Our newsletter and blogs this month deal with “coming out of the confusion” of this quarantine crisis. While much of what we discuss in our materials deal with the sales process, the time to focus on it has never been more important.
“Go for the close!”
Because many companies are having to struggle back up from the edge of financial peril, the urge to “go for the close” is going to be extraordinarily strong. Leap to the end of that sale. Get the money in. As rapidly as can be done.
Of course, it is important to close sales, and of course, it is vital to bring in income. But you must take a moment to fully grasp this fact: You will not get that close if the preceding sales process steps have not been done.
The desperation of the very kind many are feeling as we come out of this crisis can lead to taking all kinds of unusual steps to try and close deals rapidly. Some, like offering unusual discounts, might work on a very temporary basis. But in the long run, such “solutions” are not sustainable. The only real sustainable solution is to make full use of the sales process.
This was one of the primary discoveries we made when we were conducting our research on resolving basic problems in selling. The focus on sales training, through the years, has mainly focused on closing, but the success rate of closing, interestingly enough, did not improve with all that training. The only way a close really comes about is if all preceding sales process steps are done.
The Basic Sales Process
Our research also uncovered the basic sales process. While companies adapt this to their own operations, these are the steps that must be present for the process to work:
Contact and Interview
You will notice that closing is at the very end of that process. If each step of that process is not thoroughly executed, not only will the close never be reached, but the process will halt right there.
Especially in the kind of economic confusion we are in right now, the tendency for some companies will be to “freeze the budget” (even though this is really the wrong approach in a recovery). That means that your sales reps are going to encounter plentiful sales resistance. Your salesperson will not overcome sales resistance by trying to go for the close too early—in fact, leaping for the close will only stiffen that resistance and make the deal impossible to close.
The only way to really deal with that resistance, and melt it away, is by the full and skillful application of the sales process.
Stage Before Lockdown
We’re covering this procedure more fully in another blog this month, but we can summarize it here. The real key to making it out of this confusion is to go back to each deal that was in progress before the lockdown. Analyze at which stage of the sales process the deal was in at that time. Get in touch with the prospect and see if that stage still applies—they may have fallen back to an earlier one. Verify the stage they are in now. And now you have your path forward to a real close for that deal.
The moral of the story—and the only way out of this confusion for sales organizations—is to stick to the sales process.
For much more on the sales process, and to gain assistance, sign up at SELLability.com.