One of my favourites….. Action Selling by Duane Sparks is a neat and logical system to follow to help you improve your sales conversions. Breaking the sales call process down into simple steps Sparks gives us a process to follow and when we refine the small stages of the big picture we have more chance to get the outcomes we are looking for. Broken into 9 “Acts” the book is an easy read and provides useful tools to remind us of each Act. The Acts in chronological order are…
- Commitment Objective
- Sell Your Self ( Peoples Needs)
- Ask the Best Questions
- Agree on The Need
- Sell The Company
- Sell The Product
- Ask fo the Commitment
- Confirm the Sale
- Replay the Call
Act 1 Set a Commitment Objective
What is it ? It is goal we set our selves to gain feedback from the customer in the form of a commitment which moves the sale process forward. This could be an appointment, an order, the name of the key decision maker… whatever it is that takes you to the next step.
Act 2 Leverage Your People Skills
Act 2 is about ‘Listening and Questioning…. effectively building a good relationship. Using open ended questions will help us sell ourselves as the first buying decision is do the like the Sales Person. We sell our selves using our people skills and people like people that are interested… Questioning and Listening are Key to Showing Interest. If it is a $50,000 dollar relationship we had better develop a $50,000 relationship
ACT 3 (A) Ask the Best Questions
Expand open-ended questions to obtain valuable info and fully understand your customers position. As a Coach I call this “playing dumb and digging deep” as sometimes the first answer isn’t the one that you need or are looking for… what is it that they really mean when they give their answers.
Good questions will also help you in understanding your position, for example with knowing where you stand with your competitors, or the time frame and how fast you should move in your sales process. Also who is making the decision, could change your objective commitment
ACT 3 (B) Advanced Questioning Skills
Customers can have a hidden agenda when they ask you a question , so it might be a good idea to question their question. Otherwise if you answer a question before you are sure why it is being asked, you run the risk of providing the wrong answer and losing the sale…eg.. “If we bought our supplies from you, how would they be delivered ?” could be answered with “Delivery is important so what would be your preferred method?”.
ACT 4 Agree on the Need
This is where you open the sale. The answers from ACT 3 will provide the needs that you will agree on in ACT4. If you have taken good notes from Act 3 you can use them to formulate the agreement on the need statement. You must uncover at least 2 needs the more needs the more success with the sale.
Then you need to assure yourself that the needs you uncover are the highest quality ? As I understand it, you are looking for something that will….
ACT 5 Sell The Company
Explain your companys position and where it is in the market place. Describe the uniqueness of your company and relate one of your success stories to the needs you have uncovered. Also explain how they will be better off from buying from your company.
ACT 6 Sell The Product
We do this by using TFBR. Tie-backs, Features, Benefits, Reactions. We are told to sell solutions and to sell value. The solution is provided by Tying Back the needs established in ACT 4 to the Features or results achieved by your product. The value is provided once the benefits of your product are explained. The solution and the value are cemented together when you ask the customer a reaction question which will remind the customer of his needs.
ACT 7(A) Ask for the Commitment
It’s a statistic, but “68% of sales people don’t gain a commitment” – Yes a lot of us don’t, because we have no commitment objective, we miss buying signals or we have no procedure.
ACT 7 (B) Handling Stalls and Objections
When we ask for a commitment we will either hear a positive response or negative response. A negative response is often one that is in the form of an objection or a stall. You have obviously not covered off something properly so need to go back to Act 3 and ask more questions following that thread all the way back through to this stage.
ACT 8 Confirm The Sale
Have you ever had a last minute order cancelled..this is buyers remorse where fear, uncertainty, or doubt sets in. Key thing is to assure the customer that their decision is a correct one and that you appreciate their business… and most importantly to schedule the next event. This will become the customers focus rather than the decision they have just made.
ACT 9 … Replay the Call
Always review the process you followed after the sales call and make notes on how you could improve next time.