My mother was a worker on a manufacturing line back in the 70’s where she was tasked with insuring that the right parts were put together in the right order, and in the right time. And she learned that QUALITY MATTERED! Why did it matter? Because the further upstream the quality control was in place, made a massive difference downstream. The cost of bad quality early in the manufacturing process was exponential downstream.
As Sales Acceleration and the move to “Inside Sales” occurs (where Inside Sales Reps now outnumber Field Sales), there has never been a better time to apply these same principles in your Selling Engine.
How? It’s all about the Sales Rep Scorecard. Each part of a conversation has it’s own mini-Yield Curve.
Huh? The 5 “Parts” to the manufacturing line called a Sales Conversation:
Attention (< 5 seconds) – Did the Sales Rep effectively OPEN the conversation. Failure at this one stage is the single biggest problem with sales people these days. They aren’t used to talking to a prospect on the phone! So when they get someone live, they go “deer in headlights”. Train on this, it matters. If the yield in Step 1 is terrible, Steps 2 – 5 of the conversation don’t EVER HAPPEN!
Engagement (< 32 seconds) – You’ve earned your way past the opener. Now it’s your time to dance. Why should this person on the other side of the phone want to hear the next 30 – 60 seconds of what you have to say? Is your engagement compelling enough to earn the right to move ahead?
Consulting/Listening (< 90 seconds) – This is often best described as empathy. You’ve shared a slight bit about your company, how do you now shift the conversation to get the prospect to tell you more about THEM!
Motivate to Act (about 15 – 45 seconds) – After the prospect has shared information about their situation, what do you ask for? In order from top to bottom… A Meeting, A Referral, A Time to Follow-up, or Other Information about the account?
Qualification (about 30 – 60 seconds) – AFTER you’ve “sold the meeting” or otherwise, ask a few key qualifying questions. Do you mind if I ask you just a quick question? (Then ask 2-3 key questions so that you can determine if it even makes sense to take the next meeting)!
Can a Sales Call last too long? ANSWER: ABSOLUTELY. Especially a first call. To truly run an efficient manufacturing line, tightly defined processes must be in place or the “machine” runs sub-optimally.
As Sales Acceleration Technology becomes more prevalent, and sales conversations, emails, and the entire sales process can be captured (through technologies like ClearSlide, ConnectAndSell, and others), the ability to use ideas from TQM, and Six Sigma manufacturing will become more and more prevalent.
The first step? Can you answer the question, how does my sales team compare to other companies? What is the benchmark for Best In Class companies? For example, the average Conversation to Meeting Conversion is 4.86%, the Best In Class Companies see as high as 18%!