Building Patience into the Sales Process
It may sound counter intuitive, but patient salespeople are always the most successful. The stereotype of the sales person who won’t take no for an answer, who repeatedly closes and who is relentless about cold calling may make entertaining television, but the evidence points to the patient sales person as the role model for an effective sales organization.
Look at your quarterly or year end results. Did your sales team discount heavily in order to make the quota? Has your pipeline of opportunities been cleared out to hit the numbers “at any cost” with that cost being a huge hit to your margins? I’ve seen this in organization after organization where the sales team and management have not focused on effectively managing their sales process and opportunities throughout the quarter only to resort to panicked, premature closes to many opportunities. More often than not, this “haste” lays “waste” to your margins and bottom line.
Taking the time early in the quarter to assess your pipeline and schedule business development activities on an ongoing basis is the first step to building patience into the sales process.
Being prepared to listen to the customer to determine their goals is another skill that requires a sense of restraint among the average seller who is too often quick to spray the buyer with product offerings and features hoping for a quick close. If the seller doesn’t take enough time to fully understand how the customer will use their products, the buyer may get confused about irrelevant features or feel they are buying features they don’t need.
Buyers don’t often like to be told what to buy – particularly by sales people who they feel have a bias to push the sale regardless of the fit. By listening to the customers needs, sellers are better able to establish the value of their solution. By being patient, the seller is able to propose usage scenarios to the buyer which positions the seller as a credible consultant and the buyer is more likely to share the values of the alternative usage scenarios. By exploring the value of the seller’s product usage more fully, the buyer can calculate the benefit of buying the product and the savings of buying it sooner versus later. Often times the cost of operating without the seller’s solution can be significantly greater than the benefit of negotiating longer for price concessions. Once the buyer determines that is the case, the urgency to close the deal increases.
- Listen to the customer’s needs
- Let the customer establish a goal
- Establish value for your offering
- Don’t close prematurely
- Patience provides strength in negotiation
Developing a sales organization that respects a process that takes the time to better understand the customers need will result in a more predictable revenue stream, a higher win ratio and better margins – all rewards worth being patient for.
Flannery Sales Systems (www.Drive-Revenue.com) helps organizations develop and implement a repeatable sales process. Improving the effectiveness of your sales organization is the key outcome we provide to clients. We would welcome an opportunity to explore your needs and understand where you could benefit from improved skills and sales processes. Flannery Sales Systems works with a broad cross section of industries and we are confident we can enhance your results.