Is your sales more like Hockey or Ballet?
Hockey is a great game, but too many businesses treat sales as though they were the puck in a hockey game. Drop it on the ice and all hell breaks loose. Every play is a unique and totally random experience. Sales must be more akin to ballet than hockey. Each step of a sales interaction should be choreographed, practiced and executed within the guidelines of a process. A process with a beginning, middle and an end. There are many modern sales processes you can choose from but the essential point is to have a process that suits your business needs. At PBC, we coach and use the 'Client Builder Sales & Marketing' process. We believe it's the best. It is certainly a proven, practical system and that's why we recommend our Client Builder Academy.
The process is based on 12 innovative and intriguing principles that will completely transform the way you look at your sales system. Here is a summary of those 12 Principles:
#1 Believe in what you do: Only conmen sell stuff they don't believe in. New businesses have a honeymoon period where everything is fresh and sales flourish, because customers receive the belief of the sales people that the product will more than meet their needs. When things get jaded and you don't have the conviction that your business will meet customer needs any better than the competition, then something has to change to recapture that belief in your products.
#2 Keep your Focus on your prospects at all times: If you have a sales incentive or bonus program to move old inventory then you might be guilty of distracting your sales team from the one thing that matters in sales, the needs of your potential customers. As human beings we can only really focus on one thing at a time. For successful sales this has to be the prospect in front of them or on the phone. If your sales system kicks off with a presentation all about you, your products and your company, then your sales are already out of focus.
#3 The Better you are at prospecting; the better you'll be at selling: No matter how good today's sales are, you need to be looking for tomorrows'. With a steady supply of likely prospects you will not be dependent on any single sale and you will not choke when game time comes. Prospecting is all about listening with empathy to really understand the emotional needs of the potential client.
#4 Seek to be trusted, instead of being liked: People will buy from you, only if they trust you, when you commit to meeting their needs and solving their problems. Trust is built in any relationship by being SMART! 'S' stands for share your thoughts feelings and rationale, 'M' is make promises you can keep, 'A' is ask questions rather than persuade, 'R' is request feedback and 'T' is test your assumptions.
#5 Collaboration, not competition is the appropriate mindset for selling: Is your current sales system stuck in the old mindset of 'I win you lose'? Are you recruiting sales people who swear by their ability to 'close all the time'? Focusing on closing the deal is not focusing on the prospects' needs. It is a slow and only intermittently successful way to sell that leaves a bad taste all round. Collaboration is the only sustainable sales mindset.
#6 People buy emotionally; they only justify their decisions rationally: Buying anything is not the result of a logical chain of reasoning. It is psychological and totally emotional. Your sales system needs to work on the emotional level and meet your clients' emotional needs. Successful sales is about focusing on the emotional price paid by prospects if they do not buy your product or service. If you don't buy my drill bit your bookshelves will end up all over the floor. If you don't buy my webcam your elderly parent will have to go to a nursing home. If you take that 'free quote' for kitchen remodeling you will end up with the same kitchen as everyone else. Designer kitchens are individual.
#7 People buy when they have 'pain': Each sales prospect is located somewhere on a spectrum of 'pain.' Some may feel pain-free and that life is great, even without your product or service. Others will be at the opposite end of the spectrum and feel dissatisfaction that is an itch that only your product can scratch. Behavioral economics teaches us that 7 tenths of motivation to change, comes from a desire to get away from an uncomfortable, or even downright painful situation, rather than a desire to progress. Prospects become sales when they feel the pain that you can solve.
#8 Use a system for selling: Is your sales function more about hockey than ballet? The 'Client Builder' system can take the chance and guesswork out of your business life. It can fill your pipeline with sales prospects and enhance your reputation for trustworthiness, credibility and integrity. You share the system with every prospect, so that they know from the start that you will be asking for a 'yes' or a 'no' at the end.
# 9 You can't "convince" anybody of anything: The traditional view of sales is based on the myth of a great sales persuader; the person who welcomes every objection from the prospect and who bats them out of the park one by one. The truth is that objections slow your sales process down and nobody can persuade another, you have to help them persuade themselves. People do not resist change, they resist being changed.
#10 Selling is a process of disqualification: Not every prospect will turn into a sale. Some people will not have a problem that your product or service will solve. Some may have a problem but be unaware of it. Some may not feel their problem as a priority, while others may not have the money or the time to buy your solution. 'Client Builder' selling process enables you to sort the good prospects from the bad, early in the process and save you and your prospects' time.
#11 Give your prospect the freedom to say 'No': It may sound simplistic, but the secret to winning more sales rests in getting your prospects to tell you "no." "Maybes" and "think-it-overs" waste your time. They cause you to follow-up on deals that should have been dropped from your pipeline. They give you false hope. They prevent you from dedicating your energy to more prospecting.
#12 Give yourself permission to fail: From the outside selling can look easy, yet it is a career that calls for study, practice and extensive thought. When you review and change your sales system there will be challenges and failures at first. It is OK to fail as long as you learn from it. Totally new paradigms and mindsets will give you a sales explosion but learning is outside of everyone's comfort zone and requires perseverance.
To learn more about the Client Builder Sales Process, please read these complimentary white papers:
The Power of a Process for Increasing Sales
Twelve Unconventional Ideas for Transforming Your Sales Results
Keep the costs of change to a minimum and speed up the revolution in your sales system by having PBC guide you through the Client Builder Academy. Learn from the experts and other entrepreneurs in the same situation. It is a safe coaching environment that simulates the real business world. Visit our website or Contact us to find out just how Client Builder can boost your sales from now on.
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This originally appeared in my August 2013 Newsletter.