How do market leading sales teams consistently achieve and surpass sales goals? What is the secret sauce…if there is one? Why do buyers buy? The main reason why buyers buy is a feeling of trust the salesperson understands their problem to be solved and what they are proposing will solve it completely. If your salespeople are not taking the time to qualify buyer pain they are guilty of “Sales Malpractice”.
Let’s say you were feeling off, just not right. You noticed a lack of energy and you occasionally felt dizzy. This goes on for a while then you notice when you climb stairs you have a tightness in your chest. If you are like me, you probably ignore the symptoms and hope they go away. But then one day you mention them to your wife and the next thing you know you have an appointment at the doctor’s office.
You arrive and the doctor’s office and He or She quickly looks you over and starts talking…”I see you look to be in your 50’s or so? Based on my experience my patients in their 50’s have issues with blood pressure so here’s a prescription for Lisinopril , and you look a bit overweight so you may have type 2 diabetes so I will prescribe Meltormin . You know, based on how you are dressed I am guessing you are a busy executive, and over the last 6 months I have seen a great deal of patients like you with anxiety so I will give you a prescription for Paxil. Oh and as we age, and if you have any history of heart disease I will give you a prescription for Coumadin. Please pay my office manager on the way out.”
Question: would you trust this doctor and fill the prescriptions?
I hope your quick answer is; NO!
I heard a great quote I want to share:
“Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice “
Is the doctor in the above example a bad person? No. Is there a high probability based on the frequency he or she sees people one of the above may solve your problem? Possibly? So where did they fail, why do you lack trust in their prescriptions? The simple answer is they did not take the time to understand you. They did not run tests to determine if the symptoms you are having can be tied to a specific problem. The doctor in the above example “assumed” what has worked for people who look like you will work for you.
“Mark, this is a crazy example, no doctor would do this, and they would be sued for malpractice!”
I hear you and you are right. Now let me ask you…
Are your salespeople guilty of malpractice?
Do you know?… I mean really know for sure?
What are some signs your salespeople are guilty of Sales Malpractice?
- Poor close rate on new customers
- Lower than industry gross margins
- Not prospecting the right customers
- Having to deliver on promises your product or service was not designed to solve
- Poor customer satisfaction survey results
- Low repeat purchase percentage
- New accounts slow to pay and or request return authorizations
If you ask salespeople why buyers buy and why they don’t you will often hear one of two reasons;
- Relationship with current vendor
If you ask buyers why they buy and why they don’t “price” is not on the list. You will hear things in the win loss call like;
- Salesperson did not do their research on our company, asked me questions my web site could have answered
- Salesperson did not understand the problem(s) I need to solve, so I did not trust their proposal ( prescription)
- Salesperson assumed what my problems were and pitched me asking for my current vendors business.
- Since I do not understand how this new salesperson and the company they represent are different, all I can do is compare price
Years ago I heard a great quote: “Salespeople are like water and they seek the path of least resistance” If you are a salesperson you have that sales goal monkey on your back. You are accountable to a specific number and everyone in the company sees your results and asks questions if you fail sell. A common problem I have seen salespeople do is what we refer to as “spill their candy in the lobby” in hopes of closing sales faster.
When salespeople meet with buyers they have a bag of offerings (their candy) they can offer. Maybe it’s an onsite audit of your current system for free for a large commitment. Maybe they can offer extended terms if they need to. Your company may have the ability to do 100% outgoing product inspection, and if it’s a retail product your sales may be empowered to offer free ½ page ad to support a large enough order. The salesperson is so anxious to sell and get their goal monkey off their back they proceed to spew all offerings hoping one or more connects. In my training I refer to this also as “Feature and Benefit BINGO”. As I shared in a video in 2010;
Feature and benefit BINGO is a game untrained salespeople play far too often. They “show up and then they throw up” and they spew all the features and benefits they can think of waiting for your buyer to jump up and yell”…BINGO….I get it….I figured out what problems you can solve for me…”
Will a salesperson occasionally make a sale this way? Sure. What I recommend is teaching your salespeople meaningful questions by market and by buyer persona type that helps them clearly and completely understands the buyer’s pain. If your salespeople fail to understand pain they are guilty of Sales Malpractice and it will cost you….
- Sales you could have won
- Profits if you win the sale
- Customer retention
- And worst of all cause” brand damage”
How about your company….
Are your salespeople guilty of Sales Malpractice?
Have you experienced any of the above signs of Sales Malpractice?
Have you seen other signs of Sales Malpractice?
Our markets are more competitive than ever before in the history of your business. Your buyer’s problems change and your salespeople must be skilled at asking questions, qualifying pain and prescribing solutions that make that pain go away. The quickest way to see if your salespeople are spilling their candy in the lobby is attend 7-10 sales calls with them. Once you train your team to diagnose buyer current pain you will be back on track to achieving your sales objectives.
Photo credits http://www.abpla.org/what-is-malpractice