When I talk or write about the Action Selling Sales Plan, I stress the fact that it is a full-fledged sales system, rather than just a collection of sales tips and tricks. It provides a structure and a step-by-step sales process that guides the salesperson through every milestone of a sales interaction, from initial contact to post-sale follow-up…
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His whole demeanor has changed. He talks about the various elements of our sales organization much more clearly and precisely. He seems able to visualize what has to happen and why—which of our needs are most pressing and where the greatest leverage can be found. Even his questions have become more penetrating. He’s no longer just thinking about how to boost our growth rate but about how we should track and measure the improvements we’re going to achieve. Not might achieve, mind you; the improvements we’re going to make.
I have consulted with hundreds of companies over the years, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the comment: “Our business is different.” I understand, and I agree. But I would take that difference down another notch or two. Every salesperson and every sales call is different; to treat them as the same is a huge mistake.
For Action Selling or any sales methodology to work, your sales force must follow the right Sales Process. The right sales process is the sequence of activities resulting in customer commitments that most frequently lead to a sale in your company’s situation…
What Top Performers Do That Others Don’t The principle mission of the professional salesperson is to gain commitment from customers. If you think about it, that’s the only real reason to employ a sales force at all. Yet to most salespeople, the skills most vital to gaining commitments consistently—and, therefore, to achieving record-breaking sales—appear to be secrets…
“I mean, why does Janice trust me? Because I earn her trust every time I call. Why does she tell me about her pressing needs? Because I ask her what they are. Why does she assume I genuinely want to help her address those needs? Because I do. It was Action Selling that taught me how to earn her trust, and how to ask the best questions to uncover needs, and how to show her that I’m there to help, not just to sell her something. You’re the guy who introduced the system to the company. You already know all this.”
They moved to a small conference table across the room from Harry’s desk. “I’ve been thinking about our conversation last week, and something puzzles me,” Mitch said. “The things you said about my call on Cheryl Gross made a lot of sense. But how were you able to diagnose the problems so quickly? I’ve been trying for two years to figure out what’s wrong, and no luck. When I described that sales call to you it was as if you had a checklist of mistakes in your head and you could just watch me make them, one after the other. It was weird that you could give me the kind of analysis you did so quickly. How did you do it?”
“That’s the heart of it,” Harry said amiably. “Oh, Action Selling taught me a few other things I didn’t know despite 20 years in the field. Like how to manage not just a sales call, but also the whole sales process. And how to match the selling process to the customer’s buying process. And how to really plan and orchestrate sales calls so customers see me as a consultant and business partner, instead of just a guy who pitches the same commodities they can buy from anybody else.
Action Selling’s emphasis on questioning skills is key. Great questions do a lot for a sale, but above all they build trust. No matter how good the pitch, a customer who has been pitched has no reason to trust a salesperson enough to keep on taking those steps. But a customer who has been expertly questioned—and listened to, and understood—has every reason to believe that the salesperson cares about him and his real needs. Of course a customer will walk hand in hand toward a solution with a partner who has earned his trust and obviously is dedicated to finding the best solution. I would. So would you.