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SALES IS NOT MAGIC, IT’S A PROCESS

All employees, whether sales-shy technicians or confident sales managers can successfully generate income for your business, provided a well structured sales process is in place.

Many of us have been there. We wanted to grow our business. We were ready to take on a larger workload and get bigger. So we decided it was time to employ a dedicated sales rep or business development manager.

We posted ads online, sought referrals from people we knew, and looked high and low for that special someone that was going to come in, do their magic, and boost sales like we were on a rocket ship.

And we found them. The perfect candidate. Well-spoken, likeable, funny, and appeared to be a cultural fit for the organisation. We hired them without hesitation and with great fanfare we set them loose to start bringing in the money. And then… nothing. [Sound of crickets chirping.]

So, we started asking the rep how things were going and every time we asked them this we walked away somewhat positive because of their upbeat attitude and that they were working on some ‘big deals’. But this positive feeling diminished as the “How’s it going?” conversations continued on a sporadic basis but nothing materialised. The relationship slowly soured over time as the business owner looked at the salary paid to the sales rep verses the sales being made.

So what’s happening here in this all too common scenario? The scenario of expecting the office tables to be knocked over with a barrage of customers beating down the door only to find that the deals won are hardly covering sales costs?

If you study the personality profiles of most sales representatives, they’re ‘people’ people. They are generally very likeable and relate well to others. But, generally, the flip side of that is that they are not good at the finer details – the paperwork, the IT system, the following of instructions.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with sales reps; they’re an important ingredient of a growing business. The problem with the scenario above is not the sales person. The problem is that the business did not have a well structured sales process for the sales person to follow, which could have helped them succeed at what they were good at and prevented things falling through the cracks (the things they weren’t good at). The business owner simply set them loose and expected magic – and this happens all of the time.

Sales is not magic. It’s not luck. Sales is like anything in a business: it’s a process. It’s a well defined, step-by-step system that guides anyone in your organisation through the steps to turn a prospect into a paying customer. From initial marketing contact through until they sign on the dotted line – whether that’s for a one-off treatment or signing up to an ongoing maintenance program – every conversation, every email, every metric to ascertain performance standards, everything is mapped out.

A truly well structured sales process can even the most sales-shy pest technician selling for a business and, importantly, it doesn’t feel like selling to them because they are simply following a process. When sales becomes a process it removes the ‘magic’ and the need to have the ‘gift of the gab’ because everything is laid out in procedures for the team member to follow. Almost anyone can perform a sales role in a properly defined sales system.

In my practice I have proven this with several businesses: a pest control company, a nationwide manufacturer of sheds, an international software reseller, labour outsourcing firms in Southeast Asia, a mid-sized bookkeeping firm, and more. It doesn’t matter who they are, sales rep or not; if the sales system is well structured and tailored to the business, it is a process that anyone can follow.

If you’re a business owner, consider how you can better structure your sales process for your staff so your team can help increase the income being generated for your business.

Chris Elder, Propeller Consulting Group