The process of selling has many different meanings to many different people, but the factor that defines them all is—the result. Selling is achieved on a multitude of platforms in today’s free-market arena. Popular CRM sales platforms and itemized marketing tools have made it easier to reach and track potential clients, but the art of the close will always come down to human interaction and your sales process.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pick up the Phone
You can send multiple emails, texts or perform online sales demos but in the end, the one who picks up the phone creates the dialog and steers the process will be victorious. There are many sales professionals who feel as though they are bothering a prospect by setting up a controlled phone campaign to speak to their prospects. Nothing could be further from the truth. You may get the feeling that there is resentment or the common push-off from the prospect but don’t forget it is a process. The very definition of a process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end. Understanding and mentally accepting that the normal cycle of any sales process will involve the dance between prospect and salesperson and can involve many maneuvers.
Keep the Process in Play but Be Flexible
Aside from a campaign involving direct contact, utilize all the tools available during the sales process. Email tracking and marketing alerts allow you to utilize the technology to see when the prospective client is actively viewing your proposal or marketing materials. Creating a process that includes this information is invaluable to the timeline of your successes or failures. If you see that a certain prospect reviewed your proposal or spent a decent amount of time reviewing that proposal, then strike while the opportunity is in front of you and the prospect. Setting up a time to call shortly after or at least within a couple of days of the tracked info is crucial. Try to also reach out during the same time frame(s) to which the prospect previously reviewed the email or marketing material. Recognizing and capitalizing on your prospect specific viewing habits will help you get ahead of your competition.
Learn from Failure
No one likes to fail but it is a helpful tool in accessing your procedures and processes. Playing back failed sales campaigns in your head or reviewing your notes or strategies used in the failed process can help identify how to best customize or revolutionize your process. Each prospect will be different of course, but understanding the fundamental process within your sales routine is essential to achieving the success you are striving for. Understanding your talking points and having a few different playbooks to adhere to will help you keep on track when you face the multitude of different personalities encountered with all prospective buyers.
A great way to learn from your sales process is to record yourself both acting out a potential talk track or an actual live sales meeting. Hearing your voice inflection, following your verbal process, and having audio to assist on the back and forth conversation between you and the prospect is a useful guide to help sharpen your process and identify areas of improvement. Lastly, never feel afraid to simply inquire why you didn’t get the sale. A lost prospect’s best gift—aside from, of course, awarding you the business—is the information they can share about their decision process pertaining to you and your process.
Be Relentless but Be Respectful
Understanding and adhering to your sales process is the key to controlling the opportunities you have created. Having your plan to follow up and to be systematic about that process is what you will find as the main differentiator between successful salespeople and unsuccessful salespeople. Understand that you bring value to the prospect, that the information you have prepared and the knowledge you can supply are the main determinants of whether or not you are the right person or company to hire. The tenacity though on which you actively engage your prospect is also an important factor. Call too little and it looks as though you do not care. Call too much and it looks as though you are desperate or disrespectful of the prospect’s time. It is a healthy balance of providing the necessary information to the prospect to make an informed decision but also the wherewithal of understanding the timing of the release and follow up.
Go Hunting: Every Farm Needs Meat
Success isn’t luck. Success is created. Success is discovered and cultivated until it appears lucky to those who cannot create it. Is there some luck involved in success? Of course, but those who appear to be the luckiest people will tell you they work extremely hard to keep it. Waiting for success to find you isn’t a very likely outcome. Creating and cultivating your opportunities and turning them into success is the only way to ensure the desired outcome. Learning from mistakes and keeping your process are the tools for your success but understanding how to find opportunity allows you to utilize these tools. Many salespeople make the mistake of relying on prospects to communicate back to them or to find their services and reach out. Successful people (not just sales folks) make their opportunities by finding them, even in places where they may have not previously existed.