Many of the world’s best sales forces are the best because they have developed and use a systematic sales process.
Having a map of the things that have to happen before a sale can be made provides a framework for sales planning and activity, reduces mistakes, and shortens new hire ramp-up time. However, what is conspicuously absent from most of these process maps are the things that prospective customers have to do each step of the way in order to buy. The truth is that the things that are done at any particular step or stage in the process could be a complete waste of time if the client doesn’t do what they must do to move forward to the next step or stage in their buying process.
As sales professionals, you don’t retire quota or earn commissions for anything that you do. You get paid on what your prospects do. When they sign a contract or issue a purchase order, then you make some money. You have to accept that you cannot control your prospects.
Account Managers or Sales Managers often ask, “What do we have to do to close this deal?” That is the wrong question. What you should be asking is, “What does the prospect have to do in order to buy?” and then the follow-on question is, “What do we have to do to get them to do those things?”
Whether or not you have or follow a systematic sales process, you should endeavor to understand and document your prospect’s buying process. You must understand not only the things that have to happen throughout the selection and approval process, but who will be involved along the way.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2…..some questions that will help you and the buyer define and clarify what has to happen before a decision will be made: