Almost every company has one or two salespeople who are not meeting expectations. All of us have probably even been ‘that guy’ at one point. Rarely is it a case of just working harder because most people who gravitate to sales have a strong work ethic. Doubling down on a failing strategy doesn’t change the outcome.
When sales results aren’t as expected, there are only three variables; people, product, and process. One of them is much easier to change than the other two. Assuming that the product is good, refining the sales process will yield the best results in the shortest amount of time.
That’s why the best sales managers expect their people to follow a defined sales process, prepare detailed account plans, and outline exactly how they intend to hit their revenue targets. It’s the consistent process that provides the data you need to establish a baseline, diagnose what’s not working and determine what needs to change.
“Process brings consistency, repeatability and predictability to your sales efforts”
Process becomes the blueprint for success. It’s what makes the difference between the occasional home run and the consistent hitter. Without some degree of predictability, it’s simply not possible to forecast revenues with any degree of certainty, and you just can’t run a business that way.
What’s the best way to introduce consistency into your sales process? For starters, salespeople need to get comfortable working from a script. Many salespeople may protest to this, arguing that they need the flexibility to respond in the moment. However, Phil M. Jones makes a great counter-argument to this in his book, Exactly What to Say.
As Jones points out, when was the last time you saw a great movie when the characters did not work from a script? It is because they use the script, that they already know what to say, can actually be in the moment, and focus on what the other person is saying. They are actively listening, not thinking about what they are going to say next. So, it becomes a disservice to your prospect not to use a script.
The simple exercise of writing a sales script brings discipline to the process because it forces you to think through the call progression, to anticipate potential objections, and to ensure that the sales call is as productive as possible. The script becomes a central part of call planning. But sales scripts are never static. Just like the sales process itself, the sales scripts need to be managed, refined, and constantly adjusted to adapt to changes in the product, the market, and the audience. Sales scripts also provide a way for your sales team to collaborate, to share success stories and incorporate those techniques that worked back into the core sales script that the team shares. In that way, everyone on the team benefits and the performance of the group is enhanced.
Your sales scripts also minimize the impact of having a bad day. We have all had those days when your head is just not in the game, but sales scripts provide the basic framework for you to fall back upon so that your performance does not suffer. So, if sales are not coming in as expected, start by making sure that the sales process is in sync with the buyer decision journey, and then start working on the sales scripts to make sure that you are delivering the most value with each prospect interaction. That’s how you can introduce more consistency, repeatability, and predictability into your selling efforts.