You are an experienced sales manager. You know the market changes, you’ve got years of data on what to expect for different quarters, and you confidently coach your team along in the best practices for selling in your industry. Your team usually meets quota, but not always. Things could always be better. That’s the nature of sales, but you’re secure in the knowledge that you’re doing everything you can to help your sales team, and to close sales.
You’re missing something, though, whether you realize it or not.
Are you absolutely sure you know why your team may not always be meeting quota? There are plenty of reasons you could come up with—the buyer wasn’t ready, they lied about budget, marketing didn’t get you enough high quality leads. There are plenty of possible reasons for not closing more sales.
The less obvious one, and the most uncomfortable, is that your Buyers don’t trust you.
The reasons your buyers don’t trust you can vary, sometimes caused by things outside of your control. However, there are plenty that are within your control that you could be doing something about.
- You’re not really honest with Buyers. The top reason Buyers don’t trust you is you’re not being truly honest with them. Are you really helping them find the best solution for their problem, or are you only looking at how you can sell your product? This is a key difference that Buyers are acutely aware of. Be honest with your Buyer from the start, and focus on what they need, which may or may not be what you’re selling. Any decision is better than no decision at all, and when Sellers are honest with Buyers, they’ll get that decision one way or the other.
- Buyers don’t know what to expect. Your sellers are taught to simply try and get Buyers to make a decision, to try and coach them along towards buying from you, talking to the Buyer as early and as often as possible. The only thing the Buyer expects from your Sellers is a sales pitch. If instead you worked with your Buyers to create a Buying Plan, detailing the steps they could and should take towards purchase, the expectation changes. They go from lacking confidence in your Sellers (and dreading their phone calls) to expecting a call and having questions or updates for them. Imagine that, Buyers who look forward to the calls from your Sellers! It’s possible to build this type of a relationship with Buyers through the creation of a Buying Plan.
- You don’t consider the Buyer’s Journey along your sales process. Do you know what your Buyer’s experience is like as they go through your sales process? Is it pleasant for them, or is it a chore they feel they can’t avoid? Do you even know how your Buyers feel as they go through the process of buying from you? If you can’t answer any of those questions, there’s an excellent chance you’re missing something that could be helping you close more sales. Your salespeople may not be too concerned with the Buyer’s journey through your sales process, but your Buyers certainly care.
Maybe these things don’t seem like they apply to you or your sales team. Your team does well enough, and it’s just how sales is—inconsistent from time to time.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to be.
You can drastically improve the trust your Buyers have in your Sellers, increase your rate of closed sales, and start turning your sales process into something more predictable by implementing tenets of Lean Selling. Lean Selling focuses on what the Buyer finds valuable—and what Buyer wouldn’t enjoy a sales process that is centered on their needs and wants?
While Lean Selling does emphasize the Buyer’s perception of value, and creating that value for them, it also has serious benefits for your sales team. Buyers that are happy with the sales process are Buyers who refer business, and who become repeat customers themselves. There’s more to it than just the Buyer’s journey, of course, but as far as your Buyers are concerned, that’s the most important part. It’s the part that will help inspire and cultivate trust between them and the Sellers on your team.
Does your sales process inspire trust between your Buyer and Seller? Does it simultaneously allow you to improve upon it in a way that’ll predictably increase revenue for your company? If it doesn’t do much beyond providing a basic framework for how sales should (but usually doesn’t) proceed, it might be time to look into something better.
You can take the sales assessment to see if adding Lean Selling to your sales process would improve your bottom line. Or, learn more about the aspects of Lean Selling that you could use to improve your own sales process by signing up for the free 12-week Lean Learnings series in the form below.
You can also keep the Lean conversation going by joining the Lean Selling Group on LinkedIn.
About: Robert Pryor is a Lean Selling author and community builder as well as a CEO, speaker, and educator on cutting-edge sales processes. His new book is Lean Selling: How to Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want. Follow by joining the LinkedIn Group “Lean Selling” or on Twitter @LeanSelling.