Those of you who know me know that I am an avid golfer. While I am not the best golfer in the world, I’m not bad. Recently, I had an epiphany on the green of the 17th hole at my course. Here’s what happened...
I had a tricky twelve footer or so, downhill with a left to right break. I put a good read on it and selected my line, I hit it, a perfect stroke! It was heading right toward the hole and I was convinced it was going in. But, alas, as the golf gods would have it, it broke an inch or so more than I expected in the last foot and just lipped out.
At first I was angry. But, then I thought about it. I had analyzed it correctly. I stroked the put correctly. I had the right line. But, for some reason it didn’t go in. I asked myself what I would have done differently and the answer was “nothing”. So, rather than be angry, I felt good about it.
What does that have to do with selling? A lot! You see, as you get ready for a sales call, you prepare. (You do prepare, right?) You think about who will be at the meeting, what their issues and concerns are, what questions you will ask, and how you’ll present your offering. Sometimes the sales call is successful and sometimes it’s not. Should you be angry if it doesn’t go right? Well, since it’s like putting, if, and that’s a very big question, you prepared correctly and thoroughly, then no, you shouldn’t be angry.
But, that’s the big question. Did you actually prepare as well as you could have? Or, for the sales vice president, how do you ensure your people prepare correctly? What coaching do you give them? How do you check if they prepared well?
We at Miller Heiman have a methodology for managing sales calls and “customer focused interactions”, it’s called “Conceptual Selling”. Properly applied, our methodology will ensure that you have prepared correctly. Think of it as a checklist the pilot uses before taking off. Sure, they know to check all that stuff, but having a checklist and forcing them self to check all the important systems before take-off significantly raises the odds of a successful flight.
As the sales vice president, here are some of the things you should be requiring from all your sales people before they go on sales calls.
- Do they understand who will be at this meeting, why they want to be there and what they hope to accomplish?
- Do they understand what each person who will be at the meeting wants to fix, accomplish or avoid?
- If there is disagreement among the participants, do you know how they will manage the discussion?
- Do they know enough about the prospect’s business to be able to show how dealing with you would add value to their business?
- Do they know what criteria you will use to judge whether they are worthy of your selling time?
- Do they know what questions you will ask?
- Do they know what commitment you will ask them for to keep the sale moving forward?
That’s only a small portion of the laundry list. If you’d like to ensure your sales team makes more putts, and close more business, then give me a call.