Stop Selling By the Seat of Your Pants

give a little GET A LOT - Befrinding poster Aug 2012Ever wonder why some sales people are extremely effective while others fail?  There are a bunch of reasons, but those that are not effective need to assume responsibility for their failure.  Selling is part game and part science and you need to understand that prospects are masters at attaining information from you, misleading you about their requirements and how the process will play out.   Sound familiar?  How many times has the person who claimed to be the decision maker turn out not to be the decision maker?  Sound familiar?

Having a structured approach to selling is your best defense against a crafty prospect.  Keep in mind that the prospect has a structured approach. They are trying to get as much information from you without making any commitment of any kind to the next steps in the process. Sales people have been trained to be subordinate to the prospect so that you don’t upset them.  So you play their game providing as much information as you can and often getting nothing in return.  This has to stop in order for you to be successful.

Many companies today are turning to online CRM software solutions to help implement a structured approach to selling.  It’s certainly not mandatory to have a CRM system, but it can and does help.  One of the ways CRM software can assist with this process is by guiding the sales staff through a process via a series of questions that need to be answered before wasting valuable time on a poorly qualified opportunity.  Those questions include such things as: is there a critical need for the product or service you are selling, are the decision makers known and engaged in the process, is there an approved budget for the acquisition and is there a definitive time frame for a decision?   In order for the sales process to be successful there must be a “Win –Win” relationship with the prospect. By this I mean that for every bit of information you provide you need to get something in return.   If you don’t you will continue to play to the hand of the prospect and find yourself frustrated that the prospect does not answer the phone, won’t return messages and has left you with no sale and no commission.  A CRM system can provide a good way to automate the sales process so that it’s the same for each and every new sales opportunity.

Image “give a little GET A LOT…” by silkeybeto on Flickr, available under Creative Commons license

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