Do You Have A Defined And Documented Sales Process?
Sales is one of those professions where there is little structure.
Many rural reps spent a lot of their time remotely travelling across their territory with little structure or system underpinning it which wastes so much money.
Sales Managers can’t be across all their team at all times so often rural sales reps are left to their own devices.
This gives too many choices in how they will spend their time and they end up spending too much effort on the easier minor stuff (travelling and reporting) rather than the harder major stuff (selling and qualifying).
Busyness doesn’t often lead to business.
If they focussed more on the majors instead of the minors they’d lift their sales by 20% immediately.
I can guarantee it because I’ve seen it.
All other respected and trusted professions have standards and structure. Lawyers, pilots, firefighters and police have to regularly sit exams to ensure they keep their jobs and accreditation. They have to pass rigorous tests before they’re allowed to practice or be promoted.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for sales.
You can be thrown the keys to your ute and get out into your allocated territory in a matter of minutes.
No exams needed.
It’s time we approached sales as a profession instead of an accidental career which is the case for many (64% to be exact according to the US Dept of Labour). That means two thirds of sales people professionals are reluctant sales people which hurts your bottom line.
They fell into a sales career rather than choosing the career. Sales is something they have to do rather than want to do. This means they won’t be performing to their true potential. Calculate the cost of a less motivated and reluctant rural sales team and the numbers are frightening.
This is why it’s so important to set standards and structure with your sales team:
- Instead of demanding them to “make more calls” set them a more specific goal of “5 new calls a day with 2 first meetings made”
- Ask for access to their calendar so you can see scheduled sales meetings to reconcile this activity against what they report in your CRM pipeline
- By seeing how they spend their time you can see how effective or not they are being
Specifying a number of calls can be easily managed when your rural rep records “calling in” to a cockie as a call to justify their job.
He or she has done what you ask but they have moved the prospect to the next stage of the sale. It’s an output rather than an outcome they are recording to keep you off their back.
You can put a stop to this and ask for a higher standard by sitting down in your weekly 1:1s to work out where that prospects sites in the sales process (assuming you have one) and how you can motivate them to move to the next stage or advancement. You need to be more granular.
So here’s what a proper, professional rural sales process looks like:
Step 1. Qualify
As Brian Tracy said: “The fastest way to make more sales is to spend time with better prospects”. Qualify your prospects before you drive to your prospects. Do they fit your criteria? Do they match your ideal customer profile? What behaviours or actions have they shown that qualify they might be a good fit? DO NOT rush the qualification process. Spending time will save you time.
2. Secure the First Meeting
You can do this by simply saying “I don’t know if we can help you or not but I’d like to quickly qualify if we can help you improve the profit and productivity of your XYZ in just 20 minutes which then gives you another option to consider and compare against the efficacy of what you are currently doing now. How does 2.30pm next Tuesday sound?” Securing a first meeting is a whole subject and day of training in itself. It will depend on the prospect, your product, the competition, the business climate. What I will say here is you need to wake them from their preoccupied slumber with an insight or idea that breaks their indifference. If you have nothing different to say you will be ignored. And don’t sell. Just sell the first meeting with something that whets their appetite. Make them curious to find out more by challenging how they think or are framing their current problems.
3. First Meeting
Come prepared with a pre-call plan. Ask the right powerful questions. Do your homework beforehand. Make sure you have rehearsed and role-played with your team so you’re ready.
This is an often over-looked step that offers HUGE value. You use a pre-proposal to further qualify your prospect so you can see what he or she values most. By “running it by them” you can see what they place most priority on. It also saves you a ton of time writing up a full blown proposal that your less qualified prospect might then ignore.
When you know what they value most you can put a proper price on it rather than guessing. Good aye? I will dedicate an entire email or worksheet to show you what constitutes the perfect proposal. If you want to talk more on this drop me an email (our proposals have a far higher hit rate due to the specific structure and sequence they follow).
6. Follow Up
Most rural reps follow up once or twice. You need to follow up at least 5-7 times. Be politely persistent. Prospects are busy. Be patient and add value by building trust and value in the things you send.
7. Cross-Sell /Referral
Formalising your referral system is a must and we can show you how. Meantime, make sure you let your now customer now what else you sell. You’ll be surprised how much they don’t know which gives you more opportunities to sell more to them. The best time to ask for a referral is right away. Why? Because you tell them you will earn the right to ask for a referral when you’ve done the job to their satisfaction. It’s keeps everyone accountable and then you use the power of reciprocation because you’ve set the expectation early and upfront that can you call in later.
So there you have your 7 step sales process.
Structure and sequence is key.
The pre-proposal suggestion I’ve given you is a gift worth thousands of dollars to you – if used right.
Do get in touch with me if you’d like my help structuring your very own customised sales process along with the perfect pre-proposal and proposal templates.
We’re here to help you and we know what works. You don’t have to guess it or wing it wasting precious time, money and leads.
Shall we talk?
I am on a mission to help rural sales and marketing owners, managers and reps get the results they deserve. Please make sure you Follow Me here on LinkedIn so you don’t miss out on my articles.
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