There are three key parts to sales success (and probably business and life in general), and they all start with the letter A.
Attitude, Activity and Acumen.
Any of these three areas can sabotage the sales effort, but get these three things right, and you’re almost guaranteed to have success.
The first question to ask is, How do you view selling?
Many people view salespeople as pushy, transactional, forceful, and even manipulative. And they resent the feeling that they’re being subjected to all sorts of tricks and techniques to get them to part with their money.
Now, I’m not saying that tricks and techniques are bad. In fact, many of them are. Techniques for selling are indeed very helpful, but the fact is that so many people over the years have used the tricks and techniques and these systems to manipulate people in a sales environment. It has given people a bad perspective on what it means to be a salesperson.
So go ahead and ask yourself the question. How do you view selling? If you view selling as a process of using sales tactics and techniques to manipulate people for selfish ends, then that will sabotage you in the process of doing your own work in sales.
A good sales professional will skillfully ask questions, consult, and lead a prospect through a decision-making process to help them get their needs met. The focus is on making sure that your sales team has the right view of selling and that they see their mission as helping people invest to meet their needs. That’s what needs to happen if a sales team is going to have a winning attitude.
Sales is a numbers game—nothing less, nothing more. It’s all about activity: making enough phone calls, securing enough appointments, and asking enough people to buy to get the results they (and you!) need.
When it comes to activity, sales process management is a foundational discipline. Sales process management involves monitoring and managing the flow of sales prospects through a predefined set of steps that culminate in a completed sale.
There is a whole industry of software tools for sales process management; however, in many cases, an Excel spreadsheet is enough to track a single conversion rate for a single-stage sales process, but when a business starts tracking multiple sales stages, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software becomes necessary.
Managing the sales process with the right CRM solution is one of the techniques we use when addressing the second A, activity.
Another technique we use is the Default Calendar. The Default Calendar technique is a critical part of the sales management system that we use to help our clients and their sales teams deliver the right amount of activity. By blocking these activities from their calendars as appointments with themselves, they can then be held accountable for keeping them.
This is all about educating the sales team on the best practices for selling.
One of the main things we do when developing acumen is teach sales professionals the Rule of Threes. The Rule of Threes is based on the premise that selling is about building a relationship through a series of successive conversations.
Here’s how it works. In your first conversation with a prospect, you have about three seconds to earn the next 30 seconds. If we walk up to someone at a networking event, within the first three seconds, the tone of our voice, our passion, our excitement, and our confidence all communicate things to the prospect. We have three seconds to make a positive impression and earn the next 30 seconds. If we don’t make a great first impression, the prospect will disengage and move on to another conversation with someone else.
In the next 30 seconds, we’re going to have a bit of a conversation to earn the next three minutes, and if those three minutes go well, we’re going to be able to segue into a 30-minute conversation. Or we may get to the end of that three-minute conversation and the prospect says, “Hey, look, I’m interested in what you’re saying but really can’t talk now. Can we set up a time to talk?”
You can apply this Rule of Threes to virtually any sales team that you train in virtually any industry. It’s all about earning the right to the next conversation by understanding what your prospect’s little voice is saying during each stage of the conversation. And that’s the third and final A of the sales management system, Acumen.
If you’d like to learn more about how business coaching can help grow your business, get in touch with me. You can book an initial complimentary 15-minute call with me at TimeWithShane.com.