Read Part 1 of Sales Process vs. Sales Skill here.
I think of a sales process as a predetermined set of actions that follows a timeline to lead to a desired outcome. You can have a process to get appointments for example (what I just got done building). You can have a process to follow up with proposals to get a yes or no. You can have a process to pack up your car in the morning so you have the materials you need.
Shower-time is always the same
For me, shower-time is always the same. I relax, get clean, think on things that interest me, dry off, and get myself presentable for the day. Why is it always the same? I have a process.
I have automated the soaping up and rinsing off, as well as the steps I need to take to make myself presentable. I use this example because I believe most people have a shower-time process. I get wet, shampoo my hair, get my scrub bud lathered up (do you think me less a man now?), wash my body starting with my torso and ending with my feet and face, and then rinse off the shampoo and soap. I turn off the water, dry my face, then my left arm, right arm, my torso and back, my left leg, then my right leg.
Funny when you think about it. I do that stuff the exact same way every time. Oddly enough, I get the exact same result every time, as well: clean, relaxed, brimming with ideas.
What would happen if you had a sales process that you could work the same way every time which led to a forecastable desired result? You can. You probably have some and don't even know it. I just read an e-book from Anthony Iannarino (follow on twitter here) that says even if you don't think you have a script you use to leave voicemails, you do. If that's the case, your "script" stinks.
Great point. I'd gamble that Anthony would say even if you don't think you have a sales process, you probably do. And because you don't know enough to know that you have one, the one you are using probably stinks. You are winging it. You aren't deciding on best practices and making sure they are done.
To put it in terms we know, Process is in the Effort portion of the Kick Ass Sales Philosophy: Effort + Curiosity + Ability to Make Connections = Kick Ass Sales.
Process takes your Effort and exponentializes it (awesome word!). Process allows you to automate the boring stuff (making calls, leaving messages, writing emails, following up proposals, etc.). Once you automate something, you eliminate variables. With limited variables, it is easy to see the effect tweaking individual tools and actions within your process has on the desired results your process outputs. With better tools and actions, your Efforts are exponentialized (got to use it again!).
To change your sales career right now, do this:
- Get a blank piece of paper.
- Write down the actions you do in your job over and over again.
- Group those actions into processes (if they have a common goal, they go in the same process). Some actions may go into multiple processes, e.g. phone calls go into Appointment Setting Process, Proposal Follow Up Process, Thank You for Your Order Process, etc.
- Fill in the remaining actions needed to create a thorough and complete Sales Process.
- Determine what "tools" you need to build for each action in each process.
- Start sending sales opportunities through your process.