Salespeople sporting flashy cars, designer suits and shiny watches don’t win business, they make sales by accident, says an Australian business woman.
Julia Ewert says businesses can’t afford accidental sales, particularly in the current climate.
She says sales people that don’t follow the proper sales process will hold a business back or bring it to its knees.
She says there’s a common misconception in business that sales success is about personality – and big ones but in actual fact, the smartest business models run off systems and processes, not people.
“Three quarters of the cases I see, the wrong kind of sales person has been hired, and this gives a business the wrong reputation and the sales or business development profession a bad name.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the insurance, legal, business or engineering space, maintaining and growing your business needs a proper sales process.”
Ewert says the key mistake most businesses make with their sales strategy is they don’t have a proper sales process and it should be a part of the business model.
“The sales process is the revenue machine of the business, the sales people are your operators, and sales training is the oil and maintenance of the machine.”
“If you cut corners along the way, the machine falters and you’ll lose a lead or fail to convert a prospect to a customer.”
Ewert says the most effective sales organisations operate like McDonald’s.
“McDonalds isn’t in the hamburger business, they’re in the “systems and processes’ business. The same goes for IKEA and Apple. They all just happen to use hamburgers, flat pack furniture and digital products as their vehicle to generate revenue,” she says.
”The most successful businesses do what these companies do best – they run on great sales processes. It’s where their results come from.”
“Without a sales process, businesses rely too heavily on individuals – either poorly skilled ones or high-performing ones who both pose ongoing risks for the business.
It’s easier to think the solution for greater sales effectiveness is sales training or hiring expensive salespeople but if you build a repeatable and systemised sales process, employees can be trained to follow this process, says Ewert.
Ewert offers some advice for businesses looking to adopt or develop a sales process:
Process beats personality every time - If you want to be able to better predict and forecast your revenue, you’ll need a systematic sales process. It’s why companies like McDonald’s, Apple and IKEA can scale so successfully because they’ve perfected their process. They don’t need to rely on hiring unicorns and they can invest in the right training and support.
If you wing it, you won’t win it: Arguably the most important function of any business is selling. It’s how you build consistent revenue. Sales isn’t guess work or making it up as you go. There’s no such thing as accidental sales. Selling requires discipline, patience and respecting the process.
Follow up, don’t give up: How do you stay in front of your customers without being annoying, pushy or just too salesy? The reality is you won’t close a deal on the first phone call, meeting or approach. It takes an average five to 12 value-adding follow up phone calls after the proposal to close a deal. The average person follows up once then gives up. Wrong! Every conversation with your prospect should be an investment in the relationship.
Sales is about the long game: Playing the long game means no short cuts. It means no lies, no half-truths and no over-promising. In sales there are no quick fixes. You need to genuinely invest in the relationship to ultimately win the business. How much your prospect trusts you, will determine whether that sale happens.
Rules of your sales process – Define your sales process so employees understand what your company does and how it does it. The sales manual should identify all the steps for staff to follow and include key stages in the sales cycle such as ideal customer and follow-up. It also must provide solutions and best practice methods to sales obstacles. Good salespeople follow a process.
About Julia Ewert
Julia Ewert consults mid-tier companies win business. Her expertise lies in sales and negotiations. She teaches effective and practical business skills to companies, to enable them to increase revenue.