I read a thought-provoking blog post by Dan Waldschmidt today entitled The Lie of a “Better” Sales Process.
In it Dan argues that we spend far too much time looking for a shiny new way of selling that will improve our results – and far too little time getting better at using the perfectly adequate process we already have.
I'd agree with him up to a point.
If you've already got a decent sales process or methodology in place, then switching to a new one is going to have little impact on your success. Some methodologies are better suited for selling professional services than others (SPIN, Solution Selling and the ORDER process from Let's Get Real immediately spring to mind). But given a decent methodology, you're usually far better off getting better at using it than starting again from scratch.
However, there's an exception to this rule.
And it's one that, sadly, applies to many consultants, coaches, lawyers and other professionals.
If you don't use a methodology at all – then you need to find a decent one.
If you “just wing it”, you think you're a “natural salesperson” or you use what you've learned from your personal experience – the chances are your performance is way below what it could be.
Sales isn't just an art. It's been studied based on decades of experience and observation of thousands of sales meetings. And that includes large, complex professional services sales.
If you're using just your own experience or what you've learned from colleagues and you're up against a competitor using a process based on these decades of experience from thousands of people then you're going to be outgunned time and time again.
And before you invest in sales training focused on “tips and techniques” – make sure you have a solid process in place too. Otherwise most of what you learn will be pointless. Rather like trying to learn how to “fade” a golf ball when you haven't got your basic swing sorted.
How about you? Have you switched sales processes and had great success? Or has it just been a horrendous waste of time? Drop me a comment below, it would be great to share experiences.