“It is awesome to see the growth in confidence in our sales force after we got everyone crystal clear about our sales process,” says Todd Eber, president of W.A. Roosevelt Co., a wholesaler of electrical and plumbing products based in La Crosse, Wis. Eber is referring to a concept that is stressed in sales training based on the Action Selling ® system. In order for any sales methodology to work, or for any kind of sales training to produce significant and lasting performance improvements, your sales force must follow the right sales process. The right sales process is the sequence of activities that result in customer commitments that most frequently lead to a sale in your company’s situation. Your company’s best sales process is always a series of milestones. For every milestone you’ll have a Commitment Objective—a goal to gain a customer commitment that will move the sales process to the next milestone. Common milestones include things like “needs assessment meeting” and “meet with all relevant decision-makers.” Until you have identified the key milestones for your company, and made them clear to your sales force, you cannot possibly maximize your sales potential, no matter how much sales training you conduct. That’s because salespeople who don’t know which milestone they have reached with a customer don’t even know what “product” they should be selling on any given sales call.

What product are you selling?

W.A. Roosevelt’s sales force had to understand this concept in order to capitalize on the sales training they received: If the commitment they want from a customer in a given sales call is something like “agree to schedule a needs-assessment meeting,” then the product they are there to sell is not a line of electrical or plumbing supplies. It’s a needs-assessment meeting. All of their focus and all of their sales skills must be brought to bear on selling that meeting. That’s why it is so crucial to map out your company’s best process and to make sure that everyone understands and recognizes its milestones. As Eber knows, that understanding must not be taken for granted. “A few months after we started the Action Selling ® sales training program, we held a ‘strategic pause day’ for our sales organization,” Eber says. “During the meeting, we realized that not everyone was on the same page with regard to our newly defined sales process. About half of the team was misaligned.” In two hours, Eber says, “we eliminated the gray areas and got everyone on the same page. In the process, we completely redefined the ‘product’ we actually should be selling in any given sales call.” The results? “Like I said, awesome!” For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling ® at (800) 232-3485.