Is it possible to sell without a sales process? Can you be successful engaging customers without a plan?
It happens all the time. I even hear sales people brag about “the art of sales.” The bravado of natural born rainmakers sounds good, but it’s a fool’s errand. It simply doesn’t work that way.
The best don’t sell by the seat of their pants.
Winning Takes a Process
To prove my point let me take you to the root of this little cliche–flying by the seat of your pants. Let me tell you no competent pilot wings it.
Back when I was in Air Force pilot-training we practiced procedures over and over and over again. We were tested on our knowledge of the most minute procedures and processes daily, in: stand-up, chair-flying, desk reviews, academics, simulator, pre-flight, and post-flight. That completely leaves out the actual hundreds of hours we logged in the actual aircraft practicing these same procedures.
All this practice and repetition reviewing the same procedures served only one purpose:
When the real pressure was on you executed flawlessly and instinctively.
Can you imagine putting millions of dollars on the line (in the air) without a plan? We do it everyday with our sales revenue–right? Why?
Learn to Win Over and Over Again
If you want to learn to win consistently and as frequently as possible you need a plan. This is the carefully measured and planned process to winning. It’s not that hard and we expect it in most things we want to do well–sports, music, education, (most) jobs.
Sales seems to be a notable exception. We win deals and we’re not sure how we got there. We look at a list of prospects with no idea of what a good one looks like. We email and call with no rhyme of reason. We talk to prospects without any clear goal or message.
Successful sales people don’t do it like this. Why are so many trying?
Questions and Answers
I’d love to hear your thoughts:
- Do you agree or disagree with me? Why?
- How do you track and iterate your sales plan?
- Do you have any systems you use (I’m thinking GTD-style)?
- Has your organization adopted a common “sales process?” What is it?