Sales is a process. And like any other process, it is only as good as its weakest step. If you are great with one or two steps of the process but weak in others, you will still struggle. But if you focus on improving in each area, you will exponentially improve your sales results. Here are the 5 critical sales steps and how to improve.
1. Prospecting –
It doesn’t matter how strong you are in the rest of the sales process – if you are calling on the wrong people you are going to fail.
How to improve: Identify the characteristics of your ideal client, create a profile, and look for prospects that best meet those criteria.
2. Activity –
Every time I talk to sales rep that is struggling, the first thing I ask is how many sales activities they are doing a week. Almost always its not enough. If good prospecting is the road map, then activity is the engine that gets you to your goal. I define activities as phone conversations, voice mails, email conversations, and networking event conversations (note: emails by themselves don’t count as activities. Email conversations are when you have a back and forth exchange with a prospect).
How to improve: Set a daily and/or weekly goal and stick to it. Need a visual reminder to help? Get two jars and put 50 pennies in one. As you make your calls, move the pennies over to the other jar. When all the pennies are in the second jar, you’ve hit your goal.
3. Messaging –
Are you saying the same thing in your voicemails and emails as every other sales rep? Are you offering up anything of real value to your prospect? Is your message compelling? Strong messaging results in more live connects, email responses, and maybe even a returned call once in a while. Ultimately it gets you in front of more prospects, which results in more sales.
How to Improve: Identify what truly makes you different from your competition and is of value to your prospects. For more detail on this topic, check out my blog Is Your Staffing Company a Commodity or Value?
4. Persistence –
There have been a variety of studies that show the majority of sales are made somewhere between the 10th and 12th However, most sales people give up after the 2nd or 3rd contact. It’s like running the first 30 of a 100-yard dash and wondering why you never win.
How to improve: Implement a repeatable sales contact schedule that touches your prospects 12 times in 12 weeks or less. Vary your approach with a combination of mailings, emails, and phone calls. Talk about your differentiators, include testimonials, case studies, and other content marketing to build credibility and show your value.
5. Sales Process Management –
Getting your foot in the door is just the first step. Now you have to build demand and urgency for your solution, and get the prospect to move through the process.
How to improve: There are several areas to focus on – building rapport, asking probing questions, focusing on consequences rather than issues, and getting commitment for the next step. Learning what questions to ask, role playing scenarios, and incorporating these into your actual prospect meetings will result in more productive meetings and less stalled deals.
Even incremental improvements yield big improvements. By continuously honing these critical steps of the sales process, you’ll significantly improve your results.
Looking for a quick and easy way to track your sales activities and meet your sales goals! Then download our free sales tool, the Weekly Activity Planner.