By Solomon Thimothy. On a mission to help as many entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses. Connect with him at Thimothy.com. | President of OneIMS
You’ve heard it before: process over outcomes. I believe that’s more than just some catchy saying about finding joy in the process or immersing yourself completely in your craft.
Having a thought-out, clear and repeatable process can give you so many business advantages. Without one, you could be struggling to reach your goals (or even get to the next step) because somewhere along your process there is a hole.
I’ve worked with agency owners and sales professionals for many years who are so outcome-focused that they sometimes spend much more energy and time than necessary to reach their goals. If they spent the time to examine their process, they could save massive costs and find ways to get even better results.
Whether through sales, onboarding or in the work you execute; learn to diligently keep track of your process do’s and don’ts. Don’t rely on luck and strife to get results. Lean on your magic sauce. In other words, take meticulous notes on how you achieve outcomes and continually refine the process.
Below, I’ve highlighted four common mistakes I see with agency owners who can’t scale their businesses, specifically within their sales organizations.
Mistake No. 1: Not Following A Consistent System
The problem with hungry sales representatives is that they fall into a “my way is the best way” trap—and they don’t actually have a process with which they sell to clients. They rely on instincts and go for the sale on a moment-to-moment basis. That’s great for highly skilled salespeople but oftentimes the rest of the organization falls short.
Are you familiar with the term “SOP,” a.k.a. “standard operating procedure”? SOPs are put in place for a reason. Unsure of how to qualify a lead? Rely on your SOP. Not sure how to kick off a sales call? Rely on your SOP. Ready to onboard a client but unsure of the first step? Rely on your SOP.
Mistake No. 2: Not Getting Pain On The Table
Let me introduce to you the prideful sales representative. The prideful sales rep is 100% sold on his or her product/service (as any great rep should be). So much so that they are ready to spill all the beans on how it can change your life and why everyone and their mother is after it.
PAUSE. Understand that each individual (while all a part of your target audience) will have unique pain points. Skipping the qualifying step is a big no-no and can hurt your brand’s reputation in the long run. Make sure you address your prospects’ pain as a key part of your process. Selling the benefits of your product or service should all reflect their specific issue.
Mistake No. 3: Not Qualifying The Decision-Making Process
You’re running through your sales process: You’ve qualified the lead, addressed their pain, asked all the right questions and explained the benefits thoroughly. You go for the ask and hear, “Well I’m not actually the decision-maker, so I’ll have to relay this information to my manager.”
Maybe you recognize this feeling. It’s not a good one. The entire sales process was a wash. To avoid a waste of everyone’s time, always ask if the person on the other side of the call is the decision-maker. If not, ask to reschedule or even ask if you can record the call.
Mistake No. 4: Not Asking For The Sale
Another scenario that may ring a bell: You absolutely crush the call. The prospect seems excited and your confidence in your service or product can really help them. Without wanting to mess anything up, you wish them farewell and close the Zoom call. Your manager asks, “Did they say yes?” to which you answer, “I didn’t ask.”
Palm to face. Word to the wise? Go for it. Make sure your process involves asking for the sale. Whether it’s trending positive, negative or you’re just not sure, qualify them for the next step by asking for the sale or asking if you can set a follow-up meeting. Never leave the call without the next steps. It’s a key part of the process!
People, Process, Perfection. Put your people first, internally and externally. Listen and leverage the feedback. Put your systems in place and take note of what works. Refine. Lastly, perfection. Hint: It doesn’t exist! But we sure can try.