syndrome and, on closer analysis, it became clear that – through fear – she was totally missing out the ‘budget’ and ‘commitment’ step.
She just wasn’t qualifying what they might be prepared to spend to fix their issues and, as a result, was unable to demonstrate back to the customer the value of what she could bring in the context of their ‘pain’.
It’s an understandable omission, as we mostly all struggle ‘talking money’ – all sorts of ‘scripts’ that run in our heads about it being ‘difficult’, ‘rude’ or ‘uncomfortable’. To fix this, she simply has to face her fears on the money front by asking questions during the sales conversation and she’ll soon be getting buy in to spending the right amount to solve a key problem IN THE MOMENT, and not battling via email tennis for many weeks into the future.
At least by trying something new she had narrowed down her ‘selling issues’. It should now be easy for her to make solid progress moving forward – as she gets more experience with ‘talking money’, the better she’ll get at it.
The rest …
But most troubling of all was that it was clear that the majority of people in the room simply had done nothing. ZILCH – or close to zilch – towards reflecting on how they might structure a more powerful sales process.
Despite having a step-by-step workbook to follow, most had done nothing to understand their client’s pain more; or finding ways to discuss the client’s budget and commitment BEFORE pitching what they did; or resolving whatever else was missing from their sales process.
They’d come to the session because they wanted different results but had done nothing to achieve them. I guess hoping that things might improve by a sort of training osmosis rather than by dedicated application!
There was the usual array of ‘my industry doesn’t work like that’ and ‘it won’t work for me’ type excuses from some people. But NO-ONE’S business is different and it WILL work for them – IF they gave it a chance.
It takes application and effort, trial and error to get different results and most people just don’t – or won’t – do the necessary work. Which is why my mantra is … ‘it not WHAT you learn that matters – only what you DO with what you learn’.
So, are you an excuse merchant or a grafter? Can you be relied upon to step out of your comfort zone to learn new skills, apply your knowledge and challenge yourself to achieve more of what you want?
Because, if you fall into the latter category and you’d like someone to challenge you more to achieve your potential, then we need to talk.
Just click the link here to instantly book your call with me>>