I originally posted this article in July of 2011. Much has happened in the sales world in just six years. For some reason, the original post is one of our most viewed articles. I believe that is a result of a couple of things:
WHY THIS CONTENT IS STILL RELEVANT
- In many cases, the fundamentals of generating sales is the same. As my good friend, Tony Neuman, from AAA Insurance pointed out - activity leads to opportunities which lead to success.
- Salespeople still want to know how to improve. Regardless of the technology and the sales enablement tools, salespeople recognize that, even today, it is still a people business. With ALL of our clients, the business still depends on people buying from people.
- The need/presssure to perform continues to mount. Not just because of the pressure on companies to perform, but the pressure on families to meet their own financial goals, objectives and basic requirements.
With that in mind, I have taken a few minutes to revisit the original post and update some of the content so that it is relevant in today's sales climate.
Original 5 Keys article (Revised with notations)
THE 5 "GREEN" SALES ACTIVITIES FOR SUCCESS
Today, I'll focus on this: Identifying the activities that you MUST execute on a consistent basis to be successful.
These activities MUST primarily be SALES activities or what I call GREEN activities. GREEN means GO, which stands for "GO to the BANK".
Green activities would include and pretty much be limited to:
- Activities that lead to getting names - networking, speaking engagements, sponsored seminars, meeting with centers of influence and/or asking for introductions. Surprising as it might be, nothing is changed here. As a matter of fact, the first thing on the list is still close to the top of the list in terms of ROTI (Return on Time Invested) View this YouTube Video with Seth Godin. The only difference is you need to add "social" to the networking. There is no doubt that today's sales professional must be extremely well-connected via the social media if they are going to be found and found to be relevant.
- An outreach to assess interest or need - This step used to be focused on qualifying the prospect. We still believe that, early in the conversation, you need to have discussions about what their needs are, what the investment perameters are and how will they go about making a decision. But, recently, I read Mark Roberge's book - The Sales Accelleration Formula. In that book, he has many great ideas and methodologies; but one that I believe is KEY to your success is understanding where the buyer (what he calls a persona) is in their buying journey.
- Conversations and meetings to uncover the buyers process - Another significant change in the process - Your first step now is really to help potential buyers uncover if, in fact, they have a problem that needs to be addressed. So often, prospects know they have a problem based on symptoms they see, hear or feel, but they need to know the severity of the problem. In most cases, potential buyers don't know what they don't know. Today's salesperson has to be masterful at asking the right questions the right way in order to help them identify the problem(s). You should not discuss solutions until they have thoroughly clarified the issues. Pitching capabilities early in the buyer's journey is a big mistake.
- Gathering additional information for your presentation step - Once you have provided some guidance to the prospect and, yes, they have decided that they have a problem that needs to be fixed, your job is to now provide them with options, free trials, demos and comparision presentations. These resources help the buyer in their journey towards making a decision.
- Presentation of your product/suite of solutions - Not much has changed here except the belief that, by the time you get here, you should have prepared your prospect to make a decision. As we have always taught, get a decision one way or another - yes or no! Be okay with a no.
Selling is hard; it always has been and probably will always will be. If you haven't already done, so download our ebook, "Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?" It will provide you with keen insights into the root causes and challenges of selling and help you develop long-term strategies to keep selling from being so darn hard.