Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Sales Managers Must Sweat the Small Stuff!

Tags: sales management, sales development, performance management, sales assessments

I’ve not read the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. It’s a catchy title and I’m sure a good read. But, if you are a sales manager responsible for developing your people and for driving sales growth, this is awful advice. I subscribe to the theory that the devil is in the detail$. I purposely made the last letter the $ sign and here’s why.

Take a look at the following Success Formula designed to help an individual salesperson figure out what sales activities they need to be doing day in and day out to be successful.

This salesperson is using personal income as their metric for success. Their success standard is $58,800. In order to do that, they must perform the formula as it is expressed here starting with averaging 20 dials per week to perspective buyers. (Do NOT get hung up on “this is cold calling and I do not cold call.” Regardless of how your leads are generated, you must do something proactively to reach out to them either by phone, text, email or other methods of initial contact. For illustrative purposes, I’ve used the word “dials”.)

Here are the details: The data tells us that this salesperson must have a certain level of effort – the 20 dials a week (average) and a level of effectiveness – the conversion ratio from one step to the next. What I am demonstrating is what happens if, instead of performing to plan in effort and effectiveness, this salesperson is off of target by just 1%. As you can see in each individual step, a drop in performance of just 1% has a negative cumulative impact of 7%. So what?

It may not appear to be much, but here are a couple of things to think about:

  • Suppose the number was 10 x greater and now the miss was over $30,000.00 instead of $3,000.00.
  • Suppose you had a team of 10 producers and 7 of them missed the mark by $30,000.00 in personal income. Their commission payout is 33%. That means each individual is missing a sales goal of $100,000.00 and you have 7 people missing the mark. Where is the $700,000.00 of sales going to come from?
  • Suppose the miss on effort is 5% and the miss on average size account is 5% and the miss on submissions to approvals (for those of you that have a product that requires underwriting or approval) is off 10% but all the other conversion ratios are met at 100%.

Look at that impact - a loss of more than $8,000 to goal! That is the scenario that is more likely to happen. We know this because we have evaluated hundreds of sales organizations and the company we use to evaluate sales organizations has evaluated literally thousands of sales organizations. One finding that always jumps out is that less than 10% of the salespeople evaluated are using a consistent sales process. (Note: we work with mostly successful companies that are trying to figure out how to be more successful, how to eliminate the variability in performance or how to maximize potential of the sales team. We don't commonly work with sales teams that are broken, so don't misinterpret this as something that only applies to companies that are failing to grow sales!)

It is a staggering percentage that less than 10% of all salespeople across all industry segments use an effective sales process. How can this be given the billions of dollars spent on sales training and sales enablement tools like SalesForce.com? But, that is the big stuff to be tackled another day. What we know is that a sales manager can make a huge impact today by sweating the small stuff. IT MATTERS!

 

Additional Resources

How good is my sales team? – Free Sales Achievement Grader

Success Formula (Free Download)

Grade your sales process – Free Sales Process Grader

The Extraordinary Sales Manager eBook - Download your copy!

 

If you could use some help NOW, Text me at 513 226 3913, Subject- Help Sales Process. Please include your name.

8 Steps for More Effective Closing - Sales Solution #10

Tags: Selling, qualifying prospects, sales presentations, sales improvement, sales development, successful selling, close more sales

Sales people typically want to know how to do three things better:

  1. See more people
  2. Manage their time
  3. Close more business

When we are working with sales professionals during our sales training workshops, closing is one of the last things we get to. Not because effective closing techniques aren't important to every sales process, but because it isn't as important as the sales steps leading to the close.  However, I've decided that, as I was posting the 10 solutions for successful selling, I'd pop "8 Steps for More Effective Closing" in up front so that, with those deals you have in your pipeline today, you might have a slight edge in closing those deals with this information.

Years ago, I was taught that "the close" is an affirmation of the conversations you've already had with the prospect - or at least that's the theory. The theory runs aground, so to speak, if your qualifying steps weren't as strong as they needed to be and if your set up for the closing wasn't as strong as it needed to be. Let's do a quick recap of what should have happened prior to showing up for the close.

  1. A relationship, based on confidence and trust, should have been developed.  (check out a brief Seth Godin Blog)
  2. You should have identified the motivation/compelling reason for your prospect to take action.
  3. The prospect should have told you that they wanted to fix a problem or they realize a currently unrealized benefit.
  4. You and the prospect should have agreed to an investment of time, money and resources.
  5. You and the prospect should have agreed to a decision making process that included:
    • You would supply a solution that fits their specifications
    • You would supply this solution within their budget
    • You would be prepared to answer all of their questions
    • They would be prepared to make a decision- yes or no
  6. You would have sent an "as we agreed to" letter
  7. You would have followed up the "as we agreed to" letter with a phone call confirming the contents of the letter.

If, in fact, you have done these 6 things, then your close should be an affirmation of everything that you've already agreed to. If you haven't executed on these 6 items, then... well, you are in trouble at time of close.

Here are 8 steps for more effective closing:

  1. Be prepared to be dazzling (10 presentation skills you MUST execute)
  2. You review why you are there to present
    • There is a problem that needs to be solved
    • There is an "agreed to" investment to solve the problem
    • There will be a decision today to either solve the problem or not solve the problem (Tell you yes or no)
  3. You place your 3-page presentation in front of the prospect:
    • Page 1 - cover sheet
    • Page 2 - list of problems identified in closing process
    • Page 3 - bulleted list of solutions to problems
  4. You ask the prospect which problem they want to discuss first
  5. You provide the solution and answer all of their questions
  6. You ask, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you love it and 1 you hate it, how do you feel about the solution I've just presented?"  If it is 7 or better, you are in good shape, but the prospect does not have all of the information they need.  You now have to ask them, "What information do you need to get to a 10?"
  7. You proceed through each solution the same way
  8. When you finish all of your solutions you ask the question, "What would you like to do now?"

If you have done all of your work the right way, you will get a decision. The challenge here is two-fold:

  1. Did you do all the right stuff?
  2. Are you okay with hearing, "No, I don't want to do business with you?"

Executing the right stuff and being okay with hearing "no" are two of the things that make selling so damn hard.

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