A recent article in the Wall Street Journal identified the fact that most successful companies create and define processes within their varying business functions that help their people to be more successful. Companies that are "process driven" tend to have more predictable results and higher performance. Processes create competencies, minimize errors and allow people to learn new positions and responsibilities faster. As I read the article it reinforced my belief in one of the most basic tenants of sales success: "Masters of selling never "wing it" and sell with a process". Are your selling efforts "process driven?".
Too often sales people and the companies they work for sell without a well defined process. Not only can this limit the success of individual sales people but it makes the job of Sales Management time consuming and ineffective. Without a sales process, which helps to create a common "selling language" within a company, communicating results or identifying lack of results is difficult. Also, without a well defined sales process it is hard to identify factors that cause success or failure.
A "well defined sales process" includes specific steps or "instructions" on how to handle situations that will occur in selling the products or services you are involved with. Because most situations or problems in sales re-occur with frequency, a process allows you to take advantage of the greatest teacher of all, "repetition". Learning how to successfully function and then repeating it over and over builds competency and reduces error. It also makes your job easier and creates a higher level of satisfaction in people that can perform a task with a higher level of consistency. This consistency creates a feeling of confidence which can dramatically influence your level of success.
Part of a "well defined selling process" is developing a list of questions that you consistently ask that will reduce your chances of not getting complete information. If you are good at consistently getting complete information from your customers/prospects there is a lower likelihood that you will deliver solutions that won't meet expectations.
Action Step: Take a minute and make a list of all of the information questions that you need to ask to eliminate the chances of not delivering what your prospect really needs. Don't be afraid to duplicate the list and use it on sales calls, you'll look thorough, professional and well prepared!