Anonymous wrote to me to ask me which sales process or methodology I use. She’s asking this question because she wants to know what she should adopt and her sales practice.
I don’t know anything about Anonymous or her business, so it would be criminal for me to make a recommendation as to what process or methodology she should use. But that said, I badly want to tell Anonymous that I don’t use a single, off-the-shelf process or methodology. I want to tell her something different. I want to tell her that I’m agnostic, that I’ve read hundreds of sales books, that I’ve been on thousands of sales calls, and that I’ve made distinctions that of help me choose what I believe to be effective based on the facts and circumstance confronting me. I do have a process, but it isn’t in a book.
But that won’t help Anonymous. She doesn’t have the same experience that I have. I want to help her, so I am giving her an answer directly.
Choose a book. Start with Spin Selling by Neil Rackham. Read the book from cover to cover. Make a list of questions that you can use on sales calls and adopt this questioning methodology. Try things. See what kinds of questions work for you AND create value for your clients.
Then read my friend Mike Weinberg’s New Sales Simplified. Study Mike’s ideas about targeting and your sales story (your value proposition). Work on these ideas the way that Mike lays them out in the book. Figure out what a target looks like for you, and develop your sales story.
Don’t forget what you learned from Spin Selling. Oh, and don’t miss the part about “advancing” opportunities (pages 64 – 67, I think).
When you’re done with that, pick up New Solution Selling by Keith Eades. The process might not work for you, but you’ll understand the principles of solutions selling, and you’ll get some ideas as to what an effective process might look like for you. Put those ideas to work in your practice, keep what works, drop what doesn’t.
In Conjunction with These Steps, Do This
As you’re reading these books and taking new actions, keep a journal. Make notes on your experiences. Be honest with yourself. Track the mistakes that you make so that you can capture the learning outcome failure provides you. Also capture the things that you do well, the things that work for you, so you can do more of them.
If you don’t like these choices, choose some other books.
If you can afford a seminar, a workshop, or online training, make that investment. Study. Study. Study. Act. Act. Act.
Decide what you believe is true for you and what you believe may not be as effective in your particular situation. But don’t be too fast to judge an idea as wrong or because it makes you uncomfortable. A lot of people believe that the most effective processes and methodologies won’t work in their business–even though they’re almost always wrong.
Repeat this process over and over again. Don’t ever stop.
If you follow this path will become a better salesperson.