Salespeople are born, not made. You just have some people who are naturally born salespeople… right? Hey, this is Bernie Heine, and I’m going to talk today a little bit about the power of having a process to drive sales.
So most companies just assume that people know how to sell, we all know how to sell – people ran lemonade stands when they were kids and did a good job, right? So you’ve got your natural-born sellers and then some people that just aren’t that good.
Developing a Sales Process that Works
But in actual fact, we can train people to have a process in sales. We use processes for every part other part of the business – we have processes in finance, we have processes in manufacturing – but so often, people don’t think to have a good sales process. And having the process means we can know where we are at any point in time, we can adjust our strategies, and we can repeat the things that work well and avoid doing the things that don’t work well.
A Step-By-Step Sales Process: Asking Essential Questions
We have to understand what the clients’ needs are, so we do a diagnosis. Once we understand where their pain points are and what’s really bothering them, then we move to how much money they do they have, what can they really invest in the solutions that we might offer. Then we want to know how they make decisions in their company – is it just the person you’re talking to, or is there a Board of Directors that you have to get in front of in order to get your sale?
At this point I want to know from them a commitment. Are they willing to even hear my proposal? And when they say yes, I want to hear your proposal, that is the time when I actually for the first time introduce what I can do for them.
Close the Deal
After all this, closing the sale is easy. Most companies start the other way around – the first thing that the salesperson does is show up with a brochure or catalog or all these pictures saying, ‘look at all the great stuff we can do’ and they try to sell you everything in the book, versus starting with ‘what do you need? maybe I’m not even the right person for you’.
The most important thing in sales is you can’t spend your time in front of non-qualified leads. You have to know right away; if you’re in the right place you’re in charge of the process.
Set Agreements In Advance
In between each one of those steps of the process it’s also very important for us to set advanced agreements. I need to know that I’m moving lockstep through the process with my prospect. Because the worst situation I can be in is when I’m ahead or behind where they are, or I leave the meeting thinking that the sale is closed but the client thinks, “I’m so glad he left,” and never wants to hear from me again. We need to know that we’re in the same place at the same time, so we set and keep agreements all along the way to confirm that we’re in the same place. It’s about having a process, keeping to the process, setting agreements, and then really doing the work of sales which is managing the numbers.
Manage your Input Numbers
What most people don’t realize is you can’t manage the end result. The end result happens because you’re managing the inputs to the process. The real input is how many people am I talking to on a day-to-day basis, how many people are moving through my funnel, are moving through the process that I’ve developed and managed in a disciplined way.
That’s the part that we manage, that’s the part that I manage personally, and if I’m a sales manager that’s the part I’m managing for my team. Everybody’s got a number, we have to know what that number is, we have to know where we stand on a daily basis against that number.
About Bernhard Heine
Bernhard Heine is a business and executive coach at Professional Business Coaches, Inc. (PBC, Inc.), a company he founded to help business owners and leaders create and achieve their vision. Bernhard has more than 25 years of experience working collaboratively with business partners in all phases of business management, restructuring and transformation, particularly in: strategic planning, marketing and sales, organizational design, engineering consulting, project management, coaching and facilitation.
Bernhard holds a BS in marine engineering from the US Merchant Marine Academy in NY. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a licensed business coach with Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA), and an Authorized Client Builder Sales Trainer.
He was Executive Director for Strategy and Business Development at Textron Inc., strategy leader at Coca-Cola in Germany, and management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Early in his career, he worked globally as a marine engineer.
Bernhard has also achieved the “Master Coach” designation from the PBCA in Sales, Coaching, Leadership, Marketing, Personal Effectiveness, and Exit Planning.
“I help my clients become more self-aware of why their issues continue to occur and why their prior efforts have not led to success. Through regular sessions, holding them accountable for their actions, they make gradual improvements and over time achieve the success they are looking for.” – Bernhard Heine
Certifications: Professional Business Master Coach, Legal Practice Coach, Extended DISC Trainer, Everything DiSC Trainer, Client Builder Sales Trainer, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Trainer.