Accidents are mostly never good. Something even more concerning is that there are businesses operating their revenue machine (aka ‘sales’) by accident. They are making it up as they go, leaving it to chance, or worse yet, hoping that they convert more clients and customers.
How predictable is your business?
Are you able to accurately forecast your revenue for the current quarter, the next quarter and beyond?
How certain are you that those contracts will convert?
Do you have a lot of business on right now and you’re wondering where your next big project is coming from and when it’s coming in?
Are you losing opportunities or not optimising your margins?
Are your current clients or customers the right kind of people?
Sales and Negotiation are essentials business skills and many companies are having sales conversations and conducting negotiations without process or purpose. Too often, this leads to lower margins, less contracts and losing negotiations. By applying process, combined with humanised, trust-building principles, all companies can improve in this area.
Whilst many businesses enjoy the benefits that a sales process brings, many continue to operate with a heavy focus on their technical knowledge and skills.
If you don’t follow a sales process, you’re robbing your business of great clients, short buying times and consistent, predictable revenue.
It’s your revenue factory
If you were producing bottles, you’d follow a process from the raw materials, right through to the end product.
All the bottles would come out the same, just by following the same process.
If you skip steps, or make it up as you go, the bottles don’t work, and you can’t predict how and when they will come out. The end result could be a useless bottle.
In your business, your sales process is your revenue factory.
But we’re not in sales, we’re in professional services!
Exactly my point.
Many of your competitors are following a sales process, which leaves customers with a feeling of professionalism, competence and most importantly, trust.
Whether your industry is legal, engineering, consulting, logistics, construction, marketing, technology, accounting, finance or education, you should have a repeatable process that your team follow for every time they interact with a brand new opportunity.
If they do it right, your prospective customer will know they are in the right hands.
If they do it wrong, your prospect will feel they are being sold to, they may also view your company as disorganised or unprofessional.
Research suggests that you start to win or lose the business right from the very first interaction. So everything you say and do, either moves someone towards buying from you, or away from you.
When I’m following my sales process, everything I say and do is very purposeful with my prospect. I’m not adding in unnecessary stories or making it up as I go.
People always comment on how insightful these c0nversations are, how they are thinking deeply about their challenges, and possible solutions as a result of the things I have said.
If your first interaction is about pitching your services, then you’re off to a losing start.
It’s also important to allow ample time for these conversations. If someone offers you 15 minutes for a ‘quick chat’, that’s not going to cut the mustard. To do this right, you need an hour.
Keep it clean
During this first interaction, your conversation should be focussed more on them, and much less on you.
Don’t use 15 words if you can use 14.
Don’t tell a story that doesn’t add value.
Don’t speak words just for the sake of it.
When you add too much information in that first conversation, you’re adding extra noise that makes it hard for your prospect to sift through. If they are in that state, then you’re on the super-highway to a “no” or indecision, which are both tricky places to come back from.
When I’m selling, my prospect speaks for around 60-70% of that hour. I’m not the hero in this conversation, they are. My role is to help them to share what’s important, ask the right questions and provide them the space (using strategic silence) to think through what I’m asking.
Fun fact: my actual ‘pitch’ in these conversations, goes for around 4 minutes. Every time.
A confused mind always says “no”
If you’re adding too much information, pitching too early, talking too much and being too technical, you’re confusing people. If they are confused, they won’t buy from you.
By following a structured sales process, not only do your sales conversations feel cleaner and more calm, you’re also much easier to by from!