By Marty D. Blake, Chief Operating Officer, Optimé International Inc. & Todd Sinclair, Senior Consultant, Optimé International Inc.
WHO CAN I BLAME?
Immediately following a multi-day sales training session with a client of ours, one of our facilitators was approached by a participant and given a stark assessment of the time she had just spent learning. “What’s the point?” she asked, “Nobody is going to do this after you leave.” These were not reassuring words to our facilitator, or her manager either, for that matter.
As busy humans, we often look for the short cut. We shift and wing it. We think “I’m special and don’t need this.” We want to take the path of least resistance. When a sales deal is lost, there is much blame to go around. Blame the customer, lack of internal support, pricing or any of the other myriad of possibilities. In most cases however, none of these factors were solely responsible for the lost business. Instead, the lack of success is often due to a missed critical step in the sales process. To determine where that breakdown took place, successful sales people will go through a process of self-reflection instead of trying to assign blame. This act of self-reflection, through an After Action Review (AAR), will help gain insight into both how they lost and just as important, how they won.
FACING THE P-WORD
To do this well and consistently, you need to have an established sales PROCESS. Yes, the dreaded “P-word.” If you don’t follow a process you will most likely skip the AAR. If you do conduct an AAR and don’t have a sales process, then it will be more difficult to figure out either what went wrong or what went right. This makes it virtually impossible to identify how to continually improve.
ASK YOURSELF THIS
Key questions to ask: • Do we have a sales process? • Do we use the sales process? Consistently? • Do we understand the power of each step within our sales process? • Do we support the development of the selling skills and behaviors needed to be successful? How? • Are all sales manager and leaders living and breathing our sales process? Why?
Answering these questions is a starting point to ensuring that participants in your sales training efforts are not as jaded about the potential for impact as the one we recently ran into. Taking the next step to drive a culture that values accountability from your team members to assess their results, whether they were successful or not, will help to guarantee a more productive path going forward.
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