So you think you are good at sales? Do you say you can sell fire to the Devil or ice to Eskimos? Sure maybe you have a great personality, you shoot from the hip and a majority of the time you have no problems getting a meeting, maybe you pitch your product, maybe potential customers listen to you.
Maybe you ask about their vacations and their children and you try and form a personal bond between you and the lead and it seems to be working. People like you and you even get as far as submitting a proposal or sending over a contract. That might be where everything ends or you may even get further, and maybe you make a sale into a minority of your prospects. Is this you? If it is, you are doing everything wrong. You absolutely must have a sales methodology. There are many of them; Spin Selling, Snap Selling, Value Selling Framework, Solution Selling only to name a few.
Why do you need a sales methodology?
First you need to figure out which sales methodology lines up with your business before we can answer why. You can’t employ some of these selling methodologies as they might be too cumbersome in your market or might not be effective. Some are old school and outdated and others are very process intensive. You need to explore each methodology and get familiar with it, ask yourself if it is the right methodology for you and then if it is right for your business and your sales team. If you are a business owner it is critical you sit down with your sales team and explore what methodology works and which one doesn’t, or you need to decide on a methodology that you will employ moving forward. You will run into people that refuse to accept or follow your sales methodology and will fall back on their tried and true methods, that they have self-taught themselves over the years. These blind squirrels will find nuts once in a while and that will make them feel rebellious against any kind of process. These individuals are dinosaurs and can actually make your sales team go backwards if you let them persist in your organization. Once you have decided on what sales methodology to use, you need to understand why you have to use it. The first reason is that sets a framework for your organization and team, and this is important for creating a baseline.
You can train new sales staff your methodology as there will be training materials available, you can document the steps in your sales process, you can report on each step of your methodology and find out where you might need to improve as a group, when you need to improve, how you can improve and ultimately when you turn to report, which is essential for forecasting, scaling and trending. You will understand better when to pivot, change products, add features and your overall sales department health with a sales methodology. You will also be able to tap into a community of like-minded individuals and gain knowledge, improve your techniques and grow from exposure to new ideas and information related to your methodology choice. You can attend sales methodology events and learn if there are tools, groups, and people that you can tap into in order to improve. You will also have a great resource of books, blogs, and collaboration.
When someone approaches you and is looking at the structure or your company for a merger or acquisition and you have a tried and proven sales methodology, that is going to check a box marked. The best way to be successful in business is to do a lot of different things, find out which one of those things works and then do that thing that worked over and over again. Keep succeeding at something that works is great. The worst thing to do is to continue doing that thing that worked if it is providing diminishing returns. You need to be nimble and able to align your business selling practices with a solid foundation that is derived from your proven, nurtured and experience-based sales methodology. Your Sales team are your scouts, you need them to go out there and see what is needed working in the wild. You will see that deploying and using a sales methodology will have these scouts returning to you with information critical to your business and success, chaining someone to a self-taught methodology is dangerous.
Get a sales methodology and stick to it. Your business depends on it more than your service, product, and what has worked in the past.