There is nothing more important for a salesperson than sales effectiveness. If you want to measure your sales effectiveness, look at your win rate. The higher your win rate, the more effective you are. The lower your win rate, the less effective you are. Another way to measure your sales effectiveness is by looking at the effect you have on buyers and decision-makers in the sales conversation. Compared with their ineffective colleagues, effective salespeople have more influence over their contacts, especially at key points in the sales conversation.
The Effect of Your First Meeting
Recently, salespeople are able to book a first meeting but cannot convert it into a second meeting. This phenomenon is proof that the salesperson didn’t have a positive effect on their contact. Ineffective salespeople cannot give buyers the sales experience they need and want.
If you want to influence your contacts, you need to create value for them in the first few minutes of the meeting. You also increase your sales effectiveness when you can honestly present yourself as an expert and authority. Now and in the future, your contacts are going to seek out salespeople who can help them make important decisions. They determine whether someone is capable in the first meeting.
The Effect of Your Discovery
Most salespeople believe that the goal of discovery is to elicit a problem and get the client to confess their pain points. The salesperson asks specific questions because they can’t sell a solution unless there is a problem. I would argue that, as an expert and authority, you should already know what problems your clients have and how to discuss them in a way that creates value. Instead of going down a list of shallow questions before pitching your solution, you should teach your prospective clients something during the discovery process. This is how effective salespeople influence their contacts.
To have a greater effect on your contacts and stakeholders, you must help them discover something that they can use to make a better, more informed decision in the future. While you must ask questions to learn what you need to know, you also need to recognize that your contact is trying to learn key information to improve their results. You will know you have created the desired effect when your contact suggests that your conversation was helpful.
The Effect of Your Leadership
If you believe your client should be leading the conversation, you will have trouble creating the effect you need. Remember that compliance without complaint won’t win your client’s trust and business. Don’t tell the client what they want to hear and hope you can fix it later. Instead, use your business acumen and experience to lead the conversation and explain potential issues the client may not have considered. Why would someone buy from a salesperson who isn’t able to provide advice and recommendations? You are helping decision-makers pursue their strategic outcomes, so your conversations must reflect that.
To have a positive effect, you need to lead your client. You are responsible for facilitating their buyer’s journey. To do that, you must provide counsel about how to choose a partner and generate the better results they need. This level of conversation tends to lead buyers to recognize that you know how to best make the change they need. The positive effect of leading your client is helping them feel certain about the change they need.
The Effect on Stakeholders
One of the more challenging effects salespeople must be able to have is building consensus. When stakeholders are going to weigh in on a change decision, they must be included in the conversations. You are in deep trouble if you lack access to stakeholders. If a contact won’t allow you access, it’s a sign that they lack confidence in your ability to win trust.
When you have done good work and established that you are going to be able to win over the stakeholders, you gain access to the stakeholders who will be affected by the change you are helping the client pursue.
The Effect on Decision Making
Effective salespeople influence their contact’s understanding of the root cause of problems and how best to improve their results. If you make too little impact on their decision-making, you have not been effective in the sales conversation. The salesperson who has influenced how the contact approaches their decision will have a tremendous advantage in a contest for their business.
By teaching your clients through your consultative approach, you shape their decision-making. Because you are able to help them better understand how to make the decision, you position yourself as the best person to help them execute their initiative.
Having the Necessary Effect
When you have no effect on your contacts, the stakeholders, or the decision, it suggests that your approach doesn’t make your contacts prefer you over other salespeople. If you don’t have a positive effect, your effect is negative. Your sales approach should have a positive effect on your prospective client. Sales organizations using a legacy approach have a negative effect, leading buyers to prefer a “salesperson-free buying experience.” I believe this occurs most frequently in enterprise-level client pursuits, which are also the types of deals when effective salespeople can be most valuable to buyers.
You want to have a positive effect on your contacts in the sales conversation. The greater effect you have on your clients, the more you are likely to win their business.
If you are a salesperson, do the work to create a positive effect. If you are a sales leader or a sales manager and your team has a low win rate, assess their ability to have the effects described above. If your team isn’t winning at a high enough rate despite having opportunities, you may need a new sales approach that is designed to create value for your prospective clients.
Your effect on your clients in the sales process is more important than your ability to deliver the value of your product, service, or solution. No matter your role, your effectiveness should be your number one priority.