Selling is a transfer of confidence. When selling, you are attempting to give someone confidence that you have a better solution than their current situation provides. Of course, (unless you are the government) you can’t give away what you don’t have.
As a sales person, your confidence comes from 3 different areas:
- Having a better story to tell than your competition and your ability to tell that story.
- Belief that you will truly make a difference for that prospect when they become a client.
- A full pipeline.
A better story
This doesn’t mean that you have a better way to manipulate your audience, but it does mean having a better message to communicate. Put yourself in the prospects chair; is your message going to be something they haven’t heard before or is it the same old message simply repackaged? The best stories (sales processes) leave the prospect better educated and better positioned to make good decisions on behalf of his/her company.
Litmus test – Does a prospect receive enough value from going through your sales process that they would actually pay to do so? If not, your story is only marginally better, at best.
Making a difference
When you make promises to clients, do you know with absolute conviction that you have a team in place capable of meeting every expectation you have set during the sales process? Additionally, are you confident enough in the effectiveness of your solutions to know they will drive the results you have promised?
Litmus test – You are receiving more referrals and introductions from current clients and centers of influence than you can effectively handle.
There are 3 different pipelines to be maintained:
Suspects = Businesses you have identified as ones with whom you should be doing business, but with whom you have not had contact. For these, you need to devise a plan of engagement.
COIs (Centers of Influence) = Just like clients, you need to identify COIN suspects and have a plan of engagement. Once contacted, have a plan of how to make them into a productive relationship.
Prospects = A prospect is someone who knows you are working to make them a client and who is actively engaged in your sales process. Both parties should always know what the next step is and why it is important.
Full, active pipelines:
- Will keep you focused on sales activities and out of service issues
- Keep you from chasing accounts that aren’t a good fit
- Are your crystal ball into your future success
- Reduce a lost opportunity to a bad day rather than allowing it to be a bad month or quarter.
Litmus test - Is the average revenue per account in your pipeline equal in revenue to the average revenue of the top 20% of your current book of business?
When you are able to successfully pass each of these litmus tests, you will, and should, have enough confidence to go out there and blow through any sales goal you have set for yourself.