Study sales history and cut your losses

07/12/2018 - 09:36

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Opinion: Often in sales the simple and most obvious solutions are the most effective. But if that’s true, why are those solutions so often overlooked?

Study sales history and cut your losses
Ask yourself the right questions and the ideas will flow. Photo: Stockphoto

Opinion: Often in sales the simple and most obvious solutions are the most effective. But if that’s true, why are those solutions so often overlooked?

The idea of repeating successful sales habits should be an easy concept to grasp – tailor the message for the new client if necessary, repeat the process and make the sale.

So why do salespeople (you included) continue to fight the same battles sale after sale?

• Price too high.

• You can’t get an appointment.

• Client is satisfied with present supplier.

• Client is taking three bids.

• You can’t reach a decision-maker.

I have an idea for you. Study history. Study your own history. Just go back to:

• your most recent 10 leads;

• your most recent 10 appointments;

• your most recent 10 sales calls;

• your most recent 10 sales;

• your most recent 10 repeat sales;

• your most recent 10 referrals;

• your most recent 10 lost sales;

• your most recent 10 calls for service help;

• your most recent 10 customer complaints;

• your most recent 10 lost customers; and

• your most recent 10 testimonials.

That’s enough history to predict the future. Actually, it’s enough history to alter the future. That’s enough information to cure all your ills and double your sales.

Okay, maybe you need to do the list with 25 of each, but that sounds like work. And salespeople aren’t willing to do the hard work it takes to make sales easy. Ten sounds like a more workable number. Start there.

And when you ask yourself the question, ask deeper questions and list the answers. The reason for the list is to spot the trend and figure out how to eliminate the mistakes, conserve time and money, prevent the problems from reoccurring, and focus your energy on what has been successful.

Why haven’t you done this before? Probably the same reason I haven’t written about it for 10 years. It’s so obvious I overlooked it.

Start with the initial history question and take it at least five steps deeper.

List your most recent 10 leads, then ask some further questions.

• Where did the lead come from?

• What happened?

• Did I make the sale?

• Can I repeat that?

• What do I have to do?

• What’s my plan to do it?

• Is this my best source of leads?

• What’s the cost?

• What’s the reward?

• What’s the repercussion of not doing it?

By simply asking yourself these real-world, obvious questions, you come up with relevant answers to help you win the next sale.

Here’s another example. Keep in mind that each initial question breeds different ‘depth questions’.

List your most recent 10 sales appointments.

• How did I make each of them?

• Where were they held?

• Which ones resulted in sales?

• How many total sales did I make?

• Which type resulted in a sale?

• How can I repeat my best ones.

List your most recent 10 sales calls.

• How long was each sales call?

• What was the presentation like?

• Was there a decision-maker present?

• Was price an issue?

• What were the objections?

• How did the sales presentation end?

• What could I have done differently?

• How long after the appointment did it take to make a decision?

• Why did they buy?

Other questions could include the following.

• Did I have rapport before I started?

• How did I ask for the sale?

• How eager was the customer to buy?

• Did I get a referral?

I think you get the idea. Have a team? Get each sales person to do this and your information will be staggering.

Here’s another example.

List your most recent 10 sales.

• Where did each sale come from (source)?

• Category?

• How long was each presentation?

• How long did it take to complete the sale?

• What was the amount of each sale?

• How good was the rapport?

• How did I ask for the sale?

This concept has certainly opened my eyes to the probability of making future sales by studying sales your history. It’s a strategy you can implement, and one you make more sales from.

You’ve heard the expression ‘history repeats’. Well, so does sales history. All you have to do to repeat the victories is study how you won before – and eliminate how you lost.

Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.

 


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