I write a lot of sales related articles and I read a lot too! It’s the best way of finding out what’s going on in terms of thoughts and ideas for the ‘now’ and the ‘future’ of professional selling. It seems to me that every sales ‘expert’ has their own unique sales process and methodology but underneath the principles are usually the same. The one thing I have noticed though is that all the sales processes stop at the point of perceived sales success, the close. Now this is fine if:
- You are selling a simple ‘one time’ product or service where repeat business is unlikely.
- You are happy being ‘seen’ as just a sales person.
- You enjoy the thrill of the chase but once you have landed the deal you are only interested in the next prospect on your list.
If you talk to any buyer you will know that the LEAST thing they are interested in is YOUR sales process. What they care about is their BUYING process. Their buying process is focussed on one thing, choosing the right supplier that will DELIVER the right solution for their business. One that works, that achieves the results promised and delivers a positive return on investment.
I teach sales people to NEVER see the close as the end of their sales process. Their sales manager may see that contract signature as success but the new client does not. The job of the sales person is never over until the client has implemented their product or solution and are getting the exact results or better than the sales person promised them.
This is obvious stuff, right? So why do so many sales people disappear, once the contract is signed? Perhaps the way their business is structured, they are not meant to get involved in implementation? I have worked for firms where it was frowned upon to even stay in contact with new clients as it “would distract me’. Perhaps the sales person knows what they have sold is not right for the client (they have lied or at least embellished the truth) and that fact will become clear on implementation?
My advice to buyers when doing due diligence on buying major products or services for your business:
- Find out what their Customer Experience/Customer Engagement strategy is? Don’t just take their word for it, ask for references of existing clients that you can talk with.
- Ask your networks across social media for feedback on the businesses you have shortlisted.
- Build in to the contract specific break clauses and compensation that cover you in the event of the supplier failing to meet its obligations.
- NEVER be rushed into signing a deal on the back of a time related ‘offer’. It’s just a sales tactic. Remember the offer though as you WILL get this price, if and when YOU are ready.
My advice to sales people is this:
- NEVER see the ‘close’ as ‘job done’.
- Any fool can make a sale to a client once but it takes integrity, interest and genuine care to sell to the same client again and again.
- If your organisation only sees you as a ‘hunter’ then that is exactly what the prospect will see before them.
- The profession of selling is changing and you need to be working for a sales organisation that genuinely understands the BUYER is king.
Thanks for reading.
Stuart Allen @StuartAllenFCMI
01905 384314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Social media and sales training in Worcester, Worcestershire and across the UK.