I meet with sales people all the time and the one thing that is consistent is the lack of systems used to succeed. It’s really a shame because systems are critical to sales success. There’s an interesting pattern that happens to sales people and it goes like this: they start prospecting, meeting with potential clients, creating proposals and building relationships. So they stop prospecting. It’s as if they are so busy with sales appointments that they don’t think they have time for prospecting. They get stuck in a mindset that tells them they have a lot that’s about to pop.
Sound familiar? Of course it does! You’ve probably been there. There are two problems with this. The first is that until you have the business, you don’t have it. We always feel like we had a great sales meeting and that the business is inevitable. And then weeks and months go by without a decision from the prospect. The other problem is that you’ve stopped prospecting so you have no other possibilities in the wings. You’re dry as the desert.
There are a myriad of reasons why a prospect doesn’t make the commitment. So, you can’t bank on them. Building structure around how you deal with them and try to get them to make a decision is one part of the sales system. The other part is making sure you have a continuous prospecting system that you are always initiating. Take a look at diagram 1 for an example of a prospecting system. It’s like a flowchart. It’s structured and easy to follow. Moreover, it’s easy to keep it rolling because you don’t have to think about it.
See, that is the true value of systems. You create them so the tasks are automatic. This allows you to be really present and aware when you are interacting with prospects, clients, and referral partners. You won’t be trying to juggle activities and thinking about next steps. When we don’t have a system we are basically recreating the sales strategy over and over again. Stop! Create a process once that works and makes sense to you. Then use it as a template you can implement in a cycle.
The other great thing about having a sales system is that it makes it easier to track what is working and what isn’t. There has to be a goal attached to the system with a target date. Then as you are navigating your system you are always cognizant of your progress. If something isn’t working well you’ll find out right away. The alternative is getting to the target date and discovering you didn’t hit your goal. At that point you have to retrace your steps to try to figure out where you went wrong. Using a system will help you maneuver more easily; you’ll be able to adjust and amend in the moment.
Try it out and see how a sales system works for you. It may sound simple but it can simply have a dramatic impact on your results.