Any seasoned sales rep – regardless of industry – will tell you that they have a perfected sales formula. Well, that’s what they’ll tell you or any manager who asks, but realistically speaking it’s probably NOT written down, nor is it transferable. It’s probably more along the lines of, “This is just what I do, and how I’ve done it for ‘X’ years and have been successful.” While it may only have a 99% success rate (realistically, more like 50 – 85%), it can always be improved. Before rocketing into the realm of advanced sales techniques, let’s examine the basic step-by-step sales process for your average rep.
- Make contact & Build Rapport
- Ask prospective client about their need (Questions, Question, Questions)
- Introduce and explain product/service and how it fits their need
- Establish rational desire and emotional need
- Close the deal
Uh….what is this exactly?
This is a formula, a to-do list, a dull and boring recipe. A recipe for failure if you ask me, and to throw a little salt on the wounded ego’s out there reading this, your prospect, ya’ know, the person you’re trying to turn into a cash-paying customer, they’ve seen it a million times and they’re tired of it. Quite frankly, most brand-new, straight out of college sales reps are taught something really similar to the above “Formula”, and not surprisingly the majority fail.
Do the Top Chefs in the world follow recipes by the book? I think not. They add flavor, innovation, and creativity. The Best Chefs think “outside the box”. I mean, they have to these days to even make a name for themselves. Sure, there are some that are experts at the tried and true recipes, but most need an edge in order to shake things up in the industry. The same goes for sales reps, especially in the healthcare industry.
To be a “Top Chef” in the healthcare sales industry, one must think 5 steps ahead of his or her customer physician in order to build and own that loyalty. There is so much competition in this arena, you can no longer simply take your doctors out to dinner or to a “course” somewhere and expect there to be any loyalty. At best you may be able to START the process of building some rapport. You certainly cannot expect to beat your competition based on product features and benefits, or what you’ve always thought of as bringing value. The value you think you bring really isn’t nearly as valuable as you once thought. (More on bringing value in a future post)
So what is a sales rep to do? Has anyone thought of another way to appeal to the customer? Is there a tool to support that? You bet there is.
More Than Just Strategies
There is a crucial difference between sales processes and sales methodologies. Employing both in your techniques will increase your engagement numbers (and revenue). Sales methodologies include how you approach the entire sales process. Are you a more aggressive salesperson or do you approach your clients with a more empathetic approach? Do you really think about what the customer cares about and keeps them up at night? Maybe you should think about how to create more value for your customer other than by offering your hot new product. Identifying which approach works best for which customer might be your best option for maximizing territory and revenue. And the legit “A” players of the sales world are chameleons. They can turn a different color in a matter of seconds based on the posture, tone, look, feel, answers to questions they receive from customers or even staff members of the customer. They can turn on a dime.
Beyond implementing sales methodologies though, you must also depend on management support. Unfortunately, communication breakdowns can lead to missed calls, misunderstandings and ultimately missed opportunities which can ultimately change the trajectory of your business. Relationship management within your own team matters almost as much as your client relationship management.
While all of the above is much better than simply following the earlier “list” or “recipe” of a sales process, it is still not enough to break away from the herd of sales people these days. Sure, while having solid methodologies and innovative approaches will help differentiate yourself and potentially create more value for a customer, there is still one unresolved issue – it has to do with speed and how fast you can close the deal.
Using Sales Acceleration Tools to Enhance Results
No matter which sales process or methodology you may ascribe to, you won’t get too far without using the right tools – sales acceleration tools to be precise. Think about how much you would rock your territory if you not only offered the one thing your customer really cared about, but you were also able to access that one thing instantaneously from a mobile app? Think about how much time in the field you would spend actually SELLING versus SEARCHING? Take the painstaking and laborious task of finding and tracking physician referrals: What if you could completely streamline that massive network with ProSellus Linx? “Actionable Intelligence” is not just some fancy buzzword. It’s a brand new reality few sales reps know how to embrace and conquer. Take your first steps and email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com for your step-by-step process to revolutionize your sales strategies, break away from the herd once and for all, and finally become the sought after “Top Chef” in your territory.