I have already addressed the importance of completing the various simple steps in the sales cycle (see Be Brilliant at Basics). However, I haven’t yet covered one other vitally important element of the sales cycle… the importance of getting the steps in the right order.
Consider the different experiences one might have in a clothes shop. You go to two separate shops. In the first one the sales attendant is friendly, enthusiastic and keen to help. He even asks “Can I help?” You tell him you are considering buying a suit. He immediately he whooshes you over to see the shops latest collection of Italian suits and announces with eagerness and confidence that “The Armani double-breasted in grey would look great on you”. A great salesman. But he doesn’t get the sale.
In the second shop the sales attendant is friendly, enthusiastic and keen to help. He too asks “Can I help you?” You tell him you are considering buying a suit. He then asks enquiringly whether you want a casual or business suit; which colour and style you are considering; double or single-breasted; long or short jacket; and so on. Taking all your answers on board he brings you across to the rail which has your size and style. He gets the sale. Why?
The second salesman understands that before you make a recommendation you must first undertake a fact-find, analyse the information gathered from that fact-find, and then recommend a solution. The first salesman went straight from the introduction to the presentation and close. He might have asked questions later when he realised that his ‘solution’ wasn’t in line with your requirements, but it would have been too late. He got the sequence wrong.
You cannot ever break the sequence of the sales cycle. In this example, skipping the fact-find turned the first salesman into a product flogger. He’ll make sales because he makes the effort. But he will not make as many sales as the second salesman who will also have happier customers who will refer their friends and who return to buy again.
So, successful selling is about being ‘Brilliant at Basics’. Great salespeople know how to complete the series of simple steps, in the correct sequence, consistently well.
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