How many human endeavors can you think of in which timing is critical? In the world of sports alone, examples are endless. Hitting a baseball. Completing a forward pass. A distance runner’s decision about when to launch the final kick. A jockey’s decision about when to make the big move.
Get the Sales Timing right, and you win. Get it wrong, and you lose.
A sale is no different. If you look at the Action Selling process in a certain light, you’ll see that the entire sales system is built upon the importance of Sales Timing. “Sell the salesperson before selling the product?” That’s about timing. “Help the customer make five key buying decisions in the proper, natural order?” That’s about timing. The Nine Acts, and our insistence that you follow them in the right sequence? Timing.
Every bit of the Action Selling process exists in order to lead you to the point where the sales timing will be exactly right for you to ask for a customer’s commitment. That’s why it is vital to trust the sales process—and to follow it, despite distractions.
Oh, yes, there are always distractions. A hundred things can come up during the course of a sale to lure you away from your sales plan. Customers often want to skip steps in the selling process, urging you to talk about price or product specifics before you are ready. Or they may give you “buying signals” that lead you to jump ahead and try to close the deal, only to find out that the customers weren’t really sold after all.
Timing becomes especially critical as you approach the finish line. For instance, Action Selling tells you that in Act 6, when you “sell the product,” you should employ at least three TFBRs (Tie-back, Feature, Benefit, Reaction). As one Action Selling professional recently learned (see below), a customer might very well prod you—perhaps with a false buying signal—to skip some steps and jump straight to the price.
That can be a mistake. And in this iffy economy, you can’t afford mistakes. Trust the process. Make a plan that follows the process. Then follow your plan. Your timing will remain impeccable.
Action Selling in Action
Ross Chandler faced a dilemma. An account representative for waste-management company Veolia Environmental Services of Milwaukee, Chandler had to decide which to follow: a customer’s urging or the Action Selling process. A major deal was at stake.
“It was a Friday afternoon,” Chandler says. “I was talking to executives of a large veal-producing company. I was selling a waste compactor that would give them significant cost savings over the long term. I had done all my research. In Action Selling terms, I was in Act 6, presenting my solution.”
“I was on my second TFBR, talking about efficient hauling and cleanliness, when the president of the company said, “Ross, it’s obvious you’ve done your homework. Let’s skip to the price.”
“I just wasn”t sure if that was a genuine buying signal and if I should skip a step in the Action Selling process. I chose to stick with the process. I did one more TFBR before I presented my price and asked for commitment (Act 7).
“The president and the chief financial officer sat there crunching numbers while I discussed details with the general manager and the plant manager. They were especially interested in that third TFBR—the one I had almost skipped.
“When I was done, the president exchanged nods with the CFO and said, ‘It looks good to us. What do you guys think?’
“I had a deal—and a huge win for Veolia. Action Selling truly has changed the way I manage the timing of my sales process.”
Do you have questions about Sales Timing and how to make the Action Selling process work for you? Contact Action us at (800) 232-3485.
ABOUT DUANE SPARKS
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).