Sales Audit

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Continuous Sales Improvement | Sales Process Audit to Boost Sales

Continuous Sales Improvement | Sales Process Audit to Boost Sales

What is a Sales Process Audit?

You know there are 100’s of sales levers to improve sales results, how do you know you’re working the right levers to get the sales improvements you need?

The truth is you don’t always know, it’s more intuitive, its worked in the past, it seems to be working now, you read about it in a book…

Sometimes sales improvement is just 100 of mini things rather than a few big things that are done differently

But the question is, just where do you start?

Start Here! The Sales Insight | Sales Process Audit

Just hit the link above for full details.

But Why Should I Get a Sales Process Audit?

Well that depends on you, so I’ll share some of the reasons past clients invested in Sales Insights for their business:

Software client:

Problem: dramatic drop in sales after a long plateau, is a subscription product so recurring revenue took a hit

Discovery: they’d recently invested more focus, energy and money on new business development than customer ervice and retention, ex customers were starting to talk and their credibility was shot.

Solution: power up your customer retention

Business Solutions Client

Problem: loosing 100k+ per month

Discovery: their average sales order value was just 20% of their competitors, they didn’t focus on specific sectors so message was all over the place, sales guys were diverted between sales and new business development as well as account management

Solution: create separate functions for new business development and account management, pick 3 red hot niches and get s robust ROI to demonstrate value, restructure the management team – average order value after 5 months was x5, and team had stopped loosing money

Professional Services Client

Problem: Client retention, poor margins

Discovery: commission structure stopped paying out at 3 months, coincided with biggest client drop off, poor pricing skills based on being unable to demonstrate strong value based ROI

Solution: changed commission structure to reflect a period where the sales person could hand over to customer services/internal team, introduced sign on costs and bulk buy packages, tighter terms and conditions for long term block usage, improved skills on pricing and relaying pricing information and packages.

Could All These Firms Improved Without a Sales Process Audit?

Yes.

Maybe.

Eventually.

Worth the Wait to Find Out?

That’s your call…but why risk it.

Book you Sales Insight Now

To discuss how you’d like to improve your sales results, the functionality of your sales team or simply take your competitors out for a walk next quarter – call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

To sign up for free sales and business development insights – hit the link – The Advanced Business Achiever – and claim your free subscription.

A sales process audit is your key to releasing the infinite potential within your sales team…so why wait?

17 Things Your Buyer Wished You Knew About Sales | How to Win at Sales

17 Things Your Buyer Wished You Knew About Sales | How to Win at Sales

Sales call best practice is a tough one. The very essence of being a great sales person is that you know how to interact with decision makers.

You build rapport easily. You’re confidently able to challenge thinking respectfully as well as encourage senior buyers to open their mind to new ideas.

You can influence and persuade at the highest level.

And none of those skills come via any tick sheet.

You’re a natural.

So, just consider this as a gentle reminder, or if you’re new to sales, an insight into your buyers thinking.

Sales call best practice is something great sales people understand intuitively, but it can still be developed.

So, here goes…

10 Things Your Buyer Wish You Knew About Sales Call Best Practice

1. Your buyer doesn’t hate all sales people.

Just the ones who waste his time on pleasantries and stupid questions. The buyer is busier than a very busy person. He needs you to respect that, and tailor your approach accordingly.

So when he does spend time with you, get to your value laden point quickly.

Sales call best practice relies on you having a foundation, knowing what a good sales interaction looks like versus what a bad sales interaction looks like, and being able to switch when things don’t go to plan.

Some of the key elements of that it your mind set, your energy and your level of motivation.

If you think your buyers hate you, and that’s the reason they’re pushing you for discounts or not returning your calls, then get some time with a sales coach, your mentor or your boss and talk this out.

Buyers don’t hate sales people, good buyers know that a good sales person will help then do their job better.

2. Price isn’t the only objection, he’s interested in reducing risk too

Some sales people start off on the back foot when the conversations get on to price. Primarily because they don’t believe their own sales pitch, the minute price is mentioned the sales person gets defensive.

So, what does this make the buyer do? It makes him question what you’re trying to hide, why you’ve suddently gone all earnest and therefore what he’s missed.

In reality a buyer is as concerned about value and risk as much as he is concerned about price.

Don’t be the sales guy that gets defensive, focuses on price, panics, discounts, then stalkers the buyer.

Buyer’s don’t like that.

Instead, have some pride in your price. Never give a price until you’ve been able to demonstrate value. Relate any price you do give back to the value the buyer will get and the risk it will remove, and the problem your solution will solve.

For a buyer, price is just one of the jigsaw pieces, don’t be the sales guy who makes the buyer think you have something to hide by making it the only jigsaw piece.

If you can’t be proud of your price, your value and your solution…why are you still working here?

3. He does hate know-it-all jack asses

You know the type, the sale person who infers the buyer has only ever made poor decisions, and the buyer should thank his lucky stars that he’s now speaking with an expert.

So, to avoid this, next time you’re trying to engage the buyer remember that prescription before diagnosis is malpractice, so instead of questioning the buyer’s judgement, how about you ask a few questions so you understand his decision making process, his buying process, and his reasons.

Might be a great start, before you start pitching in with your ‘saving the world’ solution.

There is no quicker way to identify yourself to the buyer as a fool than to go down this route, but then I guess if that’s the case any sales call best practice has totally passed you by.

Closely tied to this is; Listen and Get Curious, which we’ll deal with later

4. He wants a peer to peer exchange with you, not a sales pitch.

If you have a lock, load, release type sales pitch when you meet the buyer that’s a disaster. And you’re begging for a fast decision that’s likely to be NO!

So, instead of blowing the deal before it starts, how about asking some big open questions? Or maybe giving your buyer a 30 second run down of why you thing he needs to speak with you. Maybe you’d gain some brownie points by telling the buyer this might not be for him, but you wanted to give him the opportunity to make an informed decision, rather than make an assumption?

5. Buyers first question is not ‘how good is this product and how much does it cost’

Sales people often think this is a buyers first concern, actually it’s not. Well not all ways anyway.

Quite often the buyer is wondering if the sales guy can be trusted, if he knows what he’s talking about and if, in the vent of their being a problem, the buyer can work with the sales guy to work it out.

Secondary to that the buyer might be wondering if the sales person would be a good person to know, if he’s experienced, and if he’s not just shifting orders but interesting in delivering value.

So, let’s put it this way, your product, service is often not as important as the person selling it!

6. Buyers will suss out your competitors

They’d be mugs if they didn’t. So they will see who else is claiming to do what you do. That’s a given.

So next time, why not help your buyer and tell him who you share some of your competitive space with. Note, I didn’yt say who your competitors were, because, if you are genuinely offering the value you should be, then you won’t have competitors, you’ll have ‘wannabee you’ shadows, the aspiration crowd who haven’t quite reached your level of excellence.

So, point your buyer in their direction and give him a summary of their strengths and weaknesses, prompt him regarding what questions he might want to ask them.

And, by the way, if you’re scared to do this, you need to talk to me about Sales Innovation and Disruption Sessions

7. Your buyer does hate it when you don’t do your research.

If you want to let him know you think his business is low level and not worth your effort or your time then try this. Engage with the buyer without having done any research on his business, his sector, the market conditions, his competitors, and then see how far the conversation goes.

So, don’t be the random cold calling sales person, just getting high talk time and dials in, spend some time thinking about how you’re going to net the great prospects by working smarter.

8. He wants a win-win.

Most buyers aren’t out to fleece you. They want a fair deal. For the both of you.

So, the quicker the you show him where the win is, the quicker he’s on board. So, be ready with the sales ROI outline, case studies, testimonials, references and social proof.

9. Most buyers don’t make buying decisions in isolation

That means when he says he needs to talk to his team, that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Does that mean you have to fall for that old sales fob off – ‘I need to talk to my team? Of course not.

Instead understand that whilst he may have the final say, he probably will need to check in with the implementation guys, the users, the compliance team, the IT guys…all depending on what you’re selling.

So next time, when you’re talking with the buyer, how about you find out who else is in the decision making process and make friends with these guys too.

Spend some time talking to them to understand what their needs are, what their thinking is and what buying criteria they will use to decide if you’re in or out.

Sales call best practice means yuo don’t get caught out when the buyer goes to his influencers and users and finds out they’ve already decided what solution they want…and it isn’t yours.

Do your back up work early on.

10. Buyers expect you to profile them.

That means they expect you to ask if they are the decision maker, if they have the budget to make the purchase, if they have the authority to say yes and if a time table has been agreed.

They expect you to ask them these questions, because they know this is your job.

A serious buyer won’t mind you asking.

You should also know that if you don’t ask these questions, then your serious buyer might not take you so seriously.

So, don’t be afraid to BANT.

If you’re dealing with professional buyers (in line with sales call best practice) then this is business as usual.

11. It’s ok to set an agenda of expectations for every stage in the sales process.

in fact, if your sales calls are seemingly a tad random, then you might want to revisit your sales call best practice.

Your buyer knows that it’s you job to keep the sale on track, so he’s ok with you calling up for a very specific reason, he knows you’re not calling up to touch base or to shoot the breeze.

So, when you ask him for a date to call back on a critical decision, he’s ok with you referencing that on your next contact.

This is a win win remember. So if you’re doing your job and keeping the sales process on track then that;s one less think for the buyer to worry about.

12. The buyer doesn’t mind sharing his buying criteria with you, or his decision making process.

But he does expect you to ask.

He’s not always going to volunteer.

The buyer knows once he’s shared that information with you, you both have a common road map, and you’ve both established trust.

So ask, because him volunteering is unlikely. He wants you to earn your commission after all

13. The buyer is not interested in features…

He is interested in benefits. Don’t forget your buyer will probably have to go and sell your product/service to another team of buyers internally.

Make it easy for him to convince them.

Give him all the red sparkly ammo he needs to get a rousing standing ovation because he found such a great supplier.

14. Your buyer expects you to be direct.

Want to know something – ask.

Need to share something – share.

No-one has enough time for you to waste. Cut to the chase and don’t apologise.

15. Your buyer expects you to make him look like a super star!

This has to be the cornerstone of all sales call best practice.

You really need no explanation for this on…but if you do, then here it is.

Your job is not to put the buyer in a position where he has to apologies for you. Where he has to justify your actions. Or explain why and how you’ve let the business down.

Your buyers brand value, his personal stock value, should increase as a result of him banging you to the table.

16. Sometimes your buyer just expects you to just shut up and listen.

After all, you’ve asked all those great questions. So listen.

Plus, it’s the ultimate respect you can pay your buyer for extending to you the opportunity to talk/meet.

He’s sharing with you because he hopes to get some value back.

So listening is a must.

Trust me, a buyer who doesn’t feel listened to, won’t be sold to.

You can’t listen yourself out of a sales…but I’ve seen lots of people talk themselves out of a sales order,

Don’t be that sales guy.

17. Your buyer will give you all the information your need to close him – Curiosity will get you further than you think. 

I’ve seen sales people with very little training close huge deals. I’ve seen very experienced sales people fall at the final sales hurdle. Sales people go through peaks and troughs, losing deals they should have won, and then being unexpectedly been give a gift of a sales order.

Life is like that as a sales person.

So, when you find am element of sales call best practice that is an absolute. A classic cornerstone of your trade.

Work it.

Every time.

Curiosity is never misplaced.

It never goes out of fashion, just like listening, no one ever lost a deal because they were too curious.

Too jaded, already got the answers, I’ve heard it all before….get rid of this mind set if you’re serious about being a high performance sales professional.

Your buyer has all the information you need. It’s all inside his head.

All you have to do is to get him to share it with you.

Get curious about everything.

Summary: Sales Call Best Practice

Your buyer is not your enemy during the sales process, he is your closest ally and you are his.

It’s a sales win-win.

Or it’s a no deal.

Remembering best call sales practice might help you decide what to do and how to behave with your next sales prospect.

Good sales prospects are rarely in infinite supply, so even if they aren’t going to do business with you know…fostering good will, a professional demeanor and a detailed qualifying process will serve you well when the time is right to do business

Reviewing your personal sales call best practice is a critical skill.

It takes honesty and self awareness to be able to reflect and in doing so change your patter.

But it’s worth it.

Being able to do this will help you understand where you’re viewing yourself in relation to your buyer, and just remember, you are never any higher or any lower than your buyer, you’re in this together.

Plus, sales call best practice allows you to revisit the very basics occasionally, perhaps where your not getting the results you want, a key sale is stuck or you’re repelling more buyers than your attracting.

Happy Selling

p.s. To receive free sales and business development insights straight into your inbox every week, register for your free subscription to The Advanced Business Achiever.

If you’re looking for bespoke sales and business development training, you can contact us ion carol@mortonkyle.com or on 0779 002 1885

And if you’re unsure how to fully release all that sales potential that’s wrapped up in your sales team, but don’t know where to start, then talk to us about our Sales Insight Audit.

Sales call best practice is one of the most important foundations of good sales efforts, dictating how you present yourself, how you interact with your prospects and how your brand is perceived by your target sector.

If you’ve identified any of these issues within your sales team – check out our easy to download sales training packages – you can find details here – How to Win at Sales – Download B2B Sales Training Courses

Free Sales Health Check | Book Now

Free Sales Health Check | Book Now

The Free Sales Health Check – Your first step on your road to sales clarity and focus.

Book now for your Free Sales Health Check

If you’re struggling to see the real potential of your sales team…

When you’re tired of wondering if your expectations are too high, or if the market is really that tough…

If you feel your sales team should be delivering at a higher level…

Or maybe it’s as simple as you know something needs to change in the sales team, but you just don’t know what or where to start…

Worry No More | Book your Free Sales Health Check Now

I focus on looking at the easy wins in your sales team. After all this is the home of the 30 day Fast Track Sales Improvement plan and the Plug and Play Modular Sales Improvement System.

I’ve found, over 25 years that Sales improvement need not be complex, and it rarely requires drastic action.

But it does involve you knowing what’s  causing your sales problems.

Because once you know that, you can apply your wisdom and knowledge, and considerable focus to solve the issue/s.

That’s where your free sales health check starts.

Book Now

It’s two hours…to discuss any sales issues you have.

You can send across anything you need pre-event.

We can focus on a very specific issue or sales performance in more general terms.

The choice is yours. All yours.

In total confidence.

And there will be no sales pitch – this is a free exchange of information.

Just call 0114 236 1221 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Why?

I’ve spent the last 14 years doing mainly sales turnarounds, sales builds, sales rescue and sales improvement programs, training sales teams in highly competitive environments, structuring sales teams, sales functions, sales process and sales strategy.

Now I have lots of sales insights and I need to commoditise those, but first I need to understand what some of the biggest sales challenges are out there, for firms in all sectors, all sizes and all ages.

So you see, you’ll be helping me as much as I’m helping you.

Fair? I think so…do you?

Terms 

For the reason above, this is a very limited offer and may be on offer infrequently as the business transitions, however, I aim to engage withing 24 hours of receiving your booking request, and aiming for the consultation to take place no later than one week after we set a date.

If you’re still thinking about it…pick up the phone anyway, 10 mins and we’ll know if it is worth your time.

Just call 0114 236 1221 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Whilst you’re thinking, here are some of the subjects we’ve covered recently: how to roll out price increases when the competitors are discounting, how to recruit better quality sales people who stay longer than 6 months, how to remove a long serving sales manager who’s not responding to the needs of the business, how long to give a new sales team before starting formal performance management, what should a good commission structure look like, increasing activity levels without everyone claiming over work, qualifying great sales prospects, what should a good sales process look like…

What do you want to talk about?

New Starters Sales Training

New Starters Sales Training

New starter sales training has to take in so many things.

First of all, these people are new.

They may not know heaps about your products, services, competitors, industry trends, jargon, key players…and the list goes on.

And, they might not have a great deal of sales experience.

Maybe you’ve recruited people who have a great attitude. People culturally aligned with your business values. People with great energy, drive and ambition. Maybe you’ve decided to ‘grow your own’ sales talent…

So, it’s definitely not about polishing existing skills.

It’s about building the rock solid sales foundations so that the new starter can thrive in their new environment.

It’s as much about confidence, motivation, freedom to fail, learning to dance with the prospects.

Having some good quality, no hassle, no pressure, personable sales conversations.

So, Where Do You Start?

First of all, acknowledge that Rome wasn’t built in a day!

This means critically thinking about how the new starter can be of value to the business from day one whilst they’re learning the ropes, and all the time moving towards that front line sales role you’re recruited them for.

But even more important than that, is getting the new starter to feel confident and motivated in their new environment.

Quite often this means giving them a sense of purpose. A very specific set of self measuring tasks so they get to take in relevant and valuable information whilst being of value and gaining a sense of their contribution to the sales function.

And that looks like?

That depends on you, the firm, the team structure.

Some firms chose to have the new recruit doing lead research and gate keeper type list building tasks.

Other firms have new recruits list cleaning.

So do lost sales calls – very simple market research questions about current usage, number of users, next chance to quote, what would be need to do differently? Why didn’t we win it type of carefully structured calls.

It all depends upon the circumstances in your business.

And this is important.

It’s important because no one gets to be a sales super star in one day.

So, the worse thing you can do in taking on new sales recruits is to take them on, give them a desk and hand a target around their neck. That’s not good for them, and it’s not going to be good for your business either.

Fly or die isn’t a line I hear very much at all, and if I do hear it in a sales function, I only tend to hear it once.

What Else to Consider in New Start Sales Training?

Well, the first sales you make should always be to the sales person, right?

Because if the sales person is not sold on your product/service then there is no way your prospects will ever be sold on them. That’s just a simple fact of sales life.

So start with very simple product knowledge, competitors, strengths/weaknesses, trends/fashions.

Sell you to new sales recruit like they’re the most important sales prospect in your sales pipeline.

If you’ve picked the right person, they will be hungry for knowledge and have tonnes of questions.

And if you’ve picked the wrong person, shucks, here’s where you find that out too!

Find a Champion

Find the new recruit a mentor, someone in the business who has the time, tenacity, intelligence and communication skills to guide the your investment through the early stage angst, self doubt and steep learning curve.

This mentor can also ensure you don’t keep the new recruit in the nursery pen too long.

You see, there is no universal solution, no universal plan, and if you try to impose a one size fits all solution, you’ll lose the best people, you’ll just not be moving fast enough for them. You know what that will leave you with right?

Well what about sales training…when does that start?

First of all reflect on why you recruited this person.

Then recognise that trying to get them to be the sales person you want them to be by following highly scripted call flows is just one way to go, the other way would be to see what sort of sales skills they develop once they are immersed in the sales function and being mentored by a responsible leader.

Then it’s time to look at the new starter sales training. After all it’s a big investment and any business would be wise to play to the new recruits strengths and not try to impose some meaningless generic sales sales course that has no context or relevance.

Also, be flexible on what you new starter sales training looks like.

Some people work better using a sales coaching model. Others like, and respond well to directed self learning and peer discussion.

If that’s not available then why not reflect on the self learning and self development culture you have in your business.

The Bottom Line

Sales has come a long way in the last 2/3 years, so have the routes to increasing the sales skill sets and building sales intelligence in your teams.

Good sales recruits are harder to find, although they are out there. However, more and more firms are looking at ‘grow your own sales talent’. That’s great, as long as you realise that it’s a huge commitment, with an extended pay back when done correctly.

If you’re looking at adding to your sales team and want to explore the new starter sales training programs, you can contact Morton Kyle on 0114 236 1221 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

New starter sales training could be the answer if you’re business is tired of paying over the odds for jaded sales ‘professionals’. You know, those who have done the obligatory circuit around all of your competitors. If you’re looking to create a sales function where you don’t need to waste time unpicking the unhealthy sales habits, or you’re simply looking for the business culture you know you can create when attitude and enthusiasm means more that sales experience in your industry.

Happy Selling

p.s. To get free sales, business development and sales improvement tips straight to your inbox, perfect for sales meeting, daily sales huddles and sale coaching – hit the link Advanced Business Achiever

Also:

If you’re looking for a sales improvement program for your existing sales team – you can check out Online Sales Training – TurboCharged Sales, or come along to our Sales Improvement Workshops, running monthly

And if your sales function is performing below expectation – we have a range of tailored Sales Assessment and Sales Audits available to suit all firms and challenges.

Training Needs Analysis for Sales People – When, Why and How.

Training Needs Analysis for Sales People – When, Why and How.

Training Needs Analysis for Sales People

Training Needs Analysis is so much more than you might think.

Many successful sales teams will undertake a Sales Training Needs Analysis maybe once a year. Some maybe only when they think about buying sales training in….sometimes never.

But anyone looking for Continuous Sales Improvements uses Sales Training Needs Analysis in another way, and here’s why.

Sales results are impacted by many things. Many factors you have control over and a few are at the whim and will of prospects, competitors, fashion trends, and a myriad of other number of random factors

Two of the key areas where you do get to really influence sales results is, firstly, the level of Sales Activity in your team, and secondly, the level of Sales Skills within the team.

Both can be controlled. But they can only be controlled if they are measured.

Few sales firms today get by without the Sales KPIs or Sales Metrics (If you want to see what sort of sales metrics were recommend then check this out – The 7 Sales Metrics You Must Measure, Manage and Monitor)

But measuring Sales Skills is a whole different board game and one that, by it’s very nature, is measured less frequently, and it tends to be measured more subjectively. Yet the wins in having an ongoing Sales Training Needs Analysis are plenty.

When to Conduct Training Needs Analysis

Every day!

I know, how scary is that? Well not as scary as you might think, and here is why.

Imagine your activity levels are optimised within the sales team. The target data is as good as you can get (good but not perfect). The only real controllable variable is the sales skills and the attitude of the sales person/people.

Assuming it’s a good environment, staff are motivated and the sales process is proven to deliver then the real variable is sales skills.

That being the case – there is a direct relationship between sales skills and sales results. It seems obvious. It is.

BUT many firms buy into the idea that sales results, or rather, lack of sales results, has more to do with the myriad of uncontrollable factors as opposed to the level of sales skills and sales competency.

I want you to get rid of that idea now.

Measuring key sales metrics every day is your ONGOING Sales Training Needs Analysis.

Why Ongoing Training Needs Analysis is a Good Idea.

To really impact the sales results and rapidly improve sales performance there is one single document that you need.

A Sales Leakage Report. All the information you will ever need, and all on one page, to rapidly and continually improve every aspect of your sales results and your sales performance.

Your Sales Leakage Report is contained in your Sales Insight, the Morton Kyle Fast Action Sales Audit.

Think about your DAILY Sales Leakage Report as giving you immediate feedback.  Day by day, hour by hour insight into the specific skills development actions you need to undertake in order to directly and positively impact sales.

In fact, every single day you get a red light in the key areas of development where you need to concentrate your sales coaching and mentoring. No more wasted time. Maximise sales results in the shortest possible time.

If you’ve ever thought that Continuous Sales Improvement wasn’t possible within your business. Think again!

Ongoing daily Training Needs Analysis is the fastest way to target growth.

How Ongoing Training Needs Analysis Works

You, as the sales leader, manager, coach only spend time on key areas of sales performance improvement.

You’ll get continuous alerts to the worst skill set within the sales team. This is broken down by individual, so you are acting with laser precision when you deliver coaching/mentoring/training.

Which means turnaround is fast.

The sales team don’t feel over managed.

The rate of development of the sales team and the individual sales people is rapid.

You create an environment of self regulating and self managed sales professionals.

You have scalability within your sales function…

And, it’s well within the scope of any sales leader to spend some time everyday coaching. Especially with lazer focus to address what will bring in the easiest wins fastest.

To discuss the Sales Insight Audit or any aspect of your sales performance, contact me for a discreet chat on 0779 002 1885 or carol@mortonkyle.com

Happy Selling

Carol

P.S. Get your free subscription to The Advanced Business Achiever here, it’s a weekly (non-spam) insights into how to create more sales, faster and with higher margins.

P.P.S. Hit the link to instantly download your Free Sales Training Needs Analysis Template

Three Sales Myths That Cost You Sales – BUSTED!

Three Sales Myths That Cost You Sales – BUSTED!

Sales Insight

Every business leader craves real, meaningful and timely sales insight. If that’s what’s bough you to this page then check this out

Meaningful sales insight is so important, especially since much of the information floating about will leave you mired in superstition and folklore…not so good when you’re aiming for sales improvement.

I’m a scientist at heart. That means all things are semi-predictable and there is typically a cause and effect at play somewhere along the line, you’ve just got to dive in far enough to find it.

That’s why sales myths like this just blow my mind (and not in a good way) so here they are – busted once and for all.

MYTH 1: It Takes 7 Touch Points to Make a Sale…

Sure if you’re THAT incompetent…hell, let’s make it 25 and really over egg the pudding.

First Fact – the longer the sales cycle the greater the chance of the competition joining the party. That what you want?

Second Fact – with more touch points, I guarantee, you won’t be increasing the sense of urgency, you’ll subconsciously telling the prospect he’s got all the time in the world.

Third Fact – who has that much time to WASTE?

Fourth Fact – ok budgets are on hold for specific release dates, decision makers are sometimes wrapped in endless buying criteria cycles and decision making nightmare. BUT…if your sales contact plan is predicated on 7 touches you might be giving the sales cycle just a bit too much time

Sales Insight 1: Understanding the decision making process and the buying process is key to shortening the sales cycle.

To find out how to REALLY SHORTEN the sales cycle, kick the competition out and engage the prospect in the SHORTEST possible time – check this out

MYTH 2: There is Less Competition in the Extra Mile

You’ll all have seen the stats claiming that most sales people give up after 2 follow up attempt. The same stats that claim most orders are placed after 12 follow up attempts. Is this true?

So what do these stats actually tell you?

  • Some sales guys are cut and run merchants?
  • Sales guys are super hot at qualifying and have made a commercial decision to ditch a prospect who’s not worth the time/effort investment?
  • Some ales guys can’t invoke prospect urgency and curiosity in any shorter time frame?
  • Some sales guys are stalkers? (12 follow up calls and I’d be changing my telephone number if I were the prospect!!!)
  • Prospects are just playing the long game?Trying to get the sales guy to panic and drop the price (‘cos that never happens!!!)
  • Sales guys can’t close!

Any, all, some, none of the above could be true.

But, based on 20 years experience let me tell you what I know:

  • Most sales guys don’t know how to shorten the sales cycle, and this is simply because they often don’t think to, which means they don’t ask for the buying criteria or the decision making criteria before they invest their valuable time in the sales process.
  • Sales guys who maybe lack a little focus and who don’t love new business development typically fall in to the Sales Stalker camp. It’s easy there, they feel busy, they can boast about the value in their sales pipeline…
  • Prospects are not always fast to make decisions – that’s why having the sales person create urgency is sooooo very important.
  • Some sales prospects will drag their heels because they just KNOW that it’s the fastest way for the sales guy to get nervous and drop the price (smart prospect huh?)

Do I believe the stats? Maybe…

Do I think it’s good use of a sales persons time to chase 12 times? Rarely…

I’d rather have a process that didn’t rely on that…if you’d like the same process – check this out

Sales Insight 2: Getting in principal decisions/agreements at every stage of the buying cycle/decision making process is critical to ensure your buyer is not simply a chattering head with no intention of committing.

MYTH 3: Sending 20 Sales Emails is as Good as Having 20 Decision Maker Sales Conversations

Internet businesses are springing up all over, telephone numbers are disappearing from websites, everything is done via a contact form or an email.

Why is that important? Well these firms boom, record sales, mega growth and wow. All supposedly on the back of email and online interactions. That’s amazing.

And it’s turning the heads of B2B sales people because they got to thinking that people buy from emails, that people will read 12 page email brochures, that buyers click a few buttons and send the purchase order.

Oh if only.

Sales guys think a great email is as good as a great sales conversation. NO WAY!

I’ve seen good sales people fail miserably because they forget (displacement activity) to pick up the phone every single chance they got. I mean really tanked. Off a cliff tanked.

Likewise, I’ve seen mediocre sales people smash sales targets because they worked the most effective sales channel harder than their email writing, social media surfing, LinkedIn connectors!

Sales Insight 3: Look – both routes work. But neither route works to the exclusion of the other.

Sure, social media is great for research, relationship building, building highly qualified lists of prospects. But it’s the sort of activities that can be done at any time, BUT not during core selling hours and not to the exclusion of picking up the telephone.

So What?

I did a sales audit last week. Some sales guys were spending as little as 20 mins a day on the telephone and the Sales Director wondered why sales results were nowhere near what they needed.

Strangely no-one could really identify where the rest of the day went. They just knew that it went. The figures showed that wherever it went, it wasn’t on generating sales, feeding a pipeline or creating value that prospects were prepared to pay for…so, go figure.

We need to understand what sales channels work best, and work those, because that’s where the sales results are.

The Sales Improvement Workshop is designed specifically to get the juice back in to talking to prospects. Get the sales function having proper sales based conversations. Sharing sales insight. Delivering business development and sales techniques that will destroy all the myths that are leading to sales people losing focus.

This course can be delivered internally or it’s run monthly in Sheffield. Just call or email to discuss which option is better for you, contact details are below.

What Next?

Book Your Sales Audit. If you’re looking to improve your sales results, then before you do anything, book your Sales AuditIt’s the fastest way to identify all those areas that are stopping you getting the sales results you deserve. Delivering sales insights that allow for targeted and focused sales interventions…instead of buying into the the sales folklore and myths currently derailing your sales results.

Book now.

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com 0779 002 1885

p.s. You can also subscribe to a free weekly sales insight and business development newsletter. I’s great for supporting daily sales huddles, internal sales training and sales coaching sessions. Subscribe here – The Advanced Business Achiever 

 

 

Sales Detox

Sales Detox

When Did Sales Get So Complicated?

Simple sales plan? Really?

It seems tough to open my inbox some days without getting a flood of information on new sales techniques, tips on how to be a better influencer, how to close every deal first time and make all your prospects swoon at the thought of getting a call from you…

it’s just wow…

Nearly 20 years ago I read quite a bit of this stuff. Yes, STUFF!

I was a proactive sales person, keen to be at the top of my game, every little bit helps and you can’t out earn your learning right? So I dutifully got stuck in…

Some of it worked, most didn’t. I learned a lot…how to test new approaches. Elements needed revising. Some ditching totally…but the new insights pushed me on so it was all worth while.

Now…could I do the same if I was an ambitious sales person? Not a chance.

There’s just too much information. Swamped in it. And that’s coming from someone who can scan and speed read with the best!

Too Much to Concentrate On?

Absolutely too much to concentrate on.

But should it really be that complicated?

Especially when all we’re really looking for is a simple sales plan that works for us, and that’s the same whether you’re a lone sales person looking to get a higher level of sales output (MORE BONUS), or you’re a sales leader building a sales function that delivers (MORE PROFIT, MORE MARKET SHARE. MORE CUSTOMERS).

So, after all this time, I think there are three strands at the crux of this:

  1. There is no ONE universal simple sales plan…once we get over that it’s easy to stop seeking the unicorn
  2. The only simple sales plan is the one that works for you
  3. You need to build it…and keep building it

Does that make you feel any better? Any more motivated?

Better, maybe not.

Motivated, then I hope so.

Because it’s full and total permission to create your best ever sales pitch, your best ever sales process and your world class sales funnel which will deliver the financial rewards you need, and because, well, if you don’t do it then no-one will do it for you!

Make the Most Important Thing THE Most Important Thing!

And that’s the crux of it.

But toachieve that you need total and absolute clarity on what it is you’re doing and how each activity relates to your ultimate one and only goal…because that will dictate YOUR simple sales plan.

Once you can isolate every single element of your sales recipe and the activities that sit behind it, you’d be surprised at how simple sales really is…and therefore how simple sales improvement really is

Once you have that total and absolute clarity then you can start the improvement process AND see results. Quickly.

As an individual sales person, that relies on you knowing your sales recipe, and how that relates to your results and ultimately your bonus.

As a sales leader, it still relates to your sales recipe – but this time it’s reflected in the activities of your whole sales team.

To fully understand more about the Sales Recipe and what it means for you – check this out The Sales Recipe – What Sales Metrics to Use

The Simple Sales Plan

Once you’ve developed your simple sales plan, the plan that works for your, gives you the sales results you want, when you want them, as often as you won’t them…then you’re in danger of becoming legendary.

Now doesn’t that sound better than the alternative?

Happy Selling

Carol

p.s. If you’re looking for a massive step up and embedding this in your business you can check out Sales Insight or you can hit the phone/email on 0779 002 1885 or carol@mortonkyle.com

How to Close Profitable Sales

How to Close Profitable Sales

How to Close Profitable Sales – What Do You Need To Know?

Discover how to close profitable sales and it saves time, turnover, profit, reputation, resources and sanity.

Get it wrong and welcome to inaccurate sales forecasts, deals left wide open for the competitors to walk into and pick up, profit drains, instability and poor ability for forecast.

Knowing how to close profitable sales could be the difference between a high stress low margin sales environment and a solid, stable sales machine.

How to Close Profitable Sales?

Golden Rule: Always be prepared to leave a deal on the table.

Any exceptions to this? Not that I can think of.

Let the deal mature. Keep in contact, keep it warm, but hold the line.

Just because the buyer hasn’t snapped your hand off on receipt of the proposal, just because they haven’t got back to you when they said then would, and just because they haven’t responded to your email….

Just hold fire.

None of this means the deal is dead.

Avoid falling into the trap many sales people will happily dive head first into given the first sign of coolness from the Buyer.

You see, a regular jobbing sales person will get scared.

At the first sign of coolness from the prospect, they’ll simply assume the deal is being made with a competitor and they’re missing out.

It’s not always the case.

In fact, it’s often NOT the case.

Not Every Sale is a Good Sale!

A sale at any cost is just a race to the bottom.

And, typically the first reaction to a ‘cooler’ buyer is to start panicing, and try to cut a deal.

Any deal.

The first thing to get a hair cut is the price…margins get stripped out in exchange for a speedy signature on the dotted line.

WOW…savvy Buyer who uses that trick…stall a few days and watch the price crumble…first lesson in Purchasing School.

But what if the Buyer then accepts your lower price and STILL drags his heels?

You’ll knock the price back up to the higher, original level?

Good luck with that…please write and let me know how you get on.

The truth is – panic, negotiate and you’ll drop credibility and the business loses profit…and you’ve got to work hard to replace what you originally had, or could have had.

Congratulations, welcome to the Hamster Wheel….start running!

Lesson? You know the lesson….hold the line.

Want to Improve Your Profitable Close Rate?

Get a great deal to the table, lock it in and leave it there.

Here’s how.

Of course, make sure you keep in contact with the Buyer, make sure the Buyer has everything needed to make their decision in your favour.

But, the cast iron opportunity to REALLY protect yourself from this panic driven desperation, that costs you your reputation, credibility, pipeline, margin, commission and self respect, is to look at what’s happening during the sales process and how you interact with the buyer.

Closing Well Means Nothing If Your Sales Pitch Stinks!

Think about this…because it matters a lot if you want to discover how to close profitable sales

During your sales demonstration, you will have been careful to build a strong relationship with the Buyer, to do this you’ll have:

  • Checked and double checked you’re dealing with the decision maker because your time, expertise and insights are too precious to waste.
  • Checked budget and budget availability because you don’t want to spend time with the wrong person or zero budget prospects
  • Mapped the decision making process with the decision maker because that’s how you keep track of where you both are.
  • Uncovered the buying criteria because you need to know their expectations and buying pathways.
  • Uncovered the date the decision will be made by, based on when the product/solution need to be in place, because this will help you track the deal though your sales funnel and sales pipeline
  • Gained the prospect’s trust and asked detailed questions around implications associated with the purchase because you need to understand motivators and pain points.
  • Explored the extent of their relationships with your competitors and potential substitute solutions, or work arounds, because this tells you how much they need/don’t need your product/service
  • Investigated possible hurdles too because you need to explore these thoroughly and early on in the sales pitch
  • Coaxed out explicit and implicit objections and dealt with them because you NEVER want to have these bite you right before signatures are due.
  • Been able to provide some kind of financial indicator, maybe not an absolute figure, but a range; and in doing so you’ll have been able to assess, respond to and justify your costing in a totally transparent way because a robust ROI is one of the biggest closing techniques you’ll have access to.

You’ll have done all that won’t you?

If you haven’t then check this out….How to Sell.

As a result you’ll also have formed a relationship of value, integrity and openness, for both of you.

These are the very basics. Miss any of these elements out at your peril.

With all that done, have some faith.

Will all that in place how to close profitable sales just becomes a question of timing, not skill.

What Else Can You Do To Close the Sale and Get the Order?

Hold the line….BUT keep this in mind:

The In Principle Decision

 The order’s not in until the signature is on the dotted line, but that doesn’t stop you asking for an in principle decision, such that your buyer gives you a ‘yes’ pending agreeing a date to get the actual order signed and back to you.

Own It!

It doesn’t stop you being highly assumptive.

I see a million sales a year drop through the cracks because the sales person is way too reticent in claiming ownership of the order and letting the prospect know that they have claimed responsibility for the order and getting it to order completion.

Own it! Push it!

Make it Easy for the Buyer to Say YES!

Your aim through this whole process is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to say yes.

Take all the pain away, all the admin, all the responsibility to getting the order signed off, such that all the buyer is required to do is to email you a P.O.

Make Friends with the Decision Making Family

Make sure you’ve got all the influencers, all the referrers, all the other decision makers lined up and in agreement with your solution.

Sure, this is hard work…it takes time.

It costs a lot, but it’s worth a lot.

Having done all of that here’s what you don’t do.

What You Don’t Do If You Want To Close Profitable Sales.

You Don’t Panic

Silence is NOT a coded message from the Buyer for you to think ‘Let’s call the prospect and halve the price’…unless that’s how YOU interpret and YOU react.

You’d be surprised how many sales people have that very strong connect in their head.

It’s deadly.

You Don’t Assume – ASK!

You’ve build a good relationship with the Buyer, you can ask some direct questions.

What’s the hold up?

Is there any other information you need from me?

Do I need to meet with anyone else to expedite this through for you?

Are you going to place your order with my business?

Has anything changed since we met?

Is there anyone else involved that I’m not aware of? 

How to Close Profitable Sales and NOT Panic

So, here are a few things you can do to ring fence the times when you may be left hanging, and to prevent radio silence from the prospect:

  • Put an expiry date on all of your proposals.
  • Make sure you get a firm ‘yes’, even in principle, before you leave the meeting.
  • You must ask for the business as part of your sales demonstration.
  • Don’t leave the meeting without closing. Closing with the promise to send an email proposal will make you a busy sales person, not a rich one.

Stop Working for Zero Reward

If you’re serious about closing profitable sales then this is an absolute must, which you can choose to ignore this at your peril.

How and when you set this up will either make you a busy admin gofer, or will make you a fortune.

You pick!

Let me ask you:

What’s the one question you could ask, once the Buyer has told you that you’ve got his business ‘in principle’ that would indicate to you what the buyer’s real intent is?

Just one question…

Do you know what it is?

Any idea?

It’s this:

That’s great Mr Buyer, I’m so glad we’ve got this opportunity to work together, now, do you have your diary for next week, I can come back in on Wednesday or Thursday to go through the paper work with you, explain the quote/conditions in full and answer any questions you have, and the you can place your order. Now, which one of those days is better for you?

That’s it.

One question.

Will save you a fortune in time, selling time and admin time, it will save you chasing quotes that won’t fall in your favour, it will prevent you forecasting a deal that’s never going to materialise… it will tell you if you’re dealing with a buyer who is actually willing to do business with you.

Just one questions – the guess work and the mystery falls away.

Panic gone.

You know!

If you ask for an opportunity to come back in to present your proposal and the Buyer says ‘no’ then you have a very strong idea of where his intentions are.

That’s very useful.

Truly, very valuable.

It’s an opportunity for you to re-pitch, to re-explore, to challenge and re-close , or to move on.

So, having asked and secured the opportunity to come back and present the proposal, you can be confident that the only reason you are being accepted back to present a proposal is that the Buyer is sufficiently engaged and excited by what you had to say the last time you met.

And that the Buyer is ready to do business with you.

The Emotional Dip

But still, here’s what will have happened since you last met with the Buyer:

  • As time has passed his excitement will not have increased – it will have diminished and it will have diminished rapidly and steeply.
  • Plus, he may have seen your competitors, spoken with nay-sayers within the business, come up with a whole different list of potential objection or questions.
  • He may have ruminated on some of your words, some positively, some negatively, but the end results is that his thinking may be lacking the clarity it had when you last met.

The Second Meeting to Sign the Order – It’s Still a Sales Pitch!

In going back with the written proposal you have a chance to remind him of what his issues are, what the cost of not addressing those issues is, why he needs to get serious about addressing the issues now and why he should select you.

This is not a duplicate visit of the first meeting.

This meeting is a chance to reinvigorate, regenerate, re-engineer and revitalise the Buyer and get a signature.

You must walk through the door believing, acting and talking as if you’ve already won the business.

This is a highly assumptive pitch meeting and NOT a fact check.

This is about understanding how to close profitable sales because every Buyer contact is an opportunity to maximise your chances at getting the price you want and the order signed as fast as possible. To do that you must make every single Buyer interaction high value from the Buyer’s perspective. Otherwise you’re just one of the many push sales guys out there who have yet to discover how to close profitable sales with skill and mastery!

What to Tell the Buyer About the Second Meeting

When you book this meeting you must let the Buyer know that you will be returning to confirm the solution, answer any questions and get the order signed.

Get comfortable in using this language; in fact you should use this language.

Be absolutely clear with your language and your intent.

You’ve done all the hard work, this is not the time to be reticent and hang back.

This is the time to be confident.

After all, if the Buyer was going to reject you, he wouldn’t have given you all the information you need to generate a proposal.

Plus, being clear, succinct and direct when you book the second meeting, then everyone knows what is required of them at the next stage.

If you have the deal, the Buyer will easily agree to this request.

If you haven’t got the deal, and the Buyer, doesn’t want to tell you directly, then (if they are like many Buyers) they will decline or possibly accept then send you an email to cancel the second meeting. That’s how cowards behave.

The conversation might go something like this…

I’ll prepare the proposal based on my research to date and our conversations, specifically considering your challenges, timescales and budgets, so our next meeting can focus on moving forward, getting the order signed and what happens when we start supplying you. Is that ok with you?

Should it scare the buyer?

Not really.

What it should do is to focus the Buyer’s mind.

You need the Buyer to understand that you are there because you want to do business with him and are serious about working with his firm.

And that’s ok. He should be too.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In learning how to close profitable sales, it’s only to be expected that the Buyer might well push back a little, because he can see what his decision should be, but that doesn’t stop him fighting against it which means he may well end the meeting by asking you to give him time to think.

Here’s what you do:

You ask the following:

  • What is it specifically you need to think about, I’d be happy to help you work it through….
  • Can you give me some insight into what you are thinking, your initial reaction, at this moment?
  • Is it you think that the business/board won’t support you on this?
  • How viable is this proposition?
  • Does it seem viable and reasonable to you?
  • What are the further concerns I need to address?
  • Ok– is next Tuesday or next Thursday better for you, I’ll come in, answer any questions and collect the signed paperwork…

Couple of things you may be thinking here:

Are You Being Pushy?

Maybe.

A little back bone at this stage means that you should know exactly where you stand before you leave the Buyer’s office.

You know whether to spend any time on the proposal because, after all, writing proposals can take up huge amounts of time.

But more importantly the Buyer knows what you expect of him!

You are not just going to let him off the hook…drift off into the sunset and chalk this one up to ‘nice chat’ or ‘maybe sometime’

Especially not after you’ve done a thorough sales investigation, mapped out solutions, shared your expertise and vast experience, presented additional insights he’d not considered as well as help him work through the reality of his challenges and pathways to success….

If you have done your sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you have a right to ask these questions.

If you haven’t done the sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you’re not in a position to ask these questions.

Don’t even try, because you’ll sound like the worst kind of shiny suited wide boy because that just won’t wash with the buyer.

So, How to Close Profitable Sales…

Just remember, hold the line because after you’ve invested all this time and uncovered a viable prospect, and because, it’s just what you must do to maintain credibility (and self respect).

Getting comfortable with being in charge of the sales process, which means getting comfortable with the sign off stage because that’s how you close profitable sales, since it takes practice and backbone, learn to hold the line because it’s worth it.

For ongoing weekly insights into how you can boost sales, drive business development and accelerate your sales growth just hit the link here because it’s the fastest way to work on improving your overall sales skills.

How to Close Profitable Sales is just one blog of our articles – check out more insights into building a solid and stable sales pipeline, accelerating sales growth and closing good quality business, quickly by hopping over to our blog http://www.mortonkylesalesimprovement.com use the search function to find whatever you’re looking for.

You can check out some of our additional Sales Improvement Reports here:

How to Generate High Quality Sales Prospects

10 Steps to Out Sell the Competition

How You Can Increase Profits by Avoiding the Commodity Gap

How to Fill the Diary with High Quality Sales Appointments

How to Recruit the Best Sales Talent into Your Business and Reduce the Costly Risks

How to Close Profitable Sales (c) Morton Kyle Limited