Most people could sell a house but what if you had to sell a house every single day? What if you had several sales people who each needed to sell a house every day?
So many businesses approach sales in an unstructured way. They may get away with it where its just the owner doing the selling, but as they take on sales people the lack of a sales process means that they are not delegating sales – they are abdicating it!
Having a structured sales process enables business owners to get more control over their cashflow and helps to ensure that the business makes the most of their opportunities. It also simplifies selling in that you are not reinventing the wheel with each opportunity.
At a very high level, a sales process might look something like this for anything other than simple sales:
Stage 1 – Generate interest (lead generation)
Stage 2 – Qualify interest
Stage 3 – Discover problem/needs
Stage 4 – Propose solution
Stage 5 – Negotiate sale
Stage 6 – Agree sale
The key thing with a sales process is that each opportunity should go through each stage until it is either withdrawn or won/lost.
When explaining the sales process I use the metaphor of the Sales Sausage Machine. You have a hopper at the top, a long cast-iron barrel, and a big handle on the side.
If you do not put any sausage meat in the hopper, it does not matter how many times you turn the handle, you will not get any sausages coming out the other end. No sausage meat = no sausages!
If you put sausage meat into the hopper but fail to turn the handle, the sausage meat is not going anywhere. No activity = no sausages!
If there is something wrong with the sausage making process you might get something but they may not be edible. Bad process = bad sausages!
If the sausage meat runs out and is not replenished you run out of sausages. Irregular sausage making = feast and famine!
Sales processes may sound complicated but it really does simplify sales!