Hope is Not a Strategy for Selling (& Neither is Luck)

Mar 17, 2020

What a great day! For this lad that hails from the Isle of Man (great, great grandparents on dad’s side) it sure is fun.

Until the millennium, St. Patrick’s Day was never a big deal in Ireland. The whole fuss surrounding today was invented by ex-patriots around the world looking for an excuse to celebrate their Irish roots, not that there is anything wrong with that! So, today, we’re all Irish. Even with this crazy virus . . . we’ll all have the luck of the Irish today.

Once we get through this (& we will), it’s business as usual.

As soon as that happens, it’s back to Salespeople hoping to close more sales. Hoping she calls back, Hoping he replies to the email. Hoping the competition quoted too high. Hoping the buyer sends the P.O.

Too much hope. Not enough luck.

If you’ve been in sales for at least a week you know that hope is not a strategy for selling. You don’t “hope” yourself into success. Sure, you may get lucky. You may have a deal fall in your lap. Try explaining that as your sales growth strategy to your VP of Sales. “So, what will happen is… we’ll just get lucky again. And then again. It’ll be great!”

Hope is no strategy & there is not enough luck in the world for anyone to hit their sales goals this year. So, let this be today’s attempt at suggesting you follow a system for selling – a process. Your production department has a process. Shipping has a process. Accounting has a process. HR has a process. So why not sales?

We love the Sales Coaches’ Corner selling process. It doesn’t matter what process you follow – as long as you commit to it, stick to it, trust it & never veer from it. Your sales process should become a discipline that eventually turns into “muscle memory” for you.

Here’s a process for you:

Step 1. Identify an opportunity

We don’t take this step lightly (it’s the hardest step). AKA: Prospecting. Stop prospecting & see how far you get this year. Or, just hope for your phone to ring.

Step 2. Qualify the Opportunity & Get to Reality Quickly

Remember, this does not mean “they buy what we sell, so they are qualified”. This means qualify them for the reasons they will buy from you.

  1. No PAIN = No Sale. You know what PAIN is – question is: Have you ever uncovered it while qualifying a prospect (or current customer)? Ask: The 9 Knock-Out Questions (hit me up for them).
  2. THE MONEY CONVERSATION. No Money = No Sale. Your products & services cost money. You know that a discussion ahead of time about how much it costs &/or their expectation of how much they will pay benefits you greatly. Then why do you often not bring it up, hope they don’t bring it up & hope they ignore the number on the bottom line & just buy from you? Ask: What kind of budget has been set aside for this? Or What are you planning on spending for this?
  3. THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS.  No understanding of the Decision Maker(s) = No Sale. You know there is always a certain person (or people) who make the decision to buy what you sell. Ask: When it comes to decisions like this, how does it work here, & who is involved? Or, hope she’s the right one…

Step 3. Manage Expectations

Selling is nothing more than understanding what happens next – throughout the entire selling process. Get comfortable being the “quarterback” & setting the expectations. This is where you take subtle control. Not over-the-top control – subtle. Nobody likes to be controlled (at least not the people you sell to).

Step 4. Present, Propose, Quote (or do whatever it is you do to show your solution)

This step is what most salespeople know & love (product knowledge, technical talk, features, benefits, etc.). It is almost ALWAYS done to soon – especially if you are not using a selling process. Good news is: You do get to present, propose & quote as long as you have set crystal clear expectations & the opportunity is qualified (for PAIN, Money & Decision) prospect. Not before.

It’s easy to hope. It’s fun to get lucky. It’s hard to follow a process. So, you pick. Is HOPE going to be your strategy this year? Feeling lucky, enough? Well, are ya?

 

Dave Tear