Objections, prospects ‘going dark’, budget problems – and these are just three of the hundreds of challenges salespeople deal with every day.
Instead of letting these challenges hold up your sales, it is possible to stop them before they ever occur.
The military has a way of planning and then poking holes in it to ensure they’re identifying risks before lives are at stake. Salespeople can do the same thing to ensure they account for the most likely problems they’ll encounter.
To learn how to stop sales problems before they affect our sales, we sat down with David Farrell, a regional vice president of sales. David shared the same system his salespeople use to identify potential sales challenges before they hold up the sale – and stop them in their tracks!
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: David said addressing challenges shouldn’t wait until you’re in a meeting and the objection, challenge or problem occurs. Instead, trigger this system as soon as the meeting is scheduled!
R – Repeatable: To make this system repeatable, David said to start by identifying the thing you need to know or learn about this prospect to match what you sell as a solution. Each of those things, from confirming the decision maker to identifying budget to establishing a timeline has the potential to hold up the sale so they need to be examined.
Next, build a mitigation plan for each potential place a challenge may occur. This should be done with the help of a team member or leader, as their experience shortens your learning curve considerably. With your partner, identify ways to get around the potential hold-ups in your plan or get through them.
Finally, before the meeting, take the time to review the top 3 potential challenges you’re likely to encounter and review how you intend on dealing with them. This way, those strategies are fresh in your mind for the meeting.
I – Improvable: To improve this system, David says to review your potential vulnerabilities that hold up your sales. If they’re the same ones you’re addressing in your plan, then you need to update your mitigation strategies, revise your objection turnarounds, or get the input of more team members.
If you discover your sales are being stalled because of new issues you didn’t account for, work those challenges into your pre-meeting mitigation plan and come up with some ideas for how to deal with it – because the challenge is guaranteed to appear in future calls!
Another way to improve is to identify where your competitors have an advantage over you and brainstorm some ways to address that in future meetings or create a change in the way you sell, deliver and serve to create an advantage of your own.
M – Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of this system, David says to look at closing percentages. Mitigating your risk by addressing challenges before they occur should create better closing percentages, but you can also measure the effectiveness of the solutions you’re putting into place.
If they’re allowing you to avoid the challenge that would’ve stopped the sale – great! If not, measure whether you’re using the solution you planned for or if you’re reverting to old habits that stall the sale.
You won’t be able to account for every potential challenge, but by identifying and addressing a few challenges each week, you’ll see a massive improvement in your ability to sell – and serve!