As an American living in Europe for several years, I often get into conversations with Europeans from different countries about the differences between Americans and Europeans (in fact, one of the differences seems to be just how obsessed the Europeans are with having this conversation – not so common in the US. The Europeans would probably say that Americans are oblivious; the Americans might say why worry about something so trivial – but I digress…).
Inevitably, the subject of my business as fodder for this discussion comes up, and a common theme seems to arise around the idea of a sales process.
Many Europeans that I talk with seem to believe that articulating a process is somehow synonymous with “dumbing down” the subject of the process. Let me clarify what I mean here with an example:
When these conversations revolve around the sales process, the push back that I usually get is that sales is not as simple as just “follow these steps and you are done”. With that, the sales process as a whole, in its entirety, as a tool and a concept, is then summarily cast away as useless.
But the “follow these steps and you are done” perspective is not usually the core idea behind the development of a process – any process. In a properly developed process, a complex activity is broken down into components, and each component is examined and optimized. Then time is spent reconnecting each of the components to the next in the sequence in the smoothest and most complete manner to facilitate a more optimized work flow.
The result is not dumbed down, but rather, well, “smarted up”. By being conscious about the activity you do, you allow yourself to refine your execution.
General Dwight Eisenhower was quoted as saying that plans are worthless, but planning is essential. This well summarizes a useful way to think about using a sales process to improve sales results.
By mapping out a detailed plan, you can move forward with confidence. You may need to adjust as you go along, but this is much more effective than winging it, as if every sales transaction was a fully unique endeavor.
Following a sales process does not imply that selling is simple, but rather that it is non-random, and in aggregate, manageable.
To disregard the value of a sales process without adequate evaluation is dumbing down the value of analysis, and will curtail your efforts to become more efficient and more effective with your sales efforts, or those of your organization as a whole.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!