Keeping the Wait Off
By Andy Paul
Most sales systems are like diets. And, for the most part, just as effective. Which means they aren’t. If diets or sales systems really worked as advertised, if you were able to sustain your weight loss, or consistently sustain your sales growth, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.
Just like dieters who jump from one new exotic diet plan to the next in the hope that the next one will produce better results, so too are sales managers guilty of skipping from one new sales methodology to another hoping to find some magical solution to their team’s anemic sales performance.
Much as dieter’s are concerned about losing pounds and keeping the weight off, sellers should be focused on eliminating wasted time from their sales process and keeping the wait off their selling.
These days prospects substantially pre-educate themselves about a product or service before they ever engage with a seller. Rarely are they entering the funnel at the top but further toward the bottom. They have already invested time in their buying process and when they finally engage with the seller, they have fewer questions to be answered and a greater sense of urgency to make a decision. The trouble I have seen with many sales systems that managers implement is that they weigh down a sales force with unnecessary process and methods that result in extra time being injected into their selling process. For your prospects and customers, this is putting on the wait (and opens the door to your competitors.)
Ultimately, with dieting, the best results are found with people who focus on the basics. Consume fewer calories and exercise more. The great value of this prescription is that it is simple, straightforward and memorable. It doesn’t rely on complex food preparations, expensive purchased diet meals, or other stratagems. It takes will power and determination, two factors under your direct control.
Similarly with selling, you will succeed in transforming the shape of your sales results straightforward focus on integrating higher levels of responsiveness, information content and speed into every step of your selling. You’ll compress buying cycles and win more orders by eliminating the wasted time that clutters up your selling; which means keeping the wait off.
Here are 6 simple steps to take control of your selling and engage in a healthy sales lifestyle:
1. Sell with Maximum Impact in the Least Time (MILT)
Selling with MILT means that every interaction with a prospect or customer has to achieve the Maximum Impact in the Least Time (MILT) possible. This means integrating a high level of responsiveness, information content and speed into every step of your selling process and eliminating the useless customer interactions that waste your prospect’s time and provide no value to them, or to you.
2. Immediately Follow-up All Sales Leads
There is no easier way to grow sales than to immediately follow-up on 100% of your sales leads. The math is simple. Assume that your conversion rate of leads into sales is 2%. And let’s also assume that you only follow up 50% of your sales leads. If you keep your conversion rate at 2% but follow-up 75% of your sales leads, what happens to your sales? What if you followed up 100%? In addition, studies show that you are 100 times more likely to contact a lead if you follow-up within 5 minutes vs. 30 minutes of receiving the inquiry. What are you waiting for?
3. Always Sell with the Sharp End of the Stick
Selling with the Sharp End means putting your people with the deepest product knowledge and industry experience closest to the point of attack, meaning closest to the customer. Make it fast and easy for your prospects to get the information they need to make a decision.
4. Do Everything Now
The timeframe for every sales action is immediate. In today’s world, potential buyers have gone online and gathered more than 50% of the information they need to make a buying decision before they engage with you for the first time. When they do, their need for information is urgent. And the first seller with the answers wins.
5. Answer Your Phones
Your prospects have questions and the first seller with the answers wins. And voice mail can’t answer a question. Stop living in the dark ages with an auto-attendant answering your phones. It is the 21st century and that means that you need to answer your sales and support lines with live people. Provide the Human Touch to your customers and watch your orders grow.
6. Disqualify the Losers
Proactively disqualify all the prospects who are not a good fit for your services or who are not going to make a buying decision. They are wasting your selling time and that time is the most limited sales resource you have. Get rid of them.
Are you ready to lose the wait?
Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales. A frequent speaker, Andy conducts workshops and consults with B2B sales teams of all sizes and shapes to teach them how to sell more by selling faster. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, “The Speed of Selling.” Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our blog!
© Andy Paul 2012