Work The (Sales) Process

I know sports is an often over used reference for analogies and making points in the business world, but when I see a brilliant, even courageous example I’ve just got to share it.

Maybe you saw it too.  It was the New England Patriots’ performance in the 2nd half of this year’s Super Bowl.  (disqualifier:  I’m not a Patriot’s fan, but I am a fan of winners)

Two things took place in the second half.

The first was something that was missing.   Maybe you saw it too.  Panic.

The Tom Brady-led offense marched down the field in typical, grinding Patriot fashion and scored.  I think that drive took 7 or 8 minutes.  That’s a lot of time off the clock.  The defense then did its job. Then the offense marched down and scored again.  And of course the rest is history.

Instead of panicking the Patriots committed to their process . The one that brought them to the dance. The one that has brought five rings for team Brady and Belichick.

There are two occasions where committing to a sales process pays off. One is when you’re down and need a comeback kind of year. Best to double down on the process. It’s really the only thing you do that you can control.

The other occasion is when you’re up and having a great year. Doubling down on your sales process prevents you from forgetting that effort, not luck will make you successful, year after year.

The second thing that took place at the Super Bowl second half was adjustments. Belichick didn’t do exactly the same game plan used in the first half because it wasn’t working in the first half. Adjustments were made within the process.

If your salespeople are struggling, you might need to coach to some adjustments, maybe related to target accounts, or messaging for sales calls, or even pricing strategies. But I hope you keep those adjustments within your sales process. Be sure your salespeople understand that’s what’s going on .

Good Selling,

Mark Sellers

Author The Funnel Principle (buy it here)

Next book: Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching

Interview of Mark by Red Cap Consulting Hugh Liddle

Interview of Mark by Linked In Guru Ted Prodromou

 

 

 

 

 

Sales Funnel Movement

Below is a transcript of this week’s video sales tip.

A key to any sales funnel success is movement – funnel sales opportunities moving closer to the ultimate objective – a close. Without movement of funnel opportunities your funnel is like a kitchen pantry full of old, stale food that’s no longer fit to eat.

Movement is when a sales opportunity changes stages, like moving from stage 2 to stage 3, or from stage 4 to stage 5. Adding a sales opportunity to your funnel is also movement.

Opportunities can move in the other direction, like from stage 4 to stage 2. Usually that’s not the kind of movement you want.

NOW HERE’S THE KEY TO MOVEMENT – it’s not what YOU do that defines movement, it’s what the customer does.

For example, if you deliver a proposal to a customer you might be tempted to say that the opportunity has moved to the ‘proposal delivered’ stage.

But your customer hasn’t done anything. They just received your proposal. Go ahead and test this. Have you ever delivered a proposal and the customer didn’t get back to you right away with any kind of answer? Or if they did answer was it 6 months later and they said they changed their minds?

It’s the same thing with a sample or a product trial or even a demo. You’re the one doing all the work. No movement.

The key to driving sales opportunities through your funnel – getting movement – is getting your customers to commit to doing things.

When customers commit they have skin in the game. When they commit they invest time, they invest political capital, and sometimes even money.

Even getting little commitments is important. Little commitments often lead to bigger commitments and to the biggest customer commitment of all – they purchase.

So, when you define your 30 day sales funnel plan each month, you really want to define what customer commitments you’re going to seek with each opportunity on your funnel.

At my company we call these Goals. It’s just a term that can mean different things, but for clients that use The Funnel Principle they know that a Goal is the customer commitment the salesperson is seeking with each opportunity on his or her funnel.

Let’s wrap up by going back to the proposal example. What would a Goal look like? How about this: Only deliver your proposal if the customer commits to reviewing it with you. Or, if a customer wants to trial your product agree to, but ask the customer to commit to discussing with you after the trial how the trial went and maybe even communicating the results with other key stakeholders.

If you found this tip helpful and you’d like more information I encourage you to contact me through the link below.

I wish you the best success, good selling!

Mark

614.571.8267

Buy The Funnel Principle here

get on Mark’s calendar here

 

 

Blindspots in Sales Coaching

As a sales manager, have you ever caught yourself having done something that you weren’t proud of, like giving poor feedback to a salesperson?  You realized after that it wasn’t your best ‘coaching’ moment?

If you have, welcome to a blindspot.

A blindspot like the one above is something that you do that you don’t always catch yourself doing until it’s too late.

Unfortunately you have other blindspots that you don’t know you have.  These can be even harder to do something about it.

It could be as simple as a bad habit of talking over top of your salespeople or not letting them finish their sentences.  It could be a habit of jumping to a conclusion too early.  It could be a habit of not letting your salespeople struggle on sales calls.  You feel you have to jump in and ‘save them’.  It could be a habit of not listening.

Every sales manager has blindspots, if that makes you feel a little better.  Yes, that’s plural.  You could have quite a few.

Some blindspots aren’t too troublesome.  They could be just annoying.

Then there are others that are downright nasty.  They can have a significant, negative effect on your salespeople.  And their sales performance.

I’m on a mission to help you manage, and even eliminate some, of your blindspots.

I’m finishing up writing a book on the topic to be called Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching.  It will be published in Q1 of 2017.

What’s my interest in blindspots?  It’s both a personal and professional journey for me.

After realizing and then facing a personal blindspot that nearly wrecked me, I discovered how powerful facing the demons can be.  How liberating it is.  How much more value we can really add to everyone that comes in contact with us.  Clients, family, friends, communities.

Professionally, I began observing blindspots with my clients.  They hire me to coach their sales managers and I do it by observing via conference calls their coaching conversations with salespeople.    I found myself hearing things on these calls that I had not heard before because I wasn’t listening for these things.  That was one of my blindspots.

Many conversations went well.  But when they didn’t I heard tension, skepticism, lack of trust, even blame and accusation.  And these were supposed to be coaching calls.  We learned that the ones that could catch us most off guard were the ones where the salesperson didn’t let on to how she was feeling.

I started to document what I heard.  I poured through my notes from 600 of these conversations.  And eventually I drew some conclusions.

One conclusion was many times the sale manager gets in his own way.  It’s like they can’t help themselves.  Simply getting out of their own way is often the escape route managers need.  Of course this is easier said than done, but it’s a good place to start.

Let me leave you with this thought.

This week listen to yourself talking with your salespeople.  If you catch yourself in one of those ‘not your best coaching moments’ find time to reflect on that and learn from it.