A Clearly Defined Sales Process Yields Big Results
For my first college degree, in 1955, I majored in Industrial Sales. What they taught back then was called “Needs Selling.” Needs Selling was the first “scientific” selling system because it was based on psychological research. It worked better than any previous selling system. More importantly, it worked far better than no structured selling system at all. Needs Selling gradually evolved into Consultative Selling, which does not work very well anymore.
Below are some Other Things That Do Not Work Very Well Any More
Becoming a “Trusted Advisor”
During the seventeen years that I have been in the Sales Training business, I have seen thousands of salespeople struggling to become trusted advisors. They say that will enable them to help prospects with their problem situations.
When you cast yourself in the role of a Trusted Advisor, your persona will not ring true, unless you are dealing with someone that wants your advice and is willing to use it. No matter how honorable your intentions, it is highly unlikely that you can get people to accept your advice when the problems that you can solve are not top priorities for them. It is also highly unlikely that you can convince them that those problems should be top priorities.
When you are trying to persuade and convince people to do something that they do not already want to do, most will resist. If you persist, their resistance will increase and they will not trust you. Furthermore, you are intruding on their time, and therefore in their lives. Thus, it is more likely to establish yourself in their minds as an annoyance.
Wowing Prospects with Technical Brilliance or Product Knowledge
Few salespeople succeed based on their product knowledge or technical brilliance.
Rapport-Building is an inherently manipulative process. Rapport-building techniques may get prospects to like you, but they will also lower their level of trust in you, as well as their respect for you. Rapport Building “feels good,” but lowers the probability of closing the sale. Trust in the salesperson is the #1 factor in Buying Decisions.
Developing Your Own Sales Process
Many salespeople are trying to develop their own sales methods based on what they think will work. Many are trying to adapt Consultative Selling methods to what they feel comfortable doing. Those objectives are contrary to what works best in selling. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that the attempt will result in an effective sales process. That is why most salespeople fail, or fail to attain the level of success that they want.
Your best chance for outstanding success is to become as skilled as the top salespeople in your industry. For most salespeople, that means dealing with a new learning experience that, in the beginning, may be quite uncomfortable.
Below is a partial list of What Does Work
Abandon the idea that Prospects Need to Be Educated
The Market for every product and service has changed radically in the last 35 years. Since the 1980's, the advent of desktop computers fueled an explosion of all communications media. The wide adoption of the Internet greatly increased that information flow. We are now bombarded with information about every conceivable subject. That condition is called Information Overload. Now, the need to educate prospects has been largely eliminated.
Information Overload has created a niche market that we call High Probability Prospects. These people already know that they want the benefits that your products and services can provide.
Prospect like the Top 1% do. The Top 1% of Salespeople change their selling process to suit current market conditions. They are no longer looking for prospects that merely need the benefits of their products and services, nor are they willing to spend their time educating “interested” prospects. They now concentrate their efforts on finding prospects that: 1) already want the benefits of their products and services, and 2) are ready, willing and able to buy now.
This takes the pressure off the prospect and the producer, giving them the best chance of successfully doing business together. It also eliminates most of the time spent doing “Needs Analyses” and preparing proposals for prospects that will not buy. Thus, most of your time is spent working with people that are genuine prospects.
Practice Full Disclosure
Top sales producers practice total disclosure with no hidden agendas. They do not try to fool their prospects, or themselves, about their own primary motivation: To earn money for themselves by providing valuable services for their customers.
Salespeople who persist in Rapport Building, Overcoming Objections, and Closing Techniques are utilizing an outdated selling paradigm that is not effective in today's market. Those “selling techniques” leave success to chance, and that chance is low.
If you want to dramatically increase your probability of success, you must learn the selling skills that are most likely to yield the results that you want. In High Probability Selling, we know what works: Every step of the sales process is statistically validated to produce the most sales volume in the shortest time.
These new, highly effective selling skills are not easy to learn. Ultimately, you must learn them, or find another way to make a living. In order to achieve outstanding success, you must decide how you will make it happen, and when.