As we know “results speak for themselves” and nowhere is that statement more true than in sales. These results happen by running a detailed sales process combined with regular and consistent “sales strengthening” to gain more wins; i.e. increased revenues for you.
This is a clear fact every business owner knows, however there is an integral part to this that is missing.
Experience shows that without P.H.D. (Pig Headed Discipline™) in your sales process efforts you are living with one of the most common pitfalls facing companies. The real injustice is that it is not difficult to fix. Sure almost all companies talk a big game around the systemization of their sales process, but very few actually detail out the step by step process, then go to work with laser focus to become MASTERS of growing their businesses.
And for those that MASTER this process, THEY know that Sales Mastery is one of the most profitable skill sets that ANY company can achieve – if they are committed.
Every company that I work with as an elite growth consultant falls into one of the following categories, as it relates to creating true mental muscle with their sales force and maximizing every lead that they create:
1) NO pre-identified sales process is in place – They simply hire people with the “sales experience” which they hope will result in sales. It is a huge myth to expect someone with “experience” to be a top performer. If you aren’t teaching them YOUR foundational steps and holding them accountable to performing them with precision, you risk having a non-producing (and thus unhappy) sales associate and you won’t be too happy either.
What do TOP producing sales organizations have?
- Every step of their sales process is mapped out, from prospecting, to building rapport, to closing, to follow up, handling objections, and everything in between.
- Regular (weekly) skill enhancement meetings (ie: Sales Training) are scheduled to build and maintain the sales muscle among every person on their team. They know that their salespeople get rewarded out in the field based on what they are practicing in private settings.
- Ongoing and rigorous testing around these sales processes is in place to assure both the understanding of the techniques, but most importantly that their salespeople can demonstrate the usability of these techniques in practice sessions.
2) NO regimented Sales Strengthening process exists for their existing team OR their new hires. In other words, many companies may have some random training, they may even bring in a hired gun sales trainer once a year – but the BIG MISS here is that sales training by itself won’t turn your world on fire. What WILL turn your world on fire is regular, regimented sales strengthening. I’m not talking about 1 time per year or even quarter – I am talking about weekly. Yes, weekly.
What do TOP producing sales organizations have?
- A pre-defined step by step, mapped-out sales process that is in play and assessed regularly. They learn this by modeling their top performers and integrating external best practices.
- Scripts around every single detail of their process are in their tool box. This process is mapped out from cold calling, to the initial appointment, to building rapport, asking questions, presenting, closing, handling objections, asking for referrals – and their much needed follow-up system. Great companies strategize all of this in advance, and then train like crazy to create a repeatable and measurable selling system.
- Training/review/practice sessions are held on a weekly basis. Remember, the skill ‘to do’ comes from doing. Great companies, like a winning football team, have a detailed playbook that they practice over and over to create precision in their execution. Your sales team needs to mimic this excellence.
- Sales processes are memorialized and driven into their new hire training. Before a salesperson starts with you, they should prove themselves in written tests and role plays to ASSURE you that they get your best practices and can demonstrate this to you or their manager. They should be put into every imaginable scenario BEFORE they start calling on or talking to new prospects.
When I started my career as a financial planner for IDS/American Express, before I was allowed to have the job, and before I could even go to training, I had to prove that I could memorize their 23 page sales script – word for word. I had 2 months before my local branch would allow me to go to National Training; I had to perform this script impeccably to the entire management staff. While this discipline wasn’t fun, it not only made me want the job even more, it caused me to prepare, over and over – knowing that before I was hired, I had to do this same script, with their best practices memorized, and delivering it with the right volume, inflection and pace, before I would be granted the ability to represent them and start selling. It made all the difference in the world. Once I was granted the job, we had on-going sales training every single week, from cold calling, to practicing an initial meeting, to handling objections, to closing and follow-up.
At the age of 23, I was fairly lethal in executing that pre-defined process. This same regimented process is what has been the cornerstone of every successful business leadership role I have had, and every successful consulting relationship – creating and building PHD in Sales Process execution.
So now that you know one of the keys of creating an Ultimate Sales Machine™ like culture in your company – the bigger question is:
Do you have PHD in YOUR sales process?
And if you don’t, what could it mean if you did?
Share your sales process thoughts with us on Twitter @ChetHolmes and use hashtag #ChetSales in your posts.
By Gene McNaughton, CHI Elite Consultant Executive