Sales Develop Daily, Not in a Day
"If you quit on the process, you are quitting on the result."
What do you remember most about dial-up internet? Today dial-up internet is remembered as time- consuming and very slow. We live in a fast-pace world of immediate connections... a world where your email program can tell you if the person being messaged is on their computer or not. As a result of our fast-paced world, we are impatient with anything that takes time and we expect immediate results.
Many people treat sales like an immediate event.
Several years ago, I offered a free call to improve sales for speakers who wanted to learn how to market themselves. I was inundated with requests from the US, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Germany and Australia to set up a time for a fast-paced 30-minute call to teach them how to sell. When they called, I said that if they did what I told them to do for 90 days they could call me back, and I would answer any question they wanted for free. Can you guess how many called me back to tell me the results or ask questions?
Oh, I received rave reviews from them on social media. They praised my methods, friendliness and willingness to help other people. They thought the ideas and process I described was the best they had ever heard. However, I never heard from any of them again because they wouldn't do what I instructed them to do.
Event vs. Process
They thought sales was an "event" that would be over in a phone call or two. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They discovered to their disappointment that selling is a "process." And they gave up. To my knowledge, no one tried the process more than one or two weeks. They thought selling was like buying at a fast food restaurant... "Give me a hamburger, fries and a coke." Fast, easy and done. That's not a process; it's an event.
We overestimate the event and we underestimate the process.
Selling is a process, not an event. I have found this to be very common in teaching sales. Many people come to a sales training event, get excited and then when they try something they heard, fail the first time. One and done!
Here's what I know about the differences between Events and Processes.
- Events encourage Decisions. A process encourages Development. Successful salesdevelop both the seller and the buyer.
- The event Motivates people, but the process Matures people. Maturity makes sales,motivation is just a result from an event.
- The event is a Calendar issue. The process is a Culture issue. Your sales culture is a non-calendar issue.
- The event Challenges people, but the process Changes people. You can make a suddendecision, but you can't make a sudden change... that's a process.
- Finally, I think the event is Easy, but the process is Difficult. If it were easy, everyonewould be doing it. Only those willing to do the difficult succeed greatly.
The reason selling is a process is because it is multi-faceted. I have composed a list to be published later called, "The 15 Unequivocal Laws of Sales." The process is just one of those laws - it takes time to absorb them all and change your selling culture. That is precisely why the speakers I mentored failed. They didn't follow the process all the way through.Life stretches to expand according to your willingness to get up and try again.Failure is two things: it is Inevitable, and it is a Learning Tool.
We are all going to fail. I have had many failures, but I didn't allow it to label me as a "Failure." You are going to fail... in fact you are probably going to fail at something today. It happens to us all the time. We can either avoid it by doing nothing or we can learn from what we did wrong and make the adjustments to do it better next time. I will get back up, continue to make the best effort I can and try again.
Successful selling is a process. I have very rarely sold to a client on the first or second contact. We just witnessed the most viewed NFL draft in history due to the COVID-19 crisis. There was excitement as Trevor Lawrence was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The expectations were high at the start of the season. He hasn't turned the franchise around much to the expectations of Jaguar fans. They don't understand the process.
Are you aware that a rookie quarterback rarely has a successful first season? The greatest quarterbacks of all time had to adapt and make the necessary adjustments to professional ball, different conditions and more pressure than in their college playing days. It takes a process of development to mold him into a top player... if he understands and follows that process.
Successful salespeople have to accept the process. The average number of contacts required to make a sale is 23... 23 contacts!!! That is a lot of calls, visits, emails, texts and information being traded. I've had people call me, ask the fee and availability, agree they think I am the best for them... and it still took many more calls to close the sale.
The process cannot be ignored. You can't just use one skill and overlook everything else. You have to have patience (a skill in itself) and understand timing to be successful.
- It's not attitude, although I've never met a successful salesperson with a bad attitude.
- It's not just momentum in the moment; it's a process. It is far more than the moment.
- It's not knowledge. I've met people who are very knowledgeable about their products, theirclients, their skills and abilities, but that alone didn't make them successful.
- It's not adaptability alone. Sure, you can't sell very well without studying your client, their needs and their circumstances, but that alone won't work without understanding theprocess.
- It's not "introvert vs. extrovert." I've met successful salespeople who are outgoing andsome who aren't but are consistent in their diligence to work the process.
In fact, I believe your consistency is the best gift you have in selling successfully.Make the process work for you, rather than allow it to be your master.Making the process work for you will benefit in the long run... and it will be long! Continually keep getting prospects... Will they all buy from you? No, but the odds of a buyer increase with more prospects. Expand you file system constantly.Persistence, Consistency and DisciplineIn a roundabout way I am advocating persistence, but I call it "diligence." Persistence sounds too much like pestering.
I like diligence because it sounds professional and trustworthy. Attorneys are diligent. Hard workers are diligent. People others trust are diligent.I believe in Consistency and Discipline You need to have a system that works for you... not one that is sold in a nationwide package that doesn't use your skills to your advantage.
The process requires consistency. You have to keep at it, even though you get knocked down and lose a sale. You have to follow up when the prospect hasn't responded in the proper amount of time. Remember, they are your number one priority. You may be Number 21 on theirs today."I may be turned down, but I won't be ignored."I also believe if you can't discipline yourself, you will never be successful. Ruthlessly eliminate every distraction that keeps you from diligently reaching out to people, and your fear of rejection.
John Maxwell says, "Motivation starts you going; discipline keeps you growing." You will never grow your sales if you aren't disciplined in your process.Your "Huckleberry"Am I preaching to the choir or speaking to your fears? I meet sales managers frequently who are frustrated with salespeople who won't follow up, won't make legitimate contacts, won't be
diligent, etc. You have my permission to reprint and distribute this to your team. Maybe they need to hear from someone else that they are not doing what they need to be doing in the first place. As Doc Holliday said in the movie, Tombstone, "I'm your huckleberry. And that's just my game!"
Embrace the process, work it and be patient with it. Nobody ever succeeded in sales by making it an event. The successful ones know and work the process. Now, go sell!