In most ‘traditional’ sales strategies, the focus is usually on ‘getting a sale’.
However, this is far too simplistic… in today’s world of instant online reviews and the empowered customer, it’s downright dangerous. In fact there are five outcomes to a sales process, and they all need to be considered, trained and considered in order to get great long term sales results.
This is so much more than just ‘hitting target this week’!
Let’s look at each outcome in turn, from worst to best, and suggest a few strategies to make you more effective in each of them.
- ‘I’ll come back to you’: this is called a ‘no decision’: where the customer hasn’t made a decision, or has made one but hasn’t told you! The output of this is usually monumental time-wasting and unnecessary time, cost and aggro.
- The main reason for this outcome is: you haven’t done your job properly (the customer hasn’t trusted you enough to keep discussing with you until they were confident to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. OR they don’t trust you enough to tell you what they’re REALLY thinking.)
2. ‘Yes’ for the wrong reasons: this is where you get the sale, but for the ‘wrong’ reasons. ‘So what’s wrong with this? I’ve got the sale … happy days!’ you may ask. Well yes, that may be the case if you describe ‘happy days’ as:
- High levels of complaints and returns
- High levels of poor online reviews
- Business success dependent more and more on deals and ‘special offers’
3. ‘No’ for the wrong reasons: this is where you don’t get the sale, but you should have: you would have been the best supplier for the job, but you weren’t able to build enough rapport and get the customer to trust enough for them to understand the full nature of their need, the market, and how you could be the best long term solution for them.
4. ‘No’ for the right reasons: many sales managers would like to rip my tongue out for this, but a ‘no’ for the right reasons is a ‘good’ outcome.
- This is where you’ve built a great relationship with the customer, and have together agreed that, all things considered, your solution isn’t the best fit for the client, and you help them instead by pointing them in other directions.
- If you do your sales properly, although this customer won’t use you today, when and if their need changes, they’ll come back to you, they’ll recommend you, and they might well use your services anyway (fully aware that you’re not a 100% fit) because you’re so helpful and trustworthy … and, by the way, no matter what your marketing manager tells you, you can NEVER sell something to everyone … you’ll NEVER get 100% success rate: it’s blindingly obvious common sense, so stop worrying about it and instead just ENSURE all your ‘No’s are gained for the right reasons!
5. And of course, the ‘best’ outcome is always a ‘yes’ for the ‘right’ reasons: this is where you not only get the sale today, but you also get great levels of customer happiness, loyalty and reputation: a true win/win!
So, how do you ensure you get none of no’s 1,2 and 3, and all of 4 and 5?
There are 4 steps:
- Get your beliefs straight: if the above information makes you shout ‘halleluja’ then this isn’t a problem. If you’re worried about the above, then you’re going to struggle.
2. Put in ‘customer focused marketing (and sales) processes’, focused on delivering the 3 key customer needs at every step:
a) Uncompromising trust
b) Obsessive focus on making it as easy as possible for the customer to deal with you (whether they say ‘yes’ or ‘no’)
c) Continual attention, no matter what the outcome is:
i) (If you get the sale, it’s just the start … you then have to consistently blow their socks off)
ii) (If you don’t get the sale, it’s just the start of a relationship where you stay in touch PROPERLY: it’s taken long enough to find them, don’t just drop them)
3. Step by step sales system, proactively building trust and relationships and an up front contract to make a decision ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on agreed criteria and constant assurance that ‘It’s OK to say ‘no’’. Continually developed and improved using customer feedback.
4. Proactive professional (3rd party) feedback from all customers to help you continually improve and develop all the above points and reward behaviour consistent with these challenging beliefs and rules. This should be gathered from:
a) The ones who said ‘yes’
b) The ones who said ‘no’
c) The ones who said ‘not now’
And that is the 5 outcomes to a sales process.
For more information or to license or use our sales, experience, loyalty and reputation systems, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org