You may make sales calls all by yourself. That may be the reason why you think you work all alone. You really don’t. Your management has a role to play in your selling. They also have a responsibility to help you sell.
How should you sell?
Some managers think that when they hire a salesman he should know how to sell. It’s almost like thinking someone will figure out how to swim if they’re thrown into the deep end of the pool. It’s kind of scary. It is in sales, too. What you get is trial and error selling.
Trial and error is frustrating. You might learn from your mistakes or you might not. The frustration could be overwhelming. That’s where your management comes in. It’s management’s job to provide you with your sales process.
Sales is like an assembly line. You would never expect someone to start work on an assembly line with instructions from management to “put things together however you want.” Sales is no different. Your job is to follow the process that management recommends because they know that the process is the most efficient and effective to produce sales results.
What can you do if you don’t have a sales process? You ask your management for their input on the best prospects, the best way to approach prospects, and what to say when you meet.
What does it take?
You take over once your management provides the process. Your job is to move the sales process forward. But, that doesn’t mean that management’s job is over. I’ve been to too many sales meeting where management sat and listened to the status reports of the sales team. One by one the salesman reported to management that a deal was going to close soon. This went on at sales meetings for weeks at one company until I put a stop to it.
First, the word “soon” is known as a gray word. It’s open to interpretation. What does soon mean to you? A week? A month? A year? Who knows? Your job is to give the time frame of when the deal will close. Yes, you can give a range like 4 to 6 months. Soon is not a range.
The next issue I had was that the salesperson didn’t know what needed to happen to move the deal from one stage to the next until the customer signed the contract. It is management’s job to provide the stage requirements so everyone is speaking the same language.
Here’s an example. The first stage of a sales process is to qualify the buyer. This means that he has a budget, you have identified the decision maker or decision makers and you’ve identified and the customer agrees that he has an issue that needs to be addressed by a product or service that you sell.
At a sales meeting, management might ask, “What stage are you in with this prospect?” If you respond, “Stage 1,” then your manager could ask, “Who is the key decision maker and how do you know?” You could reply, “I’ve asked the question, ‘Who along with you makes the decision to buy?’ and my customer said that he alone has the authority.”
Your management has a lot of work to do for you before you reach the customer. Just make sure they’re doing their work so that you can do yours.
Best wishes for your successful selling!