The Relationship between Success and Simplicity

This post is the first in a three-part series on creating simple, repeatable and trainable sales processes.

What do sales and stoplights have in common? Both should have a process that is simple, repeatable and trainable. Stoplights have achieved this goal; even young children know red means stop and green means go. And what would the world be like if we all didn’t follow that process? Chaos.

Unfortunately, many in the world of sales choose chaos. Instead of developing a sales process that is simple, repeatable and trainable, they would rather miss out on making a sale. Hear me out.

A recent study showed that only 10 percent of salespeople contact prospects at least four times. However, 90 percent of sales are made with the fourth (or more) contact.

How many times have you heard that the salesperson did not make “the ask?” How many times have you heard that the salesperson did not call back? How many of your salespeople are doing things from memory?

On average, it takes 15 contacts to make a sale. We can all do the math—if you have 50 prospects, that means 750 contacts to keep track of! Without a contact management process to ensure follow-through, mistakes are easy to make.

This is why creating a process is important. And that process should be simple, repeatable and trainable. I use my calendar and call planners (more on that in a future post). Whatever organization method you choose, just keep it simple. This stuff is not rocket science; it’s creating habits that everyone can do, will do and wants to do (because this is key to success, and don’t we all want success in sales?).

Simplicity in that process is important. If it isn’t simple, no one will do it. And they have to be able to do it over and over without looking in a manual. And it needs to be simple enough that you can train someone to train others.

Whatever sales process you choose, chances are it will include making an appointment, having a meeting, building a bond and making “the ask.”

And even though it’s the simplest thing, for many salespeople, the hardest part of the process is “the ask.” Do you chicken out? Or do you go in, guns blazing, and make the prospect horribly uncomfortable?

The key to “the ask” is body language. Have you studied body language? Do you know what yours is saying, as well as what your prospects’ is saying? Simple things like leaning in will tell you the conversation is going in a positive direction. Someone taking notes tells you they really want to remember what you had to say.

Many times a salesperson doesn’t know how to transition from small talk to the conversation they really want to discuss. Here is the super secret question: “I asked for this meeting today to chat about XYZ, would it be okay for me to ask you a couple of questions about XYZ?”

Done. You are in. Ask away, solve away, sell away.

But if you don’t ask the question, you will never make a sale. We can’t repeat something and train on something if it was never done in the first place.

And so, your homework for next week:

Establish a contact plan for every prospect. Make it fool-proof and follow it.

Read into others’ body language, and reflect on your own body language.

And last but not least, keep it simple.

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