February 2019 – Issue 177
A WORD FROM DUANE SPARKS
Dear Sales Executive:
Are we making sales too complicated?
Is it possible, in an effort to follow a specific sales cycle process, we are actually slowing things down? I sure hope not.
During Act 1 of Action Selling, we Set a Commitment Objective. This is a goal we set to gain a commitment from the customer that moves the sales process forward to the next Milestone in the sales process. When Action Selling Certified salespeople consistently set a Commitment Objective, sales cycle time drops like a rock. How can we improve upon that?
Perhaps a better question is: Since there are some situations where several commitments can be gained during the same sales call, do salespeople take their formalized sales cycle process too literally and miss opportunities to consummate deals on the spot? In this eCoach, we’ll learn about an Action Selling client who doesn’t seem to miss a beat when it comes to moving deals to completion. You’ll want to know their secret.
If you have a question about how to move sales forward at a faster clip, click on “Ask The eCoach“.
We are committed to your professional success.
Author of Action Selling
“One Call” Close Not Dead Yet?
If you’re an Action Selling Certified salesperson, you’ve already stepped on the accelerator to move deals forward faster. If you’re average, you’ve seen a 25% reduction in sales cycle time once Action Selling has been implemented into your sales cycle process. But what if there was another gear to shift into? In this addition of eCoach, we’ll learn about a remarkable company and sales team who seems to have turbo-powered their sales process to unbelievable results.
Of course, we’re talking about an exceptional implementation of Action Selling. This is one where top management has embraced the process and Action Selling that has become the sales culture of the company. If this doesn’t describe your company, you might be leaving chips on the table. Perhaps it’s time to pile those chips onto your stack.
How rigid should your sales cycle process be?
Action Selling requires you to document your “typical” sales cycle process. We do this far better than any other sales training program. One of the biggest differences is the trigger for moving the sales process forward to the next Milestone is an act of the customer…they agree to our Commitment Objective.
With other, less effective sales training programs, the trigger is an act of the salesperson. With Action Selling it’s an act of the customer that pushes the sales cycle process forward. Here’s why this is so important:
- When sales organizations merely use the stage or milestone of the sales cycle process as the cause to move deals to the next stage, the salesperson may be moving forward…But the customer may not.
- With Action Selling, Commitment Objective is the impetus for moving deals to the next Milestone. The customer moves the deal forward by committing to your Commitment Objective. The customer takes action.
- When customers commit to moving the sales cycle process forward, everyone knows exactly what the next step is. The customer is looking forward to it. And, most importantly, they see the salesperson in a positive light. “This salesperson gets things done.”
Action Selling salespeople always set a Commitment Objective for every sales conversation. Enlightened Action Selling salespeople are flexible enough to understand that, given the right circumstances, it may be possible to set and accomplish the next Commitment Objective on the same sales call.
When can you accelerate your Sales Cycle Process?
Let’s take a look at an example. If your sales cycle looked like the one below, where could potential accelerators be found?
There are several situations where we could eliminate or combine one or more of these Milestones:
- Occasionally, we are able to do a Needs Assessment (M 2) on the first contact.
- Sometimes we get lucky (or smart, depending on how you look at it) and get to the decision-maker right away. This could eliminate M 4.
- If a formal proposal document isn’t needed, or you can present your solution on the spot and gain agreement, you could accomplish M 5 during M 3 or M 4.
- When new, encouraging information is uncovered, changing your Commitment Objective to move forward faster has always been part of Action Selling. Flexible reps do this when the situation allows for it.
Does your Sales Cycle Process provide reps with flex?
Perhaps there is a fine line between adhering to a sales cycle process and making exceptions when it’s warranted. On one hand, we want our reps to be completely focused on accomplishing their Commitment Objective and moving to the next Milestone. But, on the other hand, we don’t want them to be blind to opportunities where they could move things forward faster.
Hopefully, you have a sales culture where both focus and flexibility can exist. Here’s an example of a thriving sales culture: Want a Great Sales Culture? Fill This Gap.
Action Selling in Action
One wouldn’t normally think of a CPA firm as remarkable example of a thriving sales culture. But “remarkable” is exactly how I’d describe BerganKDV. We’ve worked with BerganKDV over the past 10 years to help them grow to a top 100 accounting firm in the nation. And, they’re not stopping there.
Lee Roberts is Director of Sales and responsible for guiding the firm’s sales leaders in each of the major markets they serve. The firm has experienced enormous success and shows no signs of slowing down.
“We added $6.45 million in new business during the first 6 months of our current fiscal year,” says Roberts. This is a 25% growth pace. How does a CPA firm grow like that?
“Having the common framework (across our entire team) of Action Selling, allows us to have more sales interactions with more prospects than we have ever been able to in the past. Because every member of our team understands Commitment Objective, we set up more Discovery Meetings and move the sales process forward faster than ever before.”
As Roberts puts it, “Think the one-call close is dead? Think again. Shadow our team…they do this every week. And, our sales cycle has shrunk by over 65%.”
Get our free White Paper that can help you improve the culture of your sales force. Want a Great Sales Culture? Fill This Gap.