This article is based on a true story about tea and cakes, a sales person and a false sales process…. I was sitting with a client, who employed several sales staff, and he was concerned that the sales team wasn’t doing enough. How do you manage those that work for you, who have to sell your services?
Are Tea and cakes part of your sales process?

This concern about sales manager/ sales staff is a common one in many firms. I’ve often seen sales managers employed in small businesses and later dismissed for not selling enough. The problem normally lies with the business owner, not the sales manager!

Tea and cakes or just Tea?

As a result of the client discussion I sat in on one of their sales meetings. It sounded good, they reviewed their prospects and graded them red, amber or green. The problem was that they couldn’t tell me that a red was any less likely to close than a “green”, or what the grading was based on! Later I had a quiet chat with one team member. She admitted that in her case a prospect had moved from a red to a green on the second meeting based on her view of how keen the prospect was, not on any quantifiable measure, not because they shown any more demonstrable interest – other than she had been offered tea and cakes, rather than just tea!

What is a sales process?

In simple terms it’s a series of steps that you and your prospective client go through until they become a client. If it’s well constructed it will help you to sell more and help you to manage the others in the firm that are involved in selling. Each step involves something definite and makes it more likely that you will get the sale.

Why should I implement a sales process?

If you have a system that was simple to operate, allowed you to not lose track of prospects, know how close they were to really buying (as opposed feeling good about biscuits and tea), could effectively manage your sales team (or yourself), and you could use that system (a sales pipeline) to  increase sales…..why wouldn’t you implement it? Once you’ve created it, a sales process will help you sell more and save time.

Anything else I should think about?

Think about the way your prospective clients buy! There are a number of steps in a prospects buying process that you should also think about. You can click here to read more about them in what-is-the-buying-process-and-how-can-it-help-me-to-increase-sales-part-1

  1. Problem recognition: Do they know they have a problem?
  2. Costly consequences: Do they know the rough value of the problem?
  3. Funding: Have they made some form of commitment to spend money?
  4. Decision Criteria: How will they decide between the different offers?
  5. Evaluate Alternatives: Look at the different solutions
  6. Select: Decision time

How should I create one?

In simple terms think about the key stages you and the buyer go through, sequence them into a logical process and ensure that you have a realistic “test” and commitment at each stage. If you’re asking how should I create a sales process to help me sell more, click here  

What sort of a systematic sales process do you have?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.