“I made the sale!”
That’s the victory cry of all salespeople. They scream, they jump up and down, they high five, they figure their commission in their heads – and they miss the biggest sales opportunity of their lives.
Salespeople never seem to understand that it’s not about this sale – it’s about the next sale. And each time they make a sale, they can utilize the information and the lessons from the sale they just made to make the next sale, and sales for the rest of time, easier.
Instead of celebrating your next sale, take the following 7 steps, and you will start on a sales streak that will never end. Caution: These steps require work, thought and preparation.
The next time you make a sale, instead of celebrating, ask yourself:
How was this sale made? What did I have to do? What was the full cycle? What could I have done better? What can I repeat?
How was the sale decided? What were all the steps that led to the decision? How was the decision made?
Who pulled the trigger? Who was the person who actually made the decision to buy from you – the person who actually approved the money for the sale? In every selling scenario, there is only one triggerpuller. Salespeople need to know who pulls the trigger before they ever make a sales presentation. Was the person who pulled the trigger the same one who claimed to be the decision-maker? Where should you start your sale next time?
Why did they buy from you? What was their motive? What was their incentive? What was their reason to give you their business? How can you be certain to use that information in your next presentation?
Who makes the budget? How many times have you heard someone say, “We spent our whole budget”? Whoever says that is never the person you want to meet with. That person isn’t a decision-maker; he’s a budget-spender. The person who spends the budget usually has to ask his daddy for approval, and the person who spends the budget is always the guy who wants three bids. Avoid those people like the plague. The person who makes the budget can change it in three seconds. Start there.
What was their internal communication path to the sale? In other words, what was the customer’s internal sales cycle? Who had to say what to whom in order for your sale to take place? Could half of that process been avoided if you simply had taken the next step?
Start higher. Salespeople tend to work their way from the bottom up. Nothing could be a bigger waste of time or energy. It makes more sense (but takes more guts) to start at the highest level. Chief executives or other top-level corporate executives always know where the decision is made, and if you can gain five to 10 minutes of their time (in exchange for something of value to them) they will either make the decision or take you by the hand to the decision-maker.
Let me assure you, the underling will listen twice as hard and give you half the hassle if you walk in with the boss.
The good news is that most salespeople will simply celebrate the sale of the moment and overlook this incredible opportunity. The better news is now that you have this insight, you can begin a path to doubling your sales in a short space of time. The best news is, doing the hard work to gather this information will make you an award-winning salesperson in a way that will gain the respect of your co-workers, your company and especially your customers.
There is a final, subtle step – one that can come only after you have put all the others into action. Once you have met with the decisionmakers and spend enough time with them, you will discover what they want their outcomes to be as a result of buying your product or service. Those outcomes need to be a critical part of your sales presentation, because they are the actual buying motives of a corporate executive. High-level decision-makers want to know how they can profit and how their productivity can increase.
As a master salesperson, you have a responsibility to deliver that information in a way that will give them enough confidence, trust and belief in you to buy from you. The most interesting aspect of what I’ve just shared is that it couldn’t be more obvious. And as with most sales situations, the obvious is overlooked. Maybe that’s because it requires hard work.
Or maybe it’s because salespeople are too busy celebrating at a superficial level or don’t feel like doing the work it requires. Whatever the circumstance, the opportunity is yours. Take it. Master it. Bank it.