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 timing right, and you win. Get it wrong, and you lose.
A sale is no different. The higher the stakes in a selling situation, the more important it is that you follow a dependable sales process that will keep your timing in sync with the customer all the way to a final commitment. All sales training programs and sales coaching initiatives should also follow such a process. This is one reason why I stress the value of sales training courses and sales coaching efforts that are grounded in a coherent sales system—a process for selling.
Here’s the hitch: A sales process can’t help your timing unless you actually follow it
It’s all in the timing
The process taught in sales training programs based on the Action Selling system, for instance, is built entirely upon the importance of 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 timing will be exactly right for you to ask for a customer’s commitment. That’s why it is vital to trust the process—and to develop sales skills that let you follow the process, 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 the plan thatsales training and sales coaching taught you to create. Customers often want to skip steps in the 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 we stress in sales coaching, you need to stick to that plan even if a customer prods you—perhaps with a false buying signal—to skip some steps and jump straight to the price.
That can be a costly mistake. Trust the process you learned in your sales training courses. Make a plan that follows the process. Then use your new sales skills to follow your plan. Your timing will remain impeccable.
For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling 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).