Finally, a Sales Process that Really Works – Everytime!

by admin on March 5, 2011

Finally! A Sales Process that Really Works

As a career Sales Consultant, Manager and Trainer I have worked with the sales organizations of small, midsized and large companies and I have seen a lot of different sales strategies, sales processes and sales techniques being used. Sadly, what I have observed over three decades is that most B2B sales reps are ineffective and conduct themselves in such a way during the sales process with their prospects that they do nothing to change the image, held by most non-salespeople; that all salespeople are manipulative, pushy and only interested in “what’s in it for them”.

In almost every case that occurs because that is the way they have been trained, and, it is the way most sales trainers and sales managers still train today. So, the negative image of sales people is perpetuated year and after year. And, as a result you seldom, if ever, see Sales listed in the Top 25 or even Top 50 Most Admired jobs in the world.

So the question becomes, why do Sales Managers and Sales Trainers continue to teach this antiquated sales techniques. To some degree it’s as simple as the fact that people resist change and doing it the way that it has always been done is the safe choice. There was a time that these techniques worked so the thinking is that it’s not the technique that is wrong, it’s we have the wrong people in our sales organization. So what we see is a lot of turnover of “non-producing” sales people, constant recruiting, hiring and training new sales people. But guess what, they get trained in the same old sales training programs and the cycle just starts over.

So, if the techniques worked before, why don’t they work now you may ask? That is very simple – the world has changed dramatically in the past 25-30 years. Technology has changed the work-place, the Internet has changed it… the speed of access to information now moves at warp speed. Companies now send buyers to classes to get certifications in negotiation. Buyers are better informed; they are trained to watch for high pressure, manipulative “closing techniques”. Moreover they learn how to combat them and turn the tables on the salesperson.

My business partner, Sam Johnson, and I recently worked with a client that asked us to analyze their sales strategies, sales training programs and their sales people. They told us that it was their belief that the sales manager had simply been hiring the wrong sales people because they had a book full of sales scripts which included handling any objection that the buyer might come up with and that these scripts were bulletproof…. That they had always worked until a year or so ago.

I opened the book and found this “script”:

Prospect: “Thanks for your presentation Jim; we appreciate all your time and effort. We are going to need to think about everything that we saw and heard today. Let us get back to you.”

Jim: (The Salesperson) “I can understand your feelings, and I am glad that you want to think about it and give my offer consideration because that tells me that you’re interested in having my product, otherwise there would be no reason for you to call me back.”

Prospect: “Correct.”

Jim: “When do you think that you will get back to me?”

Prospect: “Two to three days.”

Jim: “So you will be considering what I have told you today to make your decision?”

Prospect: “Yes, you gave us a lot to think about.”

Jim: (Holding up a blank piece of paper) “You know Bob, there are many studies on the retention capabilities of the human mind. What these studies reveal is that after 24 hours you will retain only half of the information from a verbal presentation like I gave you today.” (Folds the piece of paper in half)

“After two days you will retain only one fourth of the information.” (Folds the piece of paper in half again)

“After 3 days you will only remember 1/8th of the information.” (Folds the paper in half again)

“Does it make sense to postpone your decision and base that decision on only 1/8th of the information that you need?”

Prospect: “No, I guess not.”

Jim: “Great, let’s get the paperwork started.”

First, let me reiterate that this is not some dialog that we made up to make a point or to show how stilted these old outmoded tactics are; but it is actually a script that we have taken word for word from the client’s sales training manual.

The “training script” turned out to be copies of copies of copies of sales scripts they had taken from who knows what book or other sales manual that someone had taken from a previous job. It may have been one of the least professional sales manuals that I have ever seen.

In the manual we found the following Closing Scripts:

 The Pie Close

The Timeline Close

Lottery Close

The Ben Franklin Close

A-B-C Close

The Assume the Sun Close

The 10 Bid Close

The Puppy Dog Close

 The Close we described above was called the Paper Close and was highlighted as one of the “surefire closes” in the manual. I can tell you that in my more than 25 years of selling and teaching selling I have never seen this kind of script result in the outcome shown here. In other words, I have never seen a prospect go wow, after seeing you fold that piece of paper and hearing just how short my retention of this information will be I guess I had better sign your contract today.

I have to tell you; some of the “closes” on their list are 75 years old. Can you believe that in 2011 there are still sales training programs that teach these antiquated scripts?

The answer is that today’s B2B sales people need to learn a Collaborative Selling Solution that is non-manipulative, non-abrasive, that engages the prospect in the assessment of the needs or problems and includes them in the development of the solution.

In our next post we will describe our 7-Step Collaborative Selling Solution and contrast it with the old Traditional Selling Techniques and even show how it is better than Consultative Selling Processes that you may have seen or been taught. It is quite simply the best sales process ever created!!

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