In the meantime, if you have any questions, contact email@example.com or 0779 002 1885
In the meantime, if you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0779 002 1885
What is not having a system that delivers predictable sales results costing your business?
Every firm is seeking continuous sales improvement. They would like to achieve that on zero budget. Every firm seeks predictability and stability.
It’s the holy grain because once you’ve cracked that formula for your sales lead generation and closing, then you can simply plug and play and collect the cash. Simply put your sales process delivers great sales results consistently. Primarily due, to a large degree, to you removing many of the failing and costly variables in the sales process variables.
The result? Predictable sales growth, high level of sales stability, fewer peaks and troughs. Plus higher levels of confidence in the future…exciting times? You bet!
And it won’t cost you, because you’ve probably already got all the resources you need…it’s the application of those resources that’s causing the gap.
It why so many firms miss out on implementing the key elements of a predictable sales system!
It’s costing them, and maybe you, fortunes, every single day. Business is sitting on the table or even worse dropping into competitors laps way too easily…and what’s even worse is that margins are being compromised on sales that are landed.
I’ve completed two quite intense sales audits this month and something struck me as quite odd.
Whilst writing their respective and separate 30 day improvement plans, I saw more than a few common elements between the two firms problems. The common elements existed even though the sales teams operated in different industries, selling different products, each firm operated at different price points and are selling in to different decision maker levels.
What was even stranger was the key common elements existed even though one firm was doing ok, but had plateaued, whilst the other sales function was in a real long term sales dry patch.
Despite all of this the root causes were essentially the same.
The question is; are they the same for your business too?
Very few firms go from soaring success to total sales nose dive over night. Maybe occasionally if there is some disaster or unplanned legislative changes, so I can can accept that depressed sales performance is a spectrum that can slowly morph from a plateau to a dip to a dive to insolvency…
However, this doesn’t distract from the fact that there are critical success factors. It is the absence of these critical sales success factors that sets of the chain of events that see sales results start to slip and then dive…
When you look at this list below, just remember that any sales function can address these issues immediately. Remember that providing your take quick action you’ll see some sales improvements.
I hope the list gives you food for thought, and also a cause to take action if you’re seeking predictable sales results and the huge benefits associated with such predictability.
Don’t try to do all of these at once.
You’ll get on everyone’s nerves and be the sales dictator that no-one signed up for. Just pick two or three and see what happens:
The top three issues should bump your sales results considerably…but there are three more I want to share with you:
You’ll be well on your way.
Building a business development, lead generation and sales closing system that delivers predictable sales results is not just 6 bullet point.
The points above are 6 key reasons why firms DON’T get semi predictable sales results, and are in a sales lump/dive.
Don’t ignore the obvious.
The market is no tougher for you than anyone else.
The buyers are no more exasperating with you than your competitors
The economy is not penalising you it’s impacting all.
Don’t listen to it.
Take control of what you can control and you’re well on your way to predictable sales results…
0779 002 1885
P.S. Want to receive a regular feed of sales improvement and business development tips? Then simply claim your weekly free (and span free!) subscription to The Advanced Business Achiever. It’s great for sales meetings, in house sales training, daily coaching and daily huddles…
P.P.S. If you’re looking for a way to create your own internal sales and business development system to predictable sales results…you can find that here TurboCharged Sales
So, lots of ways to get predictable sales results…let me know how you get on
When Sales ROI is such a powerful sales tool…then you are a fool! I wish there was an easier way to say this, but well there isn’t and if you’re offended then great. Hopefully you’ll be offended enough to do something about it.
If not, well…
Great question. Forget about all the hot leads you wish for, the warm prospects, the incoming calls and the warm word of mouth referrals – unless you flex your Sales ROI muscle, you’ll convert fewer than you should/could, you’re sales cycle will be longer than it needs to be, your margin will most definitely be lower than it should be AND you’ll waste so much time, forget about reaching sales targets early, if at all.
Get used to the month end stress of shredding your sales pipeline just to get a zero margin deal in before month end!
When I first started in sales, I quickly found out that some people just don’t want what you’re selling, on that day, in that way, in that colour, with those terms blah, blah, blah…you know that type of buyer.
Those prospects who wouldn’t consider buying a £1 note for 10 pence an ok deal…you notice I said ok and not great.
So, I decided I wanted to avoid those sales prospects as often as I could.
I wanted to find serious prospects ASAP, because those guys I could convert, fast, with a high margin and with a total win-win solution…they respected the value I bought to the table and I understood what they needed…happy days.
All I needed to do was to realistically prove that buy buying my service/product they would earn more money than they would ever spend with me.
The faster I got that sum out the way, the faster the close.
And guess what…as an added bonus, hardly anyone queried my prices.
Sales ROI can do that.
56% of buyers claim that one of their key requirements for buying is that they enjoy the sales process.
Sales ROI ticks that box too…it’s the easiest and fastest way to engage the buyer in the process.
It ticks the logical box, it gives evidence to support their emotional decisions.
Why wouldn’t the buy?
You know, that is EXACTLY what my buyers used to say too!
I’ve seen lots of sales people simply not be able to get their head around doing it…primarily I think because they don’t like talking about money (don’t ask)
Other sales people, well, they’ve told me they like selling how they are selling and that’s good enough for them. Good enough is such an interesting turn of phrase don’t you think…I guess their salary is good enough too, and they life, and their car, and their house…just good enough…
But let me tell you this.
The sales professionals that get it, try it, adopt the Sales ROI sales structure as their own, those guys that have some fun with it, that use it to reduce buyer defenses and so get rid of objections and boring and long sales processes, well those guys just never look back…AND their customers love them.
Come along to any of our sales training course – all through the UK – in house and open – just fill out your details and email me email@example.com or call 0779 002 1885…let’s have a chat.
p.p.s. Hop over here and collect your free subscription – Hot Sales and Business Development Tips – straight to your inbox weekly – perfect for feeding weekly team meetings, daily huddles and coaching sessions – it’s free and spam free too
How to Close Profitable Sales – What Do You Need To Know?
Discover how to close profitable sales and it saves time, turnover, profit, reputation, resources and sanity.
Get it wrong and welcome to inaccurate sales forecasts, deals left wide open for the competitors to walk into and pick up, profit drains, instability and poor ability for forecast.
Knowing how to close profitable sales could be the difference between a high stress low margin sales environment and a solid, stable sales machine.
Golden Rule: Always be prepared to leave a deal on the table.
Any exceptions to this? Not that I can think of.
Let the deal mature. Keep in contact, keep it warm, but hold the line.
Just because the buyer hasn’t snapped your hand off on receipt of the proposal, just because they haven’t got back to you when they said then would, and just because they haven’t responded to your email….
Just hold fire.
None of this means the deal is dead.
Avoid falling into the trap many sales people will happily dive head first into given the first sign of coolness from the Buyer.
You see, a regular jobbing sales person will get scared.
At the first sign of coolness from the prospect, they’ll simply assume the deal is being made with a competitor and they’re missing out.
It’s not always the case.
In fact, it’s often NOT the case.
A sale at any cost is just a race to the bottom.
And, typically the first reaction to a ‘cooler’ buyer is to start panicing, and try to cut a deal.
The first thing to get a hair cut is the price…margins get stripped out in exchange for a speedy signature on the dotted line.
WOW…savvy Buyer who uses that trick…stall a few days and watch the price crumble…first lesson in Purchasing School.
But what if the Buyer then accepts your lower price and STILL drags his heels?
You’ll knock the price back up to the higher, original level?
Good luck with that…please write and let me know how you get on.
The truth is – panic, negotiate and you’ll drop credibility and the business loses profit…and you’ve got to work hard to replace what you originally had, or could have had.
Congratulations, welcome to the Hamster Wheel….start running!
Lesson? You know the lesson….hold the line.
Get a great deal to the table, lock it in and leave it there.
Of course, make sure you keep in contact with the Buyer, make sure the Buyer has everything needed to make their decision in your favour.
But, the cast iron opportunity to REALLY protect yourself from this panic driven desperation, that costs you your reputation, credibility, pipeline, margin, commission and self respect, is to look at what’s happening during the sales process and how you interact with the buyer.
Think about this…because it matters a lot if you want to discover how to close profitable sales
During your sales demonstration, you will have been careful to build a strong relationship with the Buyer, to do this you’ll have:
You’ll have done all that won’t you?
If you haven’t then check this out….How to Sell.
As a result you’ll also have formed a relationship of value, integrity and openness, for both of you.
These are the very basics. Miss any of these elements out at your peril.
With all that done, have some faith.
Will all that in place how to close profitable sales just becomes a question of timing, not skill.
Hold the line….BUT keep this in mind:
The In Principle Decision
The order’s not in until the signature is on the dotted line, but that doesn’t stop you asking for an in principle decision, such that your buyer gives you a ‘yes’ pending agreeing a date to get the actual order signed and back to you.
It doesn’t stop you being highly assumptive.
I see a million sales a year drop through the cracks because the sales person is way too reticent in claiming ownership of the order and letting the prospect know that they have claimed responsibility for the order and getting it to order completion.
Own it! Push it!
Make it Easy for the Buyer to Say YES!
Your aim through this whole process is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to say yes.
Take all the pain away, all the admin, all the responsibility to getting the order signed off, such that all the buyer is required to do is to email you a P.O.
Make Friends with the Decision Making Family
Make sure you’ve got all the influencers, all the referrers, all the other decision makers lined up and in agreement with your solution.
Sure, this is hard work…it takes time.
It costs a lot, but it’s worth a lot.
Having done all of that here’s what you don’t do.
You Don’t Panic
Silence is NOT a coded message from the Buyer for you to think ‘Let’s call the prospect and halve the price’…unless that’s how YOU interpret and YOU react.
You’d be surprised how many sales people have that very strong connect in their head.
You Don’t Assume – ASK!
You’ve build a good relationship with the Buyer, you can ask some direct questions.
What’s the hold up?
Is there any other information you need from me?
Do I need to meet with anyone else to expedite this through for you?
Are you going to place your order with my business?
Has anything changed since we met?
Is there anyone else involved that I’m not aware of?
So, here are a few things you can do to ring fence the times when you may be left hanging, and to prevent radio silence from the prospect:
If you’re serious about closing profitable sales then this is an absolute must, which you can choose to ignore this at your peril.
How and when you set this up will either make you a busy admin gofer, or will make you a fortune.
Let me ask you:
What’s the one question you could ask, once the Buyer has told you that you’ve got his business ‘in principle’ that would indicate to you what the buyer’s real intent is?
Just one question…
Do you know what it is?
That’s great Mr Buyer, I’m so glad we’ve got this opportunity to work together, now, do you have your diary for next week, I can come back in on Wednesday or Thursday to go through the paper work with you, explain the quote/conditions in full and answer any questions you have, and the you can place your order. Now, which one of those days is better for you?
Will save you a fortune in time, selling time and admin time, it will save you chasing quotes that won’t fall in your favour, it will prevent you forecasting a deal that’s never going to materialise… it will tell you if you’re dealing with a buyer who is actually willing to do business with you.
Just one questions – the guess work and the mystery falls away.
If you ask for an opportunity to come back in to present your proposal and the Buyer says ‘no’ then you have a very strong idea of where his intentions are.
That’s very useful.
Truly, very valuable.
It’s an opportunity for you to re-pitch, to re-explore, to challenge and re-close , or to move on.
So, having asked and secured the opportunity to come back and present the proposal, you can be confident that the only reason you are being accepted back to present a proposal is that the Buyer is sufficiently engaged and excited by what you had to say the last time you met.
And that the Buyer is ready to do business with you.
But still, here’s what will have happened since you last met with the Buyer:
In going back with the written proposal you have a chance to remind him of what his issues are, what the cost of not addressing those issues is, why he needs to get serious about addressing the issues now and why he should select you.
This is not a duplicate visit of the first meeting.
This meeting is a chance to reinvigorate, regenerate, re-engineer and revitalise the Buyer and get a signature.
You must walk through the door believing, acting and talking as if you’ve already won the business.
This is a highly assumptive pitch meeting and NOT a fact check.
This is about understanding how to close profitable sales…every Buyer contact is an opportunity to maximise your chances at getting the price you want and the order signed as fast as possible. To do that you must make every single Buyer interaction high value from the Buyer’s perspective. Otherwise you’re just one of the many push sales guys out there who have yet to discover how to close profitable sales with skill and mastery!
When you book this meeting you must let the Buyer know that you will be returning to confirm the solution, answer any questions and get the order signed.
Get comfortable in using this language; in fact you should use this language.
Be absolutely clear with your language and your intent.
You’ve done all the hard work, this is not the time to be reticent and hang back.
This is the time to be confident.
After all, if the Buyer was going to reject you, he wouldn’t have given you all the information you need to generate a proposal.
Plus, being clear, succinct and direct when you book the second meeting, then everyone knows what is required of them at the next stage.
If you have the deal, the Buyer will easily agree to this request.
If you haven’t got the deal, and the Buyer, doesn’t want to tell you directly, then (if they are like many Buyers) they will decline or possibly accept then send you an email to cancel the second meeting. That’s how cowards behave.
The conversation might go something like this…
I’ll prepare the proposal based on my research to date and our conversations, specifically considering your challenges, timescales and budgets, so our next meeting can focus on moving forward, getting the order signed and what happens when we start supplying you. Is that ok with you?
Should it scare the buyer?
What it should do is to focus the Buyer’s mind.
You need the Buyer to understand that you are there because you want to do business with him and are serious about working with his firm.
And that’s ok. He should be too.
In learning how to close profitable sales, it’s only to be expected that the Buyer might well push back a little, because he can see what his decision should be, but that doesn’t stop him fighting against it which means he may well end the meeting by asking you to give him time to think.
Here’s what you do:
You ask the following:
Couple of things you may be thinking here:
A little back bone at this stage means that you should know exactly where you stand before you leave the Buyer’s office.
You know whether to spend any time on the proposal because, after all, writing proposals can take up huge amounts of time.
But more importantly the Buyer knows what you expect of him!
You are not just going to let him off the hook…drift off into the sunset and chalk this one up to ‘nice chat’ or ‘maybe sometime’
Especially not after you’ve done a thorough sales investigation, mapped out solutions, shared your expertise and vast experience, presented additional insights he’d not considered as well as help him work through the reality of his challenges and pathways to success….
If you have done your sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you have a right to ask these questions.
If you haven’t done the sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you’re not in a position to ask these questions.
Don’t even try.
You’ll sound like the worst kind of shiny suited wide boy because that just won’t wash with the buyer.
Just remember…hold the line because after you’ve invested all this time and uncovered a viable prospect, it’s what you must do.
Getting comfortable with being in charge of the sales process. Get comfortable with the sign off stage because that’s how you close profitable sales, since it takes practice and backbone. Hold the line because it’s worth it.
For ongoing weekly insights into how you can boost sales, drive business development and accelerate your sales growth just hit the link here because it’s the fastest way to work on improving your overall sales skills.
How to Close Profitable Sales is just one blog of our articles – check out more insights into building a solid and stable sales pipeline, accelerating sales growth and closing good quality business, quickly by hopping over to our blog http://www.mortonkylesalesimprovement.com use the search function to find whatever you’re looking for.
How to Close Profitable Sales (c) Morton Kyle Limited
Sales and Business Development Functions are worthless if there is no sales and business development system in place which is used throughout the business.
With regard to maximising sales performance, what’s the best sales and business development support system look like?
First of all, let’s think about what your Sales and Business Development System should deliver for you and your business.
We could make this a really complex list and you’d probably go no further than a very complex list, so I’m deliberately going to make my list very simple for you.
Just three things. That’s all.
Those three things will deliver you the following:
What more do you want?
I thought not.
Again – it should be really simple.
So simple it’s child’s play.
I’ve seen sales processes that stretch around the block and back again…trust me when I tell you, the more complex your sale process, the more things will go wrong AND, even worse, you’ll rarely be able to find the root cause quickly…that means the sales fix is a million miles away.
Keep it Simple.
But, in reality, those are the key 5 sections that will affect your profit and your sales throughput.
Sure – there are mini sections inside these 5 sections but the reality is – if you manage these 5 sections and the 4 gates in between them, then you’ll be doing what 90% of the sales teams working today ARE’NT doing.
How good would you feel then?
You see, these four gates (shown in red) – from Leads > Meetings > Quotes > Converted Customers > Retained Customers, will show you exactly what part of your sales process is letting you down.
Once you know that, it’s a very simple deep dive to improve that section.
If you want some guidance on what you can do to improve each of the 5 sections – take a look here.
3 key rules:
Seriously, I can’t stress it enough…complicated and complex will kill any ambition you have of accelerated sales growth.
You can wave goodbye to highly predictable sales growth and it will cost you heavily in time, profit and opportunity, plus you’ll be forever cursing the day you spent creating a monster that’s unmanageable.
And you know the worst thing? Without such a simple, transparent and segmented sales and business development system, you’ll be FOREVER reliant on the skills of your transient sales team rather than the potency of your sales engine, and if that doesn’t scare you then stop reading now, because if you’re putting your business performance in the hands of the sales team who can up and off, en mass, in a heart beat then you’re playing with fire.
So, top line – how do you set up a Sales and Business Development System for your business?
Take a look here for an initial insight.
Transparency – each section (shown above) should have it’s own high level of transparency, it’s own accountability and it’s own check list
Sales Process – have a sales process that EVERYONE sticks to. No deviation, no hesitation, no question – you’ll never be able to scale and replicate a working and profitable sales and business development system if everyone is doing their own thing – this will help you.
Set KPI’s for each of the 4 gates that exist between the 5 sections. They are the KPI’s you manage every single minute of every single day
Metrics – for additional sales metrics to check you’re on track – down load this
Lead Quality – be very very careful of the leads you put in the top of your sales process – your sales and business development system will die a slow and painful death if you treat all leads as being of equal value and if you shove any old rubbish in there…no point keeping count if you’re just counting worthless buttons…make sure your leads are high quality, pure gold prospects you’d LOVE to work with – for more details check this out for advice on How to Build A Great Sales Funnel
Get Creative – to drive accelerated sales growth you’ll need to get creative in each of your 5 sections. Here’s two insights to show you how you can do that – check them out – download – Only Dead Fish Go With the Flow, check out this blog on How To Increase Price.
You’re Selling What? – think about what you’re actually selling, you’ll be able to get a greater insight into this by asking what your customers are actually buying, because once you understand this not only will you be able to accelerate your sales growth you’ll also be able to increase your prices…here’s a guide to help you – just hit this link
Value – think about what value you bring to the buyer at every single stage. If something in your sales process doesn’t deliver value to the buyer, then serious consider getting rid of it.
Managing Poor Sales Performance – you’ll need to be tough, there’s no point putting up with sub par sales performance if you’re a business committed to sales growth – check this out – How to Deal With Poor Sales Performance
Get Competitive – be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and make some noise, sure you can still keep your operations covert if you wish, but as far as your prospects, buyers and sales force are concerned – be loud and proud – check this out if you want a nudge in that direction.
And one final thing – make sure you’ve got your sales and senior management team on board acting as sales performance improvement functions, sales coaches, sales problem solvers and sales guides…this is a big task and some of your old guard will rally against the change, check here...if you’re committed to accelerated sales growth I know you’ll do what you need to do.
Yes – any business can.
Few chose to.
Many leave it in the hands of the individual sales functions, sales people, sales managers and they pay the consequences when key sales people leave.
Accelerated sales growth relies on ALL aspects of the business pulling in the same directions – that means any business undertaking such a commitment to increase sales and business performance needs an agreed, workable and sustainable sales and business development system.
Few firms have this.
The cost associated in not having such a system is huge – time, money, market share, brand value, competitor growth, missed opportunity, lack of responsiveness, mediocre business and sales performance…all negatively impacting the bottom line.
I hope you think about how your business could benefit from such a system…
Any questions…call me
0779 002 1885
Sales Performance Improvement – Habit Beats Knowledge Every Time
Sales Performance Improvement is the key driver for continuous sales improvement…better results, bigger results, faster.
If you’re in sales, sales management or running your own business then chances are you’ll be looking for ways to continually boost your sales performance. You’ll be looking for more customers, more profitable clients, in less time, bigger orders, larger average order values, higher conversions…
That’s business. It’s also human nature to ask…is this the best we can do? Can we do it better, easier, faster?
Plus, in sales, it’s a competitive environment. You’re forced to ask these questions. Your shareholders, competitors, stakeholders and bank will be asking you the same.
Here’s the truth about seeking continuous sales performance improvement:
You see, if you’ve been in a sales or sales leadership role for any time, you’ll most likely know everything there is to know and that you need to know…and your performance will reflect that.
That might be enough for you, your business, your clients.
But what about what you don’t know?
How important is that?
Sales Performance Improvement works the same way.
Gawande’s background is in medicine. Having piloted and then rolled out his check-list based methodology across many hospitals and medical facilities he details how a simple check-list has saved 100’s of thousands of lives. He proposes his way of working, the same methodology can be transferred to other industries – and I for one, strongly agree with him.
In truth, anything that saves that number of lives has to be worth a good look at. You’ll agree when you read his evidence. Simply put, if a humble check-list can save that many lives…what could the same do for your business, your sales performance and your sales results?
Worth a look?
Here’s the premise:
No-one needs a check list for the simple stuff, where there are few variables, when the outcome is low risk, it’s a predictable action with a predictable outcome…
But check-lists have a distinct advantage in those situations where there is a higher level of complexity, more risk, a handful of variables and no guaranteed outcome.
This is the first and last time you’ll see me compare sales to heart surgery but there you go. You’ll see where I’m going with this…
In both, the risks are high, lots of complexity, variables, high levels of unpredictability, opportunity for errors and failure are all present.
So whilst we’re not talking about losing lives, we are risking something. Maybe losing margin, turnover, market share, customer confidence, shareholder confidence, brand value.
Digging deeper, Gawande makes the distinction between two types of error:
Ignorance – mistakes we make because we don’t know enough.
Ineptitude – mistakes we make because we don’t use the skills and knowledge we have in the right way.
He concludes that most errors happen because of the latter – ineptitude.
This suggests that the person actually knows all they need to know, they have all the skills they need to know.
Moreover, this ineptitude exists in simple and complex tasks.
Let me explain, the problems occur when old habits, entrenched ways of working. When the ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’ mindsets overtake them. Or when the body is on auto pilot. Almost like conscious competence, but not quite as competent as one imagines.
That’s a perfect breeding ground for errors to take place. For example, the patient has complications or the sale derails. Simply because of lack of good habits, rather than lack of skills, knowledge or competence.
It’s a check-list to use. A list to refer to when the sales process with a client is going off track. It’s literally a step by step guide in what to do to rescue it, bring it back on track, get it motoring in the right direction.
How simple is that?
Here’s an example:
In his book Gawande uses examples of Dr’s and medical staff not washing their hands as frequently as they should. Or as frequently as they thought they did.
Pay attention to that last statement. It’s very important because how many times do we think we’ve done something when actually we haven’t? Especially those repetitive tasks, the small tasks that matter but don’t really register at the time?
Gawande references the Dr’s failing to ask a simple question of the patient, or washing hands.
It’s the same in a sales environment, it could be remembering to ask the budget question early on, or finding out if this is a price comparison exercise or a genuine need with the client.
These are seemingly inconsequential questions at the time that have a HUGE impact on the quality of the sale and the chances of profitable conversion.
On a real life basis – if you’ve ever kept a food diary – you know that your ‘good food days’ were more like ‘ok food days’ and your ‘ok food days’ really should be called ‘oh hell! food days’! The power of the check-list in another format!
So, there’s no two ways about it when you’re thinking about sales performance improvement, or even better, continuous sales performance improvement then – Habit Beats Knowledge every time.
Gawande concludes that having and rigorously using check-lists improves the chances of success and improves performance across the board.
My take away, is much bigger and more important than simply improving sales performance and here’s why.
Such a check-list based methodology actually changes habits. That is exciting because if you’re adopting this in your sales team, your business and your customer facing environment you’ve just created your baseline for continuous sales performance improvement.
One more thing:
If you’re putting this system in place, it dramatically changes the function of your sales manager…or Sales Performance Coach. Both functions now act as part auditor, part coach, part sales performance improvement specialist…which is how it should be…but more on that another day…
If you want regular sales and business development information – hit the link here. It’s totally free and great for helping you boost your sales efforts. Many subscribers use it to power and energise their sales meetings. Try it out, there’s an unsubscribe button if you don’t like it after a few weeks…
Competitive strategy allows you lots of options.
Competitive strategy takes more than simply dropping the price.
Discover how lowering price is not the best differentiator when you’re trying to boost sales, profits and market share, and why simply distracting the market with cheaper prices is the last thing you should do.
Sales audit that delivers fast track sales improvement Continue reading