How to Drive Sales Success with Process and Discipline - Part One

Part one of the Sales Success Formula transcript. Use these successful sales strategies to increase predictability, consistency, and results.

 

In the process of selling technology solutions, managing teams, and developing training programmes, I have invested over thirty years of my life in solving sales performance challenges and developing successful sales strategies. Since the frontiers of knowledge and human capabilities keep expanding, I see no end in site. Opportunities to keep getting better are infinite.

The Sales Success Formula is a development platform rather than a solution. Every sales environment is unique. Even if a company is offering the same products as it’s rivals it has a unique persona and appeal as does each individual in the company.

No standard formula can fit all environments.

Successful Sales Strategies

The formula describes a model for creating any number of unique sales guides. Each guide or manual provides a blueprint for a particular sales environment and specific instructions for the people operating in it.

Because the formula lays down a foundation of world class best practice, each business or sales team can adapt it to provide an extraordinary resource that is finely tuned to their needs.

Use the formula to apply thinking and intelligence to the steps in your sales process. It will help your to make many small improvements and perhaps a few significant leaps.

Applying the principles and solving the obvious problems will lead to significant sales performance improvement.

If you are inspired by the ideas encapsulated in this approach and need some support to put them into practice, we will be pleased to help. We may even be able to guarantee results.

Eliminating Uncertainty in the Sales Process

This is a transcription of the commentary accompanying part one of the video presentation. The narrative provides additional insights and ideas to help people use the formula presented in the video.

  • There are some basic questions that everyone asks when they buy anything significant. We refer to them as the top six customer questions. I’ll list them and explain how to structure a powerful response to each question.
  • If you have verifiable proof of value that is greater than your asking price, sales skills matter less. If you offer enough value, it doesn’t matter if your salesperson has a bad body odour. I’ll suggest some ways to recognise and articulate value.
  • The clearer your target, the better your aim. I’ll suggest some criteria to help you see prospects more clearly before you call on them.
  • Getting a hearing is about messaging, timing, and persistence. I’ll explain how to sway the odds in your favour and increase the number of prospects who engage.
  • Anticipating objections, constructing effective turn around responses, and learning to use them automatically will equip you to handle any challenge that you can imagine.
  • I’ll explain why using a sales process framework improves conversion rates and leads to more consistent results.
  • If you follow this guide and compile your own sales oracle, to multiply it’s value you will need to teach others how to use it. I’ll provide some principles that can be followed to maximise training effectiveness.
  • Using the formula is more difficult than understanding it. At the end of this session, I’ll explain how using our services to put these ideas into practice, will save time and increase sales performance

The Top Six Customer Questions 1. Who are [company]?

Characterising and positioning the Company in a memorable, succinct way conveys confidence and builds credibility. Having a prepared and rehearsed two to three sentence speech communicates professionalism. A top answer would communicate the industries or markets served, geographic presence, a layman's expression of the value created, time in business, and the size of the Company, said in less than 15 seconds.

2. What do you do for customers?

People who ask the second question want to know about the value the Company delivers.

A powerful response would include a short explanation of the top three ways that customers benefit. This too, communicates professionalism, credibility, and value.

3. Who are your top customers and what do you do for them specifically?

The third question reveals real interest. The questioner is seeking evidence that substantiates claims.

A satisfying answer would include three high impact examples of how the Company has helped specific customers.

4. How are you different from other companies who do similar things?

Someone who asks the fourth question is likely to be a buyer of the type of products or services you offer. The questioner wants to learn the differences between the products or services your Company provides and those offered by competitors.

A top answer will include between one and three clear distinctions supported by examples of how customers benefit. Differentiators might include proven success, specialist expertise, high levels of support, a solution oriented approach, or specific unique capabilities.

In each case, combining the statement with a brief example will add impact. Responding well to the differentiation question demonstrates competence, builds interest, and gives the buyer reasons to pay more attention.

5. Others have made convincing promises about these things and then not delivered. How can we be sure that you will do what you say you will?

Early in a sales conversation, customers are wary. They are concerned about being subjected to or persuaded by a clever pitch. Sometimes this concern is expressed as a challenging question like the example above. Even if a potential customer doesn’t challenge directly, this question is held in mind and answers sought indirectly.

A top answer would provide verifiable evidence of honesty and integrity. Possibilities include explanations of transparency, a list of standards conformed to, relevant accreditations, methodologies employed, guarantees, and customer references.

6. How could we be sure that we would get the best value if we came to you?

Customers know that they can set competitors against one another to test for best value. They also know that this is expensive and delays fulfilment of the need. Many customers prefer not to involve multiple competitors yet know that they risk paying too much if they neglect proper investigation. Question 6 arises when a customer prefers not to compete a requirement.

A top answer will reassure the customer that the Company is genuinely committed to delivering value. Using three verifiable justifications is usually all that is necessary. Examples include measurable return on investment, the number and status of satisfied customers, the method used to check market competitiveness, the method of calculating prices, and written guarantees.

Verifiable Proof of Value

If you did have food to sell and a list of hungry people, you might expect to make some sales. What is the bread? How much does what you sell, contribute to a customers bottom line?

To answer this question you need to have someone specific in mind so think of your best customer.

  • How does what you sell, save them money?
  • How does it save them time?
  • How does it help them win more customers?
  • How does it help them deliver better products or services?

Work out an actual amount for each question and then consider how you can verify your numbers with the customer. If you did this for several good customers, you would be much better able to provide verifiable proof that your stuff does what you claim for it and you will be much less dependent on interpersonal communication skills or the chance that your face fits.

Returning to the bread analogy, if you can see a person, you can tell if they are undernourished. The internet and the search tools have made if quite easy to look at companies and learn a lot about them without having called or spoken with anyone who works their. If you profile your best customers and use this as a template for recognizing suitable prospects, you will greatly reduce the time you waste on unproductive sales campaigns.

What do your Ideal Customers Look Like?

Three apprentice bowmen stand before their teacher.

“See that clay bird in yonder tree”, the teacher asked? They all nodded.

The teacher instructed the first student to take an arrow from his quiver, set it on his bow, and take aim at the clay bird. He did so and as he drew his bow, the teacher asked, “what do you see”? The student replied, “I see a tree in the orchard with a clay pigeon in it”. The teacher indicated that he should continue and make his shot. The arrow struck the ground a few meters from the tree.

The second student stepped forward for his turn and again the teacher asked what he saw. The student declared that he could see the branches of the tree, some leaves, and a clay pigeon. His arrow flew quite close to the pigeon and clattered through the tree.

The third student had a purposeful look on his face. As he took aim, his brow was furrowed with concentration. The teach asked once more, “What can you see”? “The eye of the bird” came the reply. “What else can you see?” asked the teacher. “Nothing” replied the student as he let his arrow fly. It flew true, straight into the eye of the clay pigeon.

This is the end of the narrative transcript for part one of  the Sales Success Formula.

The remaining four aspects of the formula are:

  • How to get through to more prospects and have your message acted upon
  • how to prepare solutions to all objections and obstacles encountered in the sales process 
  • how to leverage a sales process framework
  • how to make training more effective.

Read on, follow this link for part two of the transcript or watch the video.

The Sales Success Formula was written and narrated by Clive Miller

 

If you lack the time or resources to create successful sales strategies, make use of the Sales Success Formula. If you need additional resources to make things happen, we can help. Telephone +44 (0)1392 851500. We will be pleased to learn about your needs or talk through some options. Alternatively Send email to custserv@salessense.co.uk for a prompt reply or use the contact form here.

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