In my next series of posts, I am going to be talking about a data set that HubSpot published in 2018 on Sales Enablement Statistics. These are great bits of information for salespeople and sales managers to know in order to impact the actions they take with prospects and with selling and coaching time. I intend to address all 20 of them over time and I welcome you to share how they impact YOUR actions with your team or with your prospects.
50% of sales time is wasted on poor prospects. How are your salespeople prioritizing their leads? Detailed marketing strategies help salespeople focus their energy and bring in leads that have potential—saving your reps time and effort.
For Salespeople: You MUST ask specific discovery questions that target the buyer’s process of decision making. Without that, you will chase rainbows and leave good leads by the wayside because of a personal perspective that you have about the prospect. You need to have questions (BADAS) to determine their position in the buying process that you ask EVERY prospect in order to know how you should engage now and what the outcome is that you are driving to.
For Sales Managers: You also need to be mindful in reviewing new leads acted upon to find out how much the salesperson learned about the prospect and what the next actions are and when they will occur. And begin to create a history of time: when met, first actions and determinations, discover questions asked, appointments set (and for what outcome?), quote – close. AND their overall close ratio. You might trace it all the way back to how the lead was originally managed.
I once had a customer who was a bit of a maverick in his marketplace and in the industry. He has since passed away, but Chuck Forcey was a character. When he was in the military, he flew planes and was on an elite fighter team…and he brought his irreverent ways with him.
Fortunately, he had a commander who was tougher and more focused than Chuck was and while he respected and appreciated what Chuck brought to the team, he refused to let the team be defined by one of its members. To address a particularly aberrant behavior, the commander pulled Chuck aside and told him: “You are a valued member of this team…and you will have a place on this team as long as your contribution exceeds your aggravation…and not a moment longer.” I LOVE that measure of relationships … and don’t we all use something like that, even if it’s not as clearly stated? Think about it as you evaluate design project clients, hire new associates, work for rogue employers…and maybe closer to home, too.
In keeping with the lifelong practice of asking questions is my lifelong practice of talking about them. Imagine a conversation where YOU really drive the exchange by completing EVERY response you have with a question. Think about it. Even if you answer a question posed by the other person, you keep the volley going with a question of your own. You: “Lobster is my favorite food…what’s yours?”
One of the more challenging types of questions is Commitment Questions – asking for a commitment from the other person so that occurs as a benefit to them.
Jim Grady was a partner and collaborator of mine for years and he was/is a terrific salesperson. Early in his career, he had the good fortune of working with a top real estate agent. Jim asked him what made him so successful and the response was “I always ask for a commitment”. When he would show a property, he would ask the prospect “Do you like this?” And if they said yes, he would ask “Do you want to make an offer?” Then he would manage their response.
Look at your selling strategy. Are you intending to ask for a commitment from the prospect – either the sale today or an appointment to make a sale tomorrow? Do you really know where the prospect is in their buying process and what they are ABLE to do now? Do you need to ask more Discovery Questions?
It’s all research and practice. Keep asking questions…all kinds of questions. And if you need help, ask for it.