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Get on the same page with a sales process

For many companies, there is a point at which a prospect will meet with multiple representatives of the company in a single meeting.  Many sales people or consultants will gather their team of experts or bring the boss into an initial sales meeting with the prospect to help understand the client issues.  This is especially true with consulting and professional service companies as they begin assessing the prospects needs.

Using this multi-person, bring in all the experts, brainstorming approach to assess client needs without a formal Sales Engagement Process is most often clumsy.  Clumsy leads to guessing later on when a proposal is being written. 

Guessing is not what experts get hired to do!

Getting on the Same Page A formal Sales Engagement Process systematically...

  • identifies and prioritizes all of the client objectives (or needs)
  • leads to a discussion about client resources such as time and budget
  • uncovers how the client will decide whether or not to buy

What happens with a team is that they are all following their own line of inquiry.  Consultant A may be asking a series of questions leading up to something she believes is important to uncover when Consultant B asks a seemingly related follow up question.  That leads Consultant B to ask another follow up question leading up to something he believes is important, but which is different than what Consultant A believed she needed to know.  

They are not reading from different pages!

Consultant A now may be faced with a tough choice.  Does she redirect the conversation which can be clumsy and demonstrate to the prospect that they are unorganized in their approach (not on the same page) or does she just drop the line of inquiry all together. 

In other words, does she guess what the prospect would have said when putting the proposal together?

Failure to be on the same page with a sales process has many other drawbacks, two of which are ...

  1. It makes it hard to control meeting time.  A lot of issues don't get explored simply because the meeting has to end.
  2. It makes it very difficult to get better at helping clients if you don't have a baseline process upon which you can improve.

Ask yourself this question.  When delivering proposals, most of the time are you excited to share it with your prospects because you are 90 percent sure you hit the target, or are you anxious because you feel it's more like 50/50?

If you are anxious when delivering proposals, it is time to develop or reexamine your sales process.

Photo on flickr by photodaddy2

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