All About Active Selling Systems
By Jerry Scrivo
In an “Active” selling system, the seller is actively going out to seek new clients as opposed to a ‘Passive” system in which the seller waits for interested individuals to contact him at which time his role is to take their order.
Every business has a selling system. These are usually very informal, but most businesses could benefit by establishing a formal written selling system. Such a system is composed of two elements, first WHAT you do, and then HOW you do it! The WHAT is the predetermined element of the process and includes exactly what you will say, the materials you will use when you say it, the dress, and the procedural standards you will observe in your meetings with prospects.
The HOW is what you, the sales person, will bring to the process. This includes how you say it, how you use it when you say it and your demeanor when you say it.
These two elements merge in the selling process to produce a more extraordinary result then you could ever achieve on your own without a system.
Using a formalized active selling system involves a series of three interrelated steps coupled with information tracking. Each of the steps is detailed by a series of scripts and procedures that define the interaction between the salesperson and the prospective customer. The system’s effectiveness is monitored through information tracking.
1. Appointment Setting Activity
2. Top Challenges Assessment
3. Needs Analysis Presentation
4. Information Tracking
Appointment Setting Activity
Most sales people fail at the beginning because they don’t realize the purpose of the appointment setting activity. They believe that the purpose is to qualify the prospect and ascertain whether or not he is a viable customer.
The purpose of Appointment Setting is only to make an appointment. It moves the prospect from where he is to a place where you can do a NEEDS Analysis which involves learning about his business, establishing credibility, and most importantly learning about the prospects’ TOP CHALLENGES! It is a series of words that engage the prospect by speaking primarily about the product you have to sell in terms of what it will do for him.
Hello, Mr. Smith, I’m ____________ with _____________. Have you seen the remarkable new things that are being done to create strong sales in our down economy?
What new things?
That’s exactly why I called. May I have a moment of your time?
The appointment presentation tells the prospect that there are things going on in the world – “REMARKABLE NEW THINGS”–that he doesn’t know about (he’s ignorant), but he can now become familiar with them (gain knowledge) by just spending a few minutes with you! His emotional commitment is made. What he needs now is to find a rational argument to support it. That’s your job as the sales person, which is why the appointment is being made.
Top Challenges Assessment
The first thing you do in assessing the prospect’s top challenges is to repeat what you said in setting the appointment in order to reestablish emotional commitment.
“Remember, Mr. Smith, when we first talked, I mentioned that some remarkable new things were going on in the world to generate strong sales in a down economy?”
The second thing is to tell the prospect how you would like to proceed to fulfill your promise to him and this begins with establishing your credibility by communicating your company’s expertise and also your personal willingness to do whatever is necessary to utilize that expertise on his behalf. Next you describe the company’s system, why it works well, and the impact it will have on the prospect and his business.
At this point you ask the prospect to help you complete a brief questionnaire which is a listing of his TOP CHALLENGES. After which, you provide information on his areas of concern, (his true Needs and Wants) and show him how relevant they are to the report that you will prepare for him. The meeting is concluded by making an appointment to return with your analysis and an action plan that will have some valuable solutions for him – at no cost – and that you will take whatever time is necessary to help him understand those solutions, whether he decides to implement them or not! Upon completion of the top challenges assessment, you will make a follow up appointment to present your Needs Analysis.
Needs Analysis Presentation
The Needs Analysis presentation is the easiest component of the active selling system because if you’ve done the job effectively up to this point, the sale is already made. Most salespeople think that selling is “closing,” but it isn’t! Selling is “opening” which is what the top challenges assessment does. It opens up the prospect to a deeper experience of his frustration and to the opportunities available to him by going through the questioning process with you.
YOU NOW HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE HIM. By working with you, your prospective customer is going to be able to access people who are business “pros” and who will be able to help him fulfill his deepest desires! He is going to get all of this for an affordable priced! What more could he ask for?
The Needs Analysis Presentation simply provides a rational argument that supports the emotional commitment he has already made. It brings the prospect up to date by reviewing all the compelling things we covered in identifying his top challenges that he may have forgotten, but not for long. They are a part of him and we are now reminding him of that fact.
Then review in great and earnest detail the prospective customers’ Needs Analysis and our action plan for him. The action plan will contain your products and services as solutions to his challenges. You must ask questions to make certain that the prospect feels that this is his report. Get his agreement that these are truly his top challenges and have him prioritize them.
Always ask WHY as he gives you this information. Question such as, why is this important? Why does it need to happen now? Why would your situation worsen if we didn’t do this? When that’s done, ask this question: “Of the options we’ve suggested here, which do you feel would best serve you right now?” Then wait for the answer because, the next person who speaks is going to make a purchase. If that person is you, you are going to buy a “no sale.” That’s all there is to it except for writing up the SALE! But if the system is going to work for you, you must be willing to go through it the same way every single time. By doing it the same way every time, you will not be a selling person, but a selling system! A system for predictably producing a result that was formerly unpredictable. You will be able to tell just how predictable it is through the use of Information Tracking.
Information Tracking should provide you with the following information:
•How many calls were made?
•How many prospects were reached?
•How many appointments were scheduled?
•How many appointments were held?
•How many top challenge assessments were completed?
•How many Needs Analysis Presentations were scheduled?
•How many Needs Analysis Presentations were completed?
•How many Action Plans were sold?
•What was the average dollar value of the sales?
The information should be recorded in a database. It will tell you an astonishing number of things. It will tell you the rate of conversion between any two steps in the selling process, and which step a particular sales person needs help. Which of your people are “on the system” – that is, using the system verbatim – and which ones are off it. Start by calculating the cost of making a call, then the cost of completing the next step in the process, and from that derive the next until you have calculated the actual cost of making a sale. In short, Information Tracking can tell you everything you need to know.
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