- Commit to process improvement. Retain, refine, and repeat the practices that work and work well consistently. Outlaw the ineffective ones and restrict to special occasions the outrageous methods that luckily worked one time on only one prospect.
- Focus on your best efforts. Identify your success stories and the core competencies within your organizations. Have each of your sales professionals select two or three actual scenarios that resulted in profitable business. When each sales rep conveys the details of each effort—how the lead was uncovered, how the most important customer need was determined, and so on—you will see a recurring pattern develop.
- Writing the cookbook. When you are consolidating the steps of your people’s sales process, don’t insist on being too precise on the amount of each “ingredient.” However, you should insist on reaching a consensus on the sequence for each activity. Seek agreement along common mileposts or checkpoints along the way of the successful sale. Without a common selling language and approach, you may find you are trying to lead a band of selling nomads—salespeople that complicate, rather than simplify, your clients’ lives and take an inordinate amount of time in doing so.
- Holding the gains. Ask each contributor to answer these three questions for each step.
- On a scale of zero to 100, what percent of the time do you complete the step as opposed to appropriately skipping it because it doesn’t fit the situation?
- On a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (tough), how difficult is it to perform each step?
- On a scale of 1 (not important) to 10 (critical), how important or valuable is each step in achieving a high close ratio?
If you’ve done a good job of mapping the sales process, not one single selling activity will score below 75 percent in frequency of use.