By Bernie Unterreiner, CEO – PSS Sales Coach
One company’s culture was driven by this statement. When you walked into the lobby of their home office this statement was staring straight at you. There was no doubt about the culture in the building. It ran through sales and operations and everyone read off the same playbook. Prospects who visited the home office for a closing presentation were amazed at the consistency of the values and culture that met them. Home office closing ratio during a ten-year period was 75%, yes, I said 75%. Wall street loved the company and its approach to a very long and complicated sales process.
In this article, I am about to highlight the basic building blocks of the sales process that created this company. I know it well because I spent twenty years growing it into the largest specialty insurer in the country.
Creating a Repeatable and Measurable Sales Process
I have spent the last thirty years in Sales and Executive Management with both large and small companies. The one common thread running through successful companies is the presence of a repeatable and measurable sales process that is documented in their playbook. In this article, you will learn the components of putting together your own Sales Playbook for success.
Let’s look at sports teams who are successful. Not one NFL of NBA team sets foot on the practice field without memorizing the team playbook. Can you imagine the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team coach rolling the ball onto the court and telling his team to play however they wish? Successful teams not only have a playbook, but they execute it to a tee. During the season they practice, practice and practice some more before moving to the field to execute. They will then look at film and adjust until they have the playbook and execution down perfect. The result is a successful season topped off by a Super Bowl Win.
Three Basic Steps in the Development of a Sales Process
There are three basic questions you need to answer to develop a basic Sales Process:
- Who is your perfect prospect?
- What is your footprint or territory?
- How will you tell your story?
Identify your Ideal Prospect
If you are in the insurance world, are you looking to call on doctors, lawyers, bankers or school teachers? If you decide it is doctors, are they young middle age and established or old and looking at retirement and the sale of a very lucrative practice? You must create as many criteria as possible to narrow the scope of what the ideal prospect looks like. I remember working for a manager when I first got into sales. He asked me how much money I wanted to make, and I told him $25,000. He then proceeded to tell me to stop calling on prospects who make $15,000 and start calling on those making $25,000 or more. This was a major change for me and my prospecting took a turn for the better almost overnight. One caution, don’t go elephant hunting unless you have the time, money and patience to wait for the big close.
Establish a Workable Territory
Once you have established the criteria for who you will call on, you must establish the territory. Is it the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia or the southeast? At this point you can contact a list broker and get a count of how many prospects are available in your footprint. For obvious reasons, it is important to know whether you have 20 or 20,000 prospects to work.
Quick story. I was consulting with a group and I asked that very question, how many prospects in your trade area. His answer back was 400. I called a list broker and found out the number was 4600. There was an immediate need for one more sales rep and the potential for substantial growth. The next 12 month showed an additional $700,000 of new revenue and the hiring of another sales rep.
Creating Your Story
- Develop a canned sales presentation. Most successful companies use a canned presentation. The main reason is that everyone is telling the same story about your company, products and services. The main components of the presentation should include your company history, your competence statement, products, how your company is different from your competitors and a request to follow up and evaluate the current situation and desired situation of your prospect company. This may sound simple, but it will take many iterations to get it perfect. These adjustments must be done in your corporate office and not in front of a prospect.
- The next component is to learn through questioning skills, how to uncover need. The more you practice your canned sales presentation and intertwine great questions at various parts of the presentation, the more professional you will become. Start with basic questions like “what is going well”, “what needs improvement” and then move to more feeling finding questions to really dig deeper into the issues that will tell you how you can help this prospect be more successful.
- Lastly, you must practice how to overcome common objections. I know that many of you feel like there must be 50 objections that you hear from a prospect, but there are only eight of ten that are most common. Objections like Price, time, Satisfaction, no need, no hurry, no money can be practiced and perfected over time. You will not always overcome these objections, nor will you always know the real objection, but if you have prepared well before your meeting, the prospect will recognize your professionalism and over time it will have an impact.
So, we have covered some of the basic starting points for your development as a sales professional, but remember, you can look at thousands of excellent ideas on how to sell more product, but the successful person is the one who puts these ideas into practice.
I am here to help. you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, pss-salescoach.com or at 770-330-8834.
Wishing you good luck and good selling!