Allow me to share with you a conversation I’ve had more times than I can count. It’s a conversation I often have with my sales coaching clients, usually in one of our first coaching sessions. It goes a little something like this:
Sales coaching client: Yes. It’s a process I’ve developed myself over the years.
Me: Great. Could you walk me through it step-by-step?
Sales coaching client: Sure thing. [prolonged silence] Well…let’s see…..um…
Your process is arguably one of the most important components of your sales success. It’s as important as your product, your marketing efforts, and even your ability to prospect and close.
When you don’t have a process, you’re essentially winging it every time you engage with a new prospect. You may be letting the prospect drive the process, and they may not be driving it towards a successful outcome. Most of all, when you lack a process, you waste time on simple administrative tasks that could otherwise be automated. That’s a problem, because your time is your most valuable resource.
The issue is that many salespeople think they have a process when they really don’t. Their process is usually a vague outline of meetings and emails that they’ve culled together over years or decades in the sales business. When you dig deep, the process rarely exists in practice; it often only exists in their head.
Think you have a process in place? Not quite sure? Take a look below at the five signs that you don’t have a process.
You don’t have a vetting system to identify ideal buyers.
The most effective salespeople succeed because they are skilled at finding the perfect prospect for their product or service. They don’t waste time on prospects who aren’t a good fit. To determine who is a good prospect and who isn’t, they ask penetrating questions during their initial conversations. They ask about things like budget, schedule, reasons for considering a purchase, who the ultimate decision maker is, and timing.
When they have those answers, the salesperson can then make a determination about whether or not it’s productive to continue the sales process. That helps the salesperson maximize their time and only work with those who have a high likelihood of closing.
When you don’t have a process, you chase any lead that comes your way. And you may spin your wheels on many prospects who are unlikely to ever buy your product or service.
What questions do you ask to filter out poor prospects? What is your method for determining whether a prospect is a good fit for your service? If you can’t answer those questions, you may not have a process.
You create your follow-up emails and voicemails on the fly.
Follow up is a struggle for many salespeople, even the veterans. They don’t know when to follow up or how frequently to make contact. They don’t know when an email is appropriate or when follow up should be done over the phone. They don’t know what to say to move the sales process forward.
There’s no reason why follow up has to be such a mystery. In fact, when you have a defined process, there should be no ambiguity at all. You have a set path for when and how you follow up. The prospect gets an email at certain points and phone calls at other points. In fact, you should have scripts and templates already written so all you have to do is implement the follow-up process.
You let the prospect dictate the process.
We’ve all been there. You have a good initial meeting with a prospect and attempt to move them to the next step in your process. Then they throw you a curveball. They want you to run some variations on some different proposals. They want to test out your product. Maybe they want you to provide some samples.
Whatever it is, they want to deviate from your process and establish their own next step. You always want to give the prospect all the information they need to make a good decision. However, if you let the prospect drive the process, you may never get them through your funnel.
Soon you’re answering obscure questions, putting together custom product comparisons, and generally wasting time by indulging every prospect request.
Instead, you should have a documented process so you know exactly which step comes next for each prospect. When they ask for a specific request, you’re able to satisfy them and also get them to your next scheduled meeting or event..
If you find that your prospects are conducting the train, it may be because you don’t have a process of your own.
You don’t have process documentation.
Let’s go back to the conversation I mentioned at the beginning of the post, where I asked a salesperson to describe their process. It’s always great when a salesperson can specifically discuss their process in detail. What’s even better, though, is when they can email over the documentation.
What is process documentation? It’s simply your process in written and visual form. It’s a description of who your prospects are, your ideal customer, how you identify them, what your funnel looks like, and how you respond to common questions and objections.
The act of documenting your process can help you refine and optimize it. Also, when your process is formally documented, you may be more inclined to stick to it.
Need help developing, defining, and documenting your process? Let’s discuss it. I’ve helped many salespeople and sales organizations create their own sales processes. Schedule your free consultation today and let’s start the conversation.
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