A two-year-old boy with an undescended testicle was admitted to Bristol Children’s hospital for a routine 30-minute operation. Instead, after an agonising two-and-a-half-hour wait, his parents were told that a surgeon had mistakenly inserted a camera into the “wrong side” and their son’s healthy testicle would now “never work.”
In 2009 Lord Darzi helped design a 15 step checklist to prevent errors of this kind. A simple piece with simple questions such as:
- Is this the right patient?
- Is it the right limb?
- Did you wash your hands?
Simple routine checks that every doctor and nurse knew they should do, but did not always carry out on each occasion.
The impact was remarkable. Deaths decreased by 40%.
If highly trained and skilled professionals like surgeons make mistakes, it’s safe to assume that salespeople will do too. Every day salespeople make simple mistakes that end up killing deals, this happens because regardless of the years of selling experience in other organisations.
- A well-documented sales playbook
- A sales methodology
- A sales process
- A checklist to remind them to implement and hold them accountable.
You could be inadvertently killing deals if any of the below statements resonate with you:
- The prospect’s objectives are unclear or unknown
- Can’t fully understand their problems (and whether you can solve them)
- Not knowing what the ideal solution looks like to them
- No differentiation (other than price), any solution could work
- Difficulty to quantify the value of your solution
- No access to the decision-maker
- No clearly defined evaluation path
Unless you have a clearly defined set of steps that you need to take to close a deal, you will struggle to close the deal and it will be almost impossible to predict when.
It’s like going on a trip and taking a wildly different route every time, you might fall off a cliff, you might get lost, you might take the long way round and, even if you eventually get there, you will most likely be late, not enjoyed the journey and would have wasted money, time and resources unnecessarily along the way.
Unfortunately, having a sales process or checklist isn’t always enough for several reasons:
- It might be hidden away unknown to your salespeople.
- It might be difficult to follow.
- Salespeople might not even want to follow it.
What are your options?
You could spend hours trying to define a sales process but, will it be used?
Training might help for a while but bad habits die hard and, without reinforcement, how long until things go back to the way they were?
You could micro-manage your salespeople but, remote working trends and already busy agendas make it difficult to implement consistently (and not at all enjoyable).
You could try hiring a “heavy hitter”, salesperson, pay them a huge salary and hope for the best. But, if you have hired senior salespeople before, you probably know that a huge amount of them fail and that it costs the company a fortune even if you know the attributes of a successful salesperson
Good salespeople expect and need processes to succeed. Good hungry salespeople want to spend time selling, not figuring out how to sell.
A solution could be to put together a checklist that :
- Adapts to your way of selling and more importantly, your client’s way of buying.
- Describes exactly what steps salespeople need to take to close a deal.
- Shows how to complete those steps, like a coach that’s always there to help.
A checklist gives you better visibility of where you are in each deal, helps replicate good behaviors, identify the next best action, shorten sales cycles and work smarter.
Stop killing deals, build a sales checklist and start seeing improvements today.