Sales and Sales Management Blog

February 20, 2007

Evaluating Your Sales Process

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:21 am

This is the first in a highly rated  by subscribers multi-part series of articles in my twice monthly POWER SELLING newsletter.   Over the coming three months I’ll post each portion of the article as it appears in the newsletter.  To subscribe to POWER SELLING, offering timely, innovative, fresh and immediately useful tools, techniques and strategies to help you and your sales team increase business, simply go to www.powerreferralselling.com and fill in the form with your name and email address.

Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I though it might be beneficial to take a few issues and review the four aspects of the selling process.  In order to go from average to superstar status, you need to have a solid footing in each of the four primary components of your sales business:
 

Psychological:  The psychological component is the foundation of your sales career.  It is the mental and emotional basis for all that you do as a salesperson.  It addresses your beliefs about yourself, your occupation, your product and company, and your career.  It sets the stage for whether or not you believe—and ultimately, whether your prospects believe—in who you are, what you are doing and what you can accomplish.  Unless you have a solid psychological foundation—that is, you have a positive image of yourself, what you do for a living, your product/service and your company, you will not be able to succeed on a superstar level.  In addition, recognizing and dealing with those beliefs that limit your success is crucial to moving beyond where you are today.
 

Strategic:  The strategic component is the big picture of selling.  This component consists of what is most often thought of as the selling process—your ability to locate prospects and turn them into clients.  That is, your ability to perform the pure prospecting and selling activities.  Unless you have a strong grounding in the tools, techniques and strategies of prospecting and selling, you will flounder.
 

Tactical:  The tactical, or focused, component is your specialized product and service knowledge required to present and sell your product or service, as well as how to integrate what you sell with your general sales skills.
 

Managerial:  The managerial process involves your systems and organization to service and manage your clients, both during their purchase and after.
 

Our discussion will be, by necessity, an overview of how to evaluate and construct these components and I will be providing a number of resources that can aid and guide you.  We will be taking this look over the next several newsletters.  Because the process will take time, I encourage you to participate by sending in your questions, suggestions and opinions.  These can be taken into consideration and, if needed, addressed individually in future issues as we progress.  Please send your correspondence directly to me at pmccord@mccordandassociates.com.
 

What are the hoped for results?  My hope is that all of us have a little deeper understanding of the whole sales process, in all of its components, as well as a chance to re-evaluate our individual sales businesses.
 

Selling is a tough business.  Whether selling financial services directly to consumers, high tech communications equipment to businesses, or dresses in a retail environment, selling is a highly personal endeavor that places people in generally stressful situations—often with one suspicious of the other’s motives.
 

For the salesperson, the sales process is their lifeblood.  It is how you make your living and, to one extent or another, forms part of your image of whom you are.  It helps define your self-worth and provides guidelines of how you hope your career will progress.
 

 

For the customer, it is often viewed as a war of wits between themselves and the shark that is out to get them.  Their guard tends to be up, wondering what is truthful in your presentation and what you’re trying to hide.
 

A well-constructed, honest and even-handed sales process can help eliminate a good deal of the salesperson/prospect enmity.  The old stereotype of the of the good ‘ol boy doing his hard sell has created a generation of consumers who instinctively react to “being sold.”  Moreover, even we salespeople are not immune to such feelings we ourselves become the prospect.  Which of us has not had the fear of being taken when we go to purchase a new car?  Who among us doesn’t grumble when the phone rings at dinnertime and we suspect a telemarketer?  Or, who hasn’t regretted a spur of the moment purchase?
 

Yes, we, when not in “salesperson” mode, react just as our clients do.
 

Do these unconscious reactions on our part indicate something deep inside us that questions the value and the integrity of our career choice?  Do these mean that we have hidden feelings of inferiority?  Are we secretly—or not so secretly—fearful and embarrassed of the image we have as salespeople?
 

Is it possible to create a total sales process that will allow us to overcome these seemingly natural barriers between our prospects and ourselves?  Can we learn how to remove the suspicion and distrust that separates us from our prospects and sometimes even our clients?
 

How can we learn to become better salespeople if our companies don’t spend the time and the money necessary to help train us?  Unfortunately, most companies are not particularly interested in the psychological or strategic segments of our business and only slightly interested in the managerial.  Since these components of our process are “universal,” that is, they apply to any and all salespeople, irrespective of industry or product, companies assume their salespeople have these skills.  Rather, companies are really only concerned about the tactical component—their particular products and services and what you need to know about them.  For the most part, they leave the issues of becoming grounded in the other components up to you.
 

Since this is the reality for most salespeople, the object of this series of articles will be to explore, simply in broad terms, what these components are and how you can find the help and training you need.  Even though the discussion will be by necessity broad, I will attempt to give specific resources and at least guidance in the questions and issues you should be dealing with.
 

Our discussion will take each component as a separate entity—one in each of the next four issues of the newsletter.  Of course, in many ways the components overlap and influence one another.  However, our discussion will address each as a stand-alone component as far as possible.
 

As mentioned above, I would like your input.  I want your suggestions regarding resources—are there books, seminars, CD’s, DVD’s or other resources that you have found to be particularly useful in addressing any of the issues we discuss; questions about—and challenges to–my thinking and advice.  A newsletter is a very difficult format to make interactive, but I’m certainly hoping some will have suggestions, ideas and/or objections that we can discuss.
 

Next issue we will begin our discussion with the psychological component.  In particular, we will be addressing the issues of professionalism and our internal belief systems that limit our abilities to move from where we are to the top of the profession.

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