Easy to Sell, Easy to Buy
One major question that so many businesses and salespeople completely forget, or outright avoid to ask themselves, is this: Why do we manage sales the way we do? Sometimes as an entrepreneur, you’ve taken on the primary sales role but are now finding your leads stagnating. Often companies just roll the dice and follow the same old strategies of the past, never asking themselves how they got there, yet they expect new results to materialize. There is a term for this – doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome. The term is insanity.
By taking a consistent, user-focused approach, we can make things truly easy to sell & easy to buy.
Today we will focus on this important concept in three simple steps:
- Understanding the trap of having no intentional sales plan
- How to evaluate the successes and failures of your current strategy
- How to bring focus to your method and achieve your goals
1. Understanding The Trap of Having No Intentional Sales Plan
Again and again, I find myself speaking with founders and managers and questioning them about their sales process, only to hear the same old answers. They say, “We’ve always just done it this way,” or, “I’m kind-of the de-facto salesperson,” and, “We just sort-of let everyone do their own thing.” This is wrong and is setting your business back.
If you look at any company that is a leader in their field, it is often because they have a clearly defined sense of what they do and how they do it. Period.When your creative or engineering teams develop a product, they don’t (I would hope) simply follow along on whatever was done before without making any changes. Nor do they blindly stumble into a system of doing things and just accept it.
Ask yourself: Do silicon valley giants like Google and Apple simply leave things to chance, and allow the chips to fall where they may in any aspect of their business? If a high profile Wall Street investment firm couldn’t justify their buys and sells to their stakeholders, how could they be expected to perform? Could they be trusted to do so? The answer to these questions is always no.
So why do we allow our salespeople to go off on their own, expect them to work some kind of ‘magic’, and just pray for results?
*We must be intentional and deliberate in our plan of action every day.* This is how we can truly define what a success is and ensure we use our time to the fullest when we are selling. *NOTE: This doesn’t mean an expected number of dials or calls or a script.* While it is highly beneficial to set clear goals for your team and self in every level of your sales organization, and I will explore these in another article soon, they do not necessarily need to factor directly into your sales method for it to be effective. We will explore this in steps 2 & 3.
2. How to evaluate the successes and failures of your current strategy
Ok, so your sales team may not be just a bunch of random employees who haphazardly fell into a sales role (I hope!). Maybe some of them have a lot of relevant expertise, and in most cases, the people you have already tasked with selling your product or service were chosen for a reason – they likely have extensive and valuable knowledge when it comes to your sellables. Maybe you as an owner or founder have had the task of selling fall onto you as the person most knowledgable about your business.
Now Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I/we have a specific and consistent method for how our salespeople develop and engage business?
- Is there a standard operating procedure for all aspects of your sales team? Why not?
- Does everyone do the same thing when they sell, and if not, why?
- Do we have goals at each stage of our sales process, or just for the final amount of sales made? Why not?
Think about your answers carefully. In most cases I have encountered, businesses and individual sales people do not have the answers to these questions written down let alone answered in a fashion agreeable to all people involved in the selling process.
Now, obviously there are nuances in every business and sales situation. If your product is transactional and short term, such as in a luxury retail or S2S telephone environment, you likely will already have an engaged prospect and the methodology of your associates should be aimed at final education of the client and closing the deal. On the other hand, if your product is very complex and the sales process is long, you should discuss with your sales team the key parts of the process, where they tend to hit snags with technology or communication, or where things flow smoothly, and approach these areas with a deliberate and intentional set of skills and tools to ensure all steps point towards closing the business.
As a leader or entrepreneur, *you need to step back from the current process and demands of business so you can view it from a user-focused perspective* – the users being both the salesperson and the client.
3. How to bring focus to your method and achieve your goals
When we approach our business with a focus on the system of “how it works” (and how it can work best), we can make it truly user friendly, so that things become Easy to Sell and Easy to Buy. Memorize these words and hold them dear to your heart. Write them on a sticky on your desk, and write them in an email to your directors for your next meeting – they will love hearing it.
Clients and customers are not stupid, and they can tell when a process is going to be arduous and awful. If sales is all about breaking down barriers, then you would expect most sales processes to be barrier free. Most internal systems and Client Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) often work in a way that is only built to serve a) the people who designed them and b) the people who are tasked with minding the basic unit of the sales team. Now, granted that some people do need a bit of babysitting on the job, this is understandable. But if we were to knock down your current sales system or build a new one from scratch, wouldn’t it make sense to build it in a way that fostered the most generation and maintenance of business?
With this in mind, ask yourself these questions about your sales methodology:
- What is the goal of my business? (ie. Generate leads, garner emails, sell a product, or engage for an experience)
- What do my sales team do to reach this goal best? (ie. Cold calls, marketing, client education in-store, events)
- What do clients/customers need from us to say YES?
- What is standing in the way of us reaching our goal, on our end? (not enough leads is not an answer!)
Where do we go from here?
The key here is to understand that just because something has worked ‘well enough’ in the past, doesn’t mean it’s the smartest business move going forward.
- Investigate your personal strategy from a user-focused perspective, and if you do have a team, ask them to bring input regarding their own strategies forward to a meeting you’ve set to specifically review the general sales methodology of your associates.
- From here, consolidate best practices, agree on them, write them down, and implement your new strategy for a day, week, month or quarter depending on your business cycle.
- Ensure everyone follows this new best practice; we would call this consistency.
- Once the period has ended, compare your results to a previous period and see if improvements have been made. It’s likely a good idea to relax goals for this period if your changes are drastic.
- Work with your team to tweak this new method as necessary. Refine and hone it. It may take several cycles, but you will emerge with a consistent plan of attack that yields results.