There are many theories about the sales activity. One of them says that someone only becomes a salesperson due to lack of options. What many don’t realize is that thousands of people make fortunes selling and knew exactly what they wanted to do when they started in their career.
And there’s not much mystery for this success! As in every career, one must study hard and always be updated. Even if you believe very much in yourself, your skills and your intuition, managing and winning sales opportunities is also related to the constant use of methods and techniques. Don’t underestimate them. Use them as a strong ally to win sales.
Well constructed sales methods are based on successful sales experience. A sales method does not replace experience; instead, it helps the sales professional to use it at the right time. Only then will the use of selling skills will be effective and the time well spent. A good salesperson has experience. A great salesperson combines experience with technique. And that what sets it apart from competition.
Nevertheless, one must be aware of the profession pitfalls. Salespeople are self-confident and optimistic. Always. These are important and necessary characteristics for these professionals. It is imperative, however, that this impulse is dosed to avoid a common mistake among salespeople: overestimating the opportunity positioning. That is, many salespeople believe they are in a better position than they actually are. The consequences are not consistent sales forecasts.
It gets worse when the amount of the expected revenue increases. Salespeople invest in opportunities with low winning perspectives because of the value of the deal if it were closed. The winning odds do not increase because of the opportunity value. It should be noted that an opportunity of great value with low winning chances isn’t worth much.
We can work with at least two suggestions to improve this scenario: the first is to use sales methods that allow salespeople to see such situations clearly. It is the nature of the sales job to manage the risk of losing business. With effective methods, these risks are being adequately sized and salespeople have more tools to evaluate whether or not it is worthwhile to take them.
The other suggestion lies in the behavior of the leadership or sales management. It’s time to consider replacing the pressure by coaching. It is up to the leaders, more than any other professional of the team, to understand and work on the risks. Of course, for this to happen, it is essential to have a selling method in which we fully trust.
The best advice I’ve ever received throughout my career wasn’t exactly a suggestion for an action, but for an attitude. In one company I’ve worked for, during sales forecast meetings, the VP of sales analyzed every opportunity with a sequence of questions with a certain logic that allowed him to validate or not my assumptions and my intuition. This practice, which initially annoyed me a lot, became over time part of my own analysis process, in a way that I validated my criteria even before the meetings and it has greatly improved my assertiveness.
I have no doubt that the most frequent advice I received and saw was that the customer purchases are due to the intensity of one’s presence and insistence. “Stay in the client’s room until he signs the purchase order”. “You have to convince him to close the deal”. It is not a matter of insistence, but of identifying the needs and showing your customer that your solution is the one that best suits him. Successful sales are not limited to negotiation and persuasion. Not in complex sales processes.
Actions need to be taken with skills related to the moment in the sales cycle, in an appropriate manner. When they are not, the customer walks away. Therefore, I do not believe that, in general, we get business this way. On the opposite. As long as doubts and misgivings persist in the client´s mind, the deal will not close at all. It is up to the salesperson, with wisdom and technique, to bring down every obstacle, until there are no more left. This is how the closing process works.