Don't take ten years to learn how to get your sales process right.
It starts that first moment when someone approaches you. They randomly crossed your path, read or saw something about you, or were referred to you by an acquaintance. Either way, you go through the introductions, find commonalities, and do the assessment dance.
If everything goes smoothly, a date is set for a future meeting. There may be a reminder email, phone call, or a text to confirm the details: the who, what, when, and where. And if your life is like mine, you begin looking at your schedule, see things are piling up, more demanding issues are in need of your attention, and the unexpected happens, causing the date to be pushed back.
What Prospects Want
I work in and around the sales profession. I hate hearing the phrase, “I hate sales people,” yet I hear it coming out of my own mouth. Why? Too often I receive calls and unsolicited emails from well-meaning sales representatives trying to sell me a solution to a problem I don’t have.
They never ask about me what my interests are. It’s like a really bad first date with someone who only talks about themselves and every past relationship that has nothing to do with me today. They may be perfectly nice people, but they have no clue who I am, what my interests are, where I want to go in life, or why.
After an hour, you find yourself walking away wondering why you just spent a couple hours with someone, though well meaning, that just wasted your time. At this point, you have a couple choices when they give you a follow up call: You can try meeting with them again hoping for improvement, or you can simply say, “No, I’ve decided to go another direction at this time.”
Learning the Sales Dance
Personally, I always feel bad for the sales person. I realize they are trying to do their job the best way they know how, but their execution is reminiscent of an awkward young adolescent male trying so hard to get the attention of the girl next door. You know the one I’m talking about.
It takes years of practice to learn the dance, and the same is true for sales. Until the sales profession fully makes the shift from being forced into self oriented goals, they will never be able to fully serve their customers best interests. Sales will continue to be a hated, disrespected, and maligned job, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you ever saw the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, you are familiar with Phil’s story. He is sent to Punxsutawney, PA to cover the Groundhog Day festivities. His personal goal is to get in, get out, and move on. He has no interest in the people around him. He has a goal and nothing more.
However, he gets stuck and finds he is repeating the day over and over and over. He begins testing his limits; some end successfully, and many more do not. He begins to learn there is something he wants more than his own personal goals.
After reliving the same negative experiences repeatedly, he finally realizes he needs to make a change. He begins to make an effort to get to know those around him. He begins to positively influence peoples’ lives.
According to Director Harold Ramis, Bill Murray spent ten years trapped repeating Groundhog Day. Ten years making the same mistakes and learning new skills. Ten years to reach a goal.
An App that Can Make Life Easier
What if he had an app that could speed that process up? What if he had an app that warned him he was about to get slapped or some other unexpected event? What if there was an app that could speed up your sales learning and practice curve? What if there was an app that alerted you to danger zones that would keep you from reaching your goal? What if there was an app that integrated into your daily activities you’re already doing, provided on-demand learning anywhere you needed it 24/7/365? What if this app could positively change your selling behavior and ultimately your sales results?
There's an app for that. AXIOM isn’t likely going to be teaching you ice sculpture, nor are we going to be teaching you French, or piano (unless Bob Sanders has extension plans I am currently unaware of). Don’t be Bill Murray. Don’t put yourself or others through bad dates.
Spend ten years learning what counts so you can avoid having bad sales days and instead make a difference. Spend ten years of learning retention, reinforcement, continually and incrementally improving, and developing your best selling self. And for the love of sales, never go on a bad first date again!
Ed McAdoo is a Guest Author for AXIOM. He is a 20 year veteran of the CRM and Sales Enablement industry with experience in a variety of highly successful private and public companies. Ed has worked with CRM systems from Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Salesforce.com.