‘Learn from the mistake of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’ Eleanor Roosevelt
This quote emphasizes the opportunity to learn from others and use it as leverage to improve your skills. Is this applicable to sales though?
Sales skills are often referred to in a negative manner, from the ‘gift of the gab,’ to free lunches and going home early on Friday; salespeople are not always portrayed in the best of lights in many organisations. This attitude is also used as a reason for many people to avoid developing their own sales skills, even if it can make a big difference to their business or organisation.
This question is particularly important in current market conditions when new business and additional revenue become even more important. This is precisely the time when marketing and sales departments are scrutinised, and the pressure to achieve tangible results is on. So, the key question is not, can you sell? More importantly it is, can you sell well?
To explain what I mean by learning to sell well, I thought it would be useful to review the key obstacles that get in the way. These are generally divided into three areas:
- Understanding your prospect: How much do you actually know about your prospects and their company? Consider questions like:
- Who are the key decision makers?
- What are the main issues?
- What are their key preferences?
- What is their budget?
- Who else are they talking to?
The list goes on and it can be easy to forget to ask these questions in the initial process of conversation. Getting better clarification will help you build your knowledge and discover the best way to approach the prospect and close the sale.
2. Having a clear sales process: How many times have you been told that selling is not rocket science? Whilst I agree that you should keep things reasonably simple, a clear process that everyone works to can help streamline your process and increase productivity and success. Some things to consider are:
- Speed of response to enquiry
- Accuracy in identifying needs
- Demonstrating your capabilities
- Packages and standardisation of products
- Your CRM and automation tools
- Relationship building
3.Setting up a review process: Without testing and measuring, you will never find out if the changes you implemented have made any difference. The review process needs to cover all of the aspects of your sales from lead numbers through sales conversion and individual’s sales targets. Having KPI’s in place will allow you to set a standard and define what success looks like thus helping your team to aim higher and develop.
Selling is one of these occupations that you can keep improving upon; you can always find another way, learn a new skill, or rebuild a relationship. The point of our Blog this week is to remind you of the basics because if you get them right, you can free time to evolve your process and identify new opportunities.
If I have helped you identify some elements that need attention, why not take a look at our new sales conversion support service to see if we can help you shake things up in any way. Get in touch if you want to discuss your specific circumstances further.