Do you need a sales process?
I started my business in 2007. I had these visions of starting the perfect company and, because I was really good at what I did, I thought I was pretty much guaranteed to succeed.
And I certainly kept the company going for years. Which is a big victory, given most companies go bust in the first two. And I stayed good at what I was doing. I’m still amazing at it. But it wasn’t the perfect the company. Far far from it.
Because I thought that being good was enough.
I didn’t think about sales.
Sales was this thing that the slimy guys in shiny suits did. Badgering you and hustling you until you sign the contract, just to get the bugger to shut up.
I didn’t want any part in that. No way.
But the business needed sales. The clients I had just sort of fell into my lap, but I knew they wouldn’t last for ever. More importantly, I needed to raise the company income – it wasn’t enough for the amount of work I was doing – I was flat out all the time and hadn’t had a proper holiday in years.
So I started reading and listening and learning. And I built a sales process.
As I’m a software guy, I tried out different bits of software. I went through lots and lots of CRMs. I settled on one. It didn’t help me. I repeated the process. Eventually, I came across Pipedrive. And that’s when it all clicked for me.
I built a sales pipeline. A process. A set of stages that I lead my potential clients down. And I had a revelation.
This process isn’t here so that I can persuade people to give me money. That’s what the slimy guys in suits do.
This process is here so I can decide if I want to work with you. Each stage is a series of questions or actions that let me evaluate “do I want this person as a client?”.
Suddenly, sales became something I enjoyed. It wasn’t a job of persuasion, it was a job of qualification. If you make it through my process, I’m pretty sure we’re going to succeed. That made me feel good. And confident.
And it gives my business a load of extra bonuses.
Here are a few questions which I used to answer with a shrug of my shoulders. Today I can answer each with a confident “yes”. And that’s all because I put this process into place.
- Do I know which meetings and calls I’ve got coming up soon? YES
- Do I know who I need to follow up with? YES
- Do I know what my revenue is likely to be in three months time? YES (although it’s nowhere near where I want it to be)
- Does my assistant know, at a glance, what I said to a customer or prospect last week? YES
- Do I have a system to turn lost sales into potential new deals? YES
So I’ll go into why these questions are important over the next few days.
And if you know of someone who you think could benefit from this information, please forward this on to them, and let them know they can sign up here.
Take action Answer yes or no to each question. If you want predictable sales for your business you want to be answering yes to at least three of these.