Friday, January 20, 2012

Sale vs. Process.....What's More Important?

I had to bring this to my readers’ attention this week. As a seasoned sales professional, I witnessed a disturbing scene this past week.

I was having my car serviced at the dealer and I was walking around on the sales floor looking at the 2012 models when I saw a gentleman walk in to the dealership, immediately go to a car and open the door. Sensing a potential customer, the salesman approached the prospective buyer. The man looking at the car immediately informed the salesman he had decided to purchase the particular vehicle he was sitting in.

Sounds like an easy sale, right? Take the order and move on to the next one. Not in this case. Here’s how it played out…….

The salesman congratulated the customer on his decision and immediately began to discuss features, colors, warranties, financing, test drives, and trade ins, among other things. I was speechless! This sales person just made the most fatal mistake in sales: Talking himself out of a sale. One of the first lessons you need to master to be successful in sales is don’t talk after gaining acceptance on the sale. I’m sure the salesman’s intentions were honorable and he was trying to help, but the customer told him he wanted THAT car! Please just take the order, and send the customer in to the finance manager. This deal is done.

In this case, the buyer explained to the salesman he had done his research through Consumer Reports and other internet sources and this was the car he wanted. He was convinced the price on the floor model was the best in the area and he was sold.

The problem that was illustrated here is that there is so much emphasis put into training employees to “follow the company line” that basic common sense sometimes falls to the curb. There are many times when using the old “Assumptive Close” technique is the perfect solution. Managers and trainers need to be prudent when training new hires in their process so that they don’t brainwasher a sales professional to the point where they either aren’t able to or are afraid of the repercussions of going outside the proverbial “Box” and simply doing what they are there for….Selling the deal!

So next time you’re sitting through (or maybe you are the one giving the training) sales training, try and remember that what you are hearing should only be a guideline on the sales process. Sales is a skill not everyone has, and sometimes it's difficult for those who aren't in sales roles to understand it isn’t always necessary to follow a rigid checklist of steps in the process to succeed. Many times it’s best to trust your instincts and proceed along the process you think will give you the best chance of securing the order.

If you follow this simple advice, at the end of the day, everyone will be happy…..the Customer will be happy with their decision, your company will have a new order, and you’ll have your commissions.

what do you think of the "Sale" vs. The "Process"?  Which one takes precedent?