How many deals have you lost in the last year? And do you know why those deals were lost?
Those are questions salespeople often avoid because in this industry, mindset is everything and focusing on lost deals sucks.
However, without taking an honest look at where we’re losing deals, we’ll be hoping those issues don’t crop up again.
At Bulletproof Selling, we’ve been applying battlefield systems to grow sales success for more than a decade, but there’s another industry that leverages systems to find and replicate success as well – science. Scientists are constantly examining why things work the way they do in order to discover new ways of accomplishing things – even what others thought was previously impossible.
To learn how to apply science to our sales process so we can dissect and reduce lost deals, we sat down with David Hoffeld, author of The Science Of Selling and Sell More With Science. He showed us a simply sales system we can use to not only engage prospects sooner, but ascertain why sales stall and put a plan in place to reduce those problems in the future.
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 recommends applying science as soon as possible in our sales process. First, he says we need to understand that in a sale, we’re trying to obtain a series of commitments from our prospects in a certain order. These are six questions that frame the mental steps everyone’s brain goes through to make a buying decision. They are:
1.Why change at all?
2. Why make the change now?
3. Why this industry solution to the problems I have?
4. Why you/your company?
5. Why this product/service?
6. Why spend my money on this?
If any of those commitments don’t happen, objections are the symptom. And objections are nothing more, according to David, than a breakdown in one or more of those six commitments. We need to trigger this system by bringing strong answers to each of those questions as we prep our written material and our language to leverage the science of selling to its maximum effect.
R – Repeatable: To make the application of those six questions repeatable, David says we need to first begin tracking the places we’re being challenged by prospects both in the prospecting process and across lost sales.
This can be done by making a note of any reason a prospect gives you that slows down the sale (“we’re not interested now, call back next quarter”) or stops it cold (“we don’t have budget allocated for this with everything else going on”).
Next, David says to examine which of the six questions is holding up your sales cycle the most. Start there to begin building stronger answers, examples, and solutions so that conversations and sales check the box on that question and move on to the next stage in your sales cycle.
A final step is to reconfirm your prospect’s answers to each of those questions and any open questions can be used as an agenda item for you to discover on the next call with your prospect.
I – Improvable: David says improvement happens naturally as the result of conducting a win/loss analysis on our lost sales or conversations that stall out.
M – Measurable: To measure the impact of this system, David says we need to first examine how many of the 6 questions are being answered as part of your sales conversations with each prospect. Next, David says to measure the velocity of your sales cycles between prospects when you are obtaining commitments to each of the questions. One or more of the questions, when answered, may unlock sales in your market. Those are the ones we’d want to emphasize and prioritize in future sales conversations.
Each of those leading indicators will lead to the lagging indicators we’re pursuing – more sales.