The sales process can be a complicated and expensive investment for any business. There are many things within this process, and in life, that we can and can’t control. That is why we recommend that you simplify it by focusing your energy on what you can control.
The below items assume that you have already set your sales and marketing goals and targets as part of your annual marketing planning process. If you haven’t, this is the first step to take as this will ensure your whole sales and marketing function is aligned and working together to achieve your business objectives.
5 things you CAN control:
- Your preparation – preparation for a sales presentation is something you can control and something that we strongly recommend, if relevant for your sales process. Being prepared assists with opening up the conversation (e.g. if you see on LinkedIn that your prospect likes golf, you could talk to them about a recent tournament) and building trust by growing a relationship. In b2b sales, it also helps with gauging where your prospect is at with their business (by looking at their website for example). You could also ask some questions on the phone and/or when the meeting is booked to help you prepare for your sales presentation even more.
- Your presentation and materials – the standard of your presentation and materials can also be controlled. If you are not sure about the standard of your presentation script and materials, engage an expert (i.e. us!) to review your materials and provide you with some feedback.
- Closing techniques – do you ask for a commitment to the next step at the end of the sales process? This is a crucial stage of the sales process that you can control by preparing a list of closing techniques or scenarios and practicing them so that you are confident in asking for a commitment.
- Follow up – you can control how much time and energy you spend on following up your prospect after the first meeting or call. If it helps, try creating a follow-up checklist and make sure you stick to it for every prospect.
- Ongoing relationship building – gaining commitment of the first sale is often only the first step in the sales journey with your customer. By taking responsibility for the relationship building process, you can turn that customer into a customer for life. Again, being prepared and setting up a relationship building action plan to implement for all clients will help with this step. Or, just schedule a call reminder in your calendar once a month.
5 things you CAN’T control:
- What your competitors are doing (but you can mystery shop them to find out their approach and pricing)
- Your prospective client – you can influence them by building trust during the sales process however, you can’t control the prospect in every aspect of their life during the entire sales process.
- When your prospect is going to buy – again, you can influence this however, they will only buy when they are ready and/or have a need as well as the money to afford your product or service
- Objections – you can’t control the questions and objections that your prospects ask however, you can keep track of them by setting up an objections register for your business. The register will enable to you think through how to best answer the objections and to continually improve these answers over time.
- Referrals – you could be the best salesperson in The World and tick all of the boxes however, you can’t control whether or not that client will refer you to someone else within their network. You can however, influence this by building great relationships and providing great products or services.
Focus on the things you can control throughout the sales process, continuously improve these items and your sales strike-rate should improve over time.