Should you focus on the “urgent”, or the “important” ?

Sales – It’s hard work making it look so easy

Having spent many years “observing” people at work, I am often struck by how individuals at the very top of their profession, seem to do two things exceedingly well:

• They exude “calmness”, and seem to have all the time in the world.
• They make it all look extremely simple, bordering on effortless.

Consider elite sportsmen and sportswomen at the peak of their powers, leading actors & actresses, top comedians, great singers, high profile politicians, Michelin Star chefs, not to mention top business men and women.

In the lottery of life, they all appear to have been handed a winning ticket. They are comfortable in their own skin, full of confidence, at the top of their game.

It seems as if they nonchalantly breeze through life, unencumbered by the anxieties and doubts that befall us mere mortals.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality, is that they all work extremely hard.

They have learned their craft, they have practiced it, refined it, and perfected it.

In the last 35 years, I have been privileged to have worked with some outstanding sales people, and some very high calibre Sales Director’s, and unsurprisingly, they share the same attributes.

Whilst everything they do looks easy, natural & effortless, the truth is that they are actually following a tried and tested structure.

Like a well-oiled machine, they have developed a “process” that works for them.

• They segment their territory.
• They develop their pipeline of opportunities.
• They qualify their opportunities, to avoid wasting time.
• They develop their core selling skills, and repeatedly practice them.
• They listen extremely well, and ask effective questions to create need.
• They continually look for “commitments” from their prospects.
• They create & monitor effective Account Plans and Deal Plans to maximise opportunity.
• They plan ahead, thinking about next year’s business as well as this year’s.
• They focus on what is important, not on what is urgent.
• They measure their progress through strong kpi’s, within a robust Sales Management Process.
• They deliver results – reliably, consistently, predictably.

You see, the truth is that Sales is not some mystical, magical, black art.

It’s actually really straightforward.

“Selling is not a problem, it’s a process. Only when it’s not a process, is it a problem”

At Advance, we have 100+ combined years of experience, working in two distinct areas.

• Mapping and stress testing an organisation’s Sales Management Processes, ensuring that they are measuring the “right” key performance indicators, so that results are delivered reliably, consistently and predictably. Week in, week out, month in, month out, year in, year out.
• Up-skilling sales people, to ensure that they have the necessary Planning skills, Verbal skills, Problem Solving skills and Political skills, to compete effectively in the 21st century. Enabling them to win more often that they lose.

By focussing in these two areas, we are able to help sales organisations significantly improve both their efficiency and their effectiveness.

However, whilst our experience tells us that many Sales Directors secretly know that their Sales Management Process could be a lot more robust, and that many of their sales people lack the depth of skills required to compete effectively, they are often so busy chasing this month’s revenue target, that they never take a step back, and assess their capability.

For these Sales Directors, sales in NOT a process, and often it IS a problem.

If you would like to understand how Advance has helped organisations regain control of their Sales Management Process, and equip their sales people to compete effectively, you could do a lot worse than invest 30 minutes of your time on an exploratory telephone conversation.

After all, what do you have to lose ?

If you would like me to contact you, please e-mail [email protected], or call me on 07816 874590.

Mike Wilkinson
Managing Director
Advance Selling Skills Academy

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson
Managing Director Advance - Creators of SCOTSMAN®