Behind this week’s big sale lies the next 100 sales
by Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: November 1,2004
“I made the sale!”
That’s the victory cry of all salespeople. They scream, they jump up and down, they high-five, they figure out their commission in their mind…and they missed the biggest sales opportunity of their lives.
Salespeople never seem to understand that it’s not about this sale, it’s about the next sale. And each time they make a sale, they can utilize the information and the lessons from the sale they just made to make the next sale, and sales for the rest of time, easier.
Instead of celebrating your next sale, take the following 6.5 steps and you will start on a sales streak that will never end. CAUTION: these steps require work, thought, and preparation. Rats.
The next time you make a sale, instead of celebrating, ask yourself:
1. How was this sale made? What did I have to do? What was the full cycle? What could I’ve done better? What can I repeat?
2. How was the sale decided? What were all the steps that led to the decision? How was the decision made?
3. Who pulled the trigger? Who was the person who actually made the decision to buy from you? The person who actually approved the money for the sale. In every selling scenario, there is only one trigger puller. Every salesperson needs to know who pulls the trigger before they ever make a sales presentation. Was the person who pulled the trigger the same person who said they were the decision maker? Where should you start your sale next time?
4. Why did they buy from you? What was their motive? What was their incentive? What was their reason to give you their business? How can you be certain to use this in your next presentation?
5. Who makes the budget? How many times have you heard someone say, “We spent our whole budget.” Whoever says that is never the person you want to meet with. They are not a decision maker, they are a budget spender. The person who spends the budget usually has to ask his Daddy for approval and the person who spends the budget is always the guy who wants three bids. Avoid him or her like the plague. The person who MAKES the budget can change it in three seconds. Start there.
6. What was their internal communication path to the sale? In other words, what was their internal sales cycle? Who had to say what to whom in order for your sale to take place? How could half of this been avoided if you would have simply done the next step?
6.5 Start higher. Salespeople tend to work their way from the bottom up. Nothing could be a bigger waste of time or energy. It makes more sense (but it takes more guts) to start at the highest level. CEO’s or other C-level corporate executives always know where the decision is made, and if you can gain five to 10 minutes of their time (in exchange for something of value to them), they will either make the decision, or take you by the hand to the decision-maker.
Let me assure you, when you walk in with the boss, the underling will listen twice as hard and give you half the hassle as when you walk in by yourself.
The good news is that most salespeople will simply celebrate the sale and overlook this incredible opportunity.
The better news is now that you know this insight to your process, you can begin a path to doubling your sales in a very short space of time. The best news is, doing the hard work to gather this information will make you an award-winning salesperson in a way that will gain the respect of your co-workers, your company and especially your customers.
There is a final subtle step, one that can only come after you have put all the others into action. Once you have met with the decision makers and you spend enough time with them, you will discover what they want their outcomes to be as a result of buying your product or service.
These outcomes need to be a critical part of your sales presentation, because they are the actual buying motives of a corporate executive or a CEO. High-level decision makers want to know how they profit, and they want to know how their productivity can increase. As a master salesperson, you have a responsibility to deliver this information in a way that they will have enough confidence in you, have enough trust in you, and have enough belief in you, to buy from you.
The most interesting aspect of what I’ve just shared is the fact that it could not be more obvious. And as with most sales situations, the obvious is overlooked. Maybe because it requires some hard work, maybe because salespeople are too busy celebrating at a superficial level, or maybe because it requires too much work and the salesperson doesn’t feel like it.
Whatever the circumstance, the opportunity is now yours. Take it. Master it. Bank it.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
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