ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

How to Eliminate Misunderstandings and Closing Delays

Posted by Jack Kasel on Thu, May 16, 2019

In business, especially in sales; delays, misunderstandings, and communication can go awry.  Sometimes, even with the influx of technology and communication tools, it is easy to misinterpret what a prospect, or salesperson, says. 

So, how do we make these communication lines more efficient?

The AWATL stands for the As We Agreed To Letter. It’s a brief correspondence that the salesperson can send out to clearly indicate what the expectations are (for both parties) in terms of what is needed and expected. It can be used early in the process, throughout the middle, and is extremely effective just before you present your solutions to the prospect.

people-3303828_1920

“What we have here… is a failure to communicate.” You may recognize that line from one on my all-time favorite movies Cool Hand Luke.  If you get nothing else out of this blog, do yourself a favor and go rent that movie. You will be glad you did.

Strother Martin’s character in the movie Cool Hand Luke makes that statement when the prisoners don’t do what is expected of them. This same problem can occur during the sales process and it can cause problems with moving the sale to a timely close. It usually manifests itself when something like this occurs—“I think I know what you are going to do" and "You think you know what I’m going to do, but neither one of us knows for sure what the other one wants or needs."

Thus, the need for the AWATL.

The AWATL stands for the As We Agreed To Letter. It’s a brief correspondence that the salesperson can send out to clearly indicate what the expectations are (for both parties) in terms of what is needed and expected. It can be used early in the process, throughout the middle, and is extremely effective just before you present your solutions to the prospect.

The AWATL process is pretty simple, but can be very effective. It’s a bullet-point letter or email, which spells out the go-forward expectations for both the salesperson and prospect. It also contains date-specific deadlines to make sure the process doesn’t get stalled or delayed.  Everything works better with deadlines and that is especially true when closing sales. As mentioned, it can be VERY effective just before your closing presentation. The important elements of the AWATL includes:

  • The problems that you have uncoveredyour prospect NEEDS to fix
  • The budget you need to stay within
  • All the decision makers will be present
  • Finally, and most importantly, the agreed to and anticipated date when a decision will be made

As sales professionals, you should try to control as many aspects of the sales process as possible. We believe the AWATL can help you accomplish that goal, or at least help eliminate any misunderstandings that may hinder you from closing more business. 

Topics: communicating expectations, expectations, Sales Presentation, AWATL

Creating a Habit for Success

Posted by Jack Kasel on Thu, Apr 04, 2019

In sales, it is critical for a producer to develop behaviors for success and systems to support those behaviors. But often times, salespeople struggle and settle for the results they get because they don’t know how to adapt.

In this article, we will review the formula and methodology for change and the key questions every successful salesperson must ask themselves when identifying how to improve their sales outcomes.


school-2051712_1920

The Greek Philosopher Aristotle saidWe are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I don’t remember reading any accounts of Aristotle conducting sales training, but I believe he would have been pretty good at it.

I have a statement and a question, that tie into Aristotle’s quote on habits:

  • The systems you have in place are perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting.
  • Do you own, and do you like, the outcome you produced?

Habits + systems = outcomes. I think I can get agreement that if both habits and systems are excellent, and well thought-out, the outcome will be what it needs to be. The problem is, if either habits or systems are bad, the outcome will never be what it could be. Here’s the good news, you are in control of both the habits you create and the systems you follow.

Let’s take a look at habits. There are many you can create. One of the best habits you can develop is setting aside an appointment, each week, to meet with your most important customer. That most important customer is you and the habit you must form is to never, under any circumstances, break that appointment. During that appointment with yourself, you plan and set goals for your week, read things to improve your skills and craft, or just spend time organizing yourself. You will be shocked how much better you can be by investing 30 minutes each week.

What systems do you have in place that will help you succeed? What are key factors you need to achieve to succeed in sales? Are they introductions? Cold Calls? Appointments? Presentations, etc. What’s your conversion ratio? How many calls turn into appointments?  How many appointments turn into presentations? Have a system, measure the activity, find the gaps, do things necessary to fix them.

Finally, let’s look at outcomes. Do you own the outcome you’ve created? Another way to look at it is, when something doesn’t happen the way you wanted or needed it to, do you look out the window for the reason or do you look in the mirror for the reason?

So there you go. A simple formula . . . Habits (good or bad) + Systems (good or bad) = Outcome . . .  If you own the outcome and don’t like it, fix the things on the left side of the equal sign.

Topics: meeting sales goals, setting sales goals, sales systems, expectations, underperforming salespeople, success formulas, creating habits for success, creating sales habits, underperforming sales team

5 Sales Benefits of Calling At The Top

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Here are five sales benefits of calling at the top when you prospect:

  1. You will have the attention of the ultimate decision maker of the sale
  2. You will shorten your sales cycle as a result of being with the decision maker
  3. When you run into problems with people that manage or administer your program, service or product you have a relationship with someone that can fix the problem.
  4. If the problems you uncover are real problems you will be in front of the person that will find the money to fix the problem and complete the sale
  5. When you call at the top you will know if a current relationship will derail you from getting the sale.

Your decision when you are prospecting is to decide:  How important is it for you to have these 5 sales benefits.  If these benefits won't help you sell more business, more quickly at higher margins then keep calling on those that can only tell you know, limit your budget, and limit your abililty to effectively implement a plan, program or service the exceeds the prospects expectations.

Topics: Sales, prospects, sale, expectations, sell more business, decisions

    Follow #ACTG

     

    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Recent Blogs