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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Products Selling Art Of Science For Modern World

Everybody cannot sell to anyone. Whether selling is an art or a science is subjective. Does it matter? Are wears sales people loaded with bias in regard to this question? Is there not a bigger issue at hand here?

What is critical is that your business sales and marketing leadership must generate excitement, spontaneous enthusiasm, buzz and traffic. Selling is a process. Sales people, in general and as a whole,  are independent and do not respond well to tracking their funnel-unless the process or system helps them close more deals.

Absolutely people buy from people. Absolutely the value you add to the product or service you offer as a sales professional is critical - but your superior performance is often offset by your under-performing colleague.

Selling, as it impacts your business, is a science.

What is critical to your business and its sales force, as a whole, is it must know how to capture leads efficiently and effectively, how to consistently follow up with those leads with a process that eliminates a leaky funnel, how to convert those leads into advocates by creating an experience surrounding their purchase. Your business must have a sales team that knows this system will only enhance their performance through increased opportunities and conversion of leads to customers. Your sales team will create more sales when your process enables them to spend all their time in front of their prospect. Your sales only be as good as the sales leadership. Your companies gross margin well only improve as far as your sales leadership excite, support and recruit/train top sales talent.

So at the individual level, selling is an art.

It is an art not everyone can success at when compared to other more suitable occupations. At the business leadership level, selling is creating the maximum opportunities for your sales force and training them on how to properly represent your product or service this aspect of selling is a science.

I am not that good of a sales person. But I have always been in the top 10% of whatever I chose to represent in a sales capacity I've trained trained hundreds, one at a time, who are better sales people than I am. But 90% of those I ended up outperforming - because I out worked them, put myself in front of more qualified opportunities day in and day out, and matched my charisma with my scientific approach.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sales Training and Dis-Qualifying a Prospect

I had to release a sales rep (Bob) from our company. He just wasn't hitting his numbers, despite plenty of coaching, sale training and warnings. Bob's accounts were transitioned to another sales rep (Ted). Bob had one of his accounts fore casted to close for several months at 75% probability or higher, for at least three months.

One day after transitioning the account to Ted, the CEO of this prospective company, who Bob was not dealing with, called and asked if he could have an extension of the evaluation period for our software. This was the third time the prospect wanted an evaluation extension. I told Ted that I wanted to speak with the CEO before we gave any more extensions. After speaking with the CEO it turned out that:

1. He wasn't going to buy our software until one of his customers bought from him.
2. The deal size was a quarter of what Bob had fore casted.
3. He thought he could just keep evaluating our software until his sales came through.
What happened? A few things:
1. Bob never spoke to the CEO to get the real scoop. He let his lower-level contact (Carol) dictate terms to him.
2. Bob probably never asked the "tough" sales questions. He wanted to be more "consultative.". Being his sales manager, I trusted Bob was telling me the truth. My mistake. I should have dug deeper.

We talk a lot about what it takes for a prospect to be qualified. But we rarely talk about dis-qualifying a prospect. Bob thought his prospect had all the things he needed for Carol to become a customer:

- The right platform for our software.
- A need for our software.
- Lots of customers.

And to a point, he did. What Bob did not have was:

- A prospect in Carol who had the authority to say, "Yes."
- The willingness, or maybe the courage, in Carol to let Bob speak with the CEO who was the decision maker and the person who could sign Bob's order form.

At that point Bob should have disqualified his prospect Carol. He should have told Carol he could not provide any additional time for evaluations until he spoke with the CEO and had his qualifying questions answered.