As seen in Creative Selling magazine

Success Has It’s Rewards So Plan On It!

I was speaking at a multiple speaker seminar event a number of years ago.  Rather than hanging out in my hotel room, I decided to sit in on a few of the other presentations.

One speaker posed a question to the audience, “who in the room has paid good money for training to learning a system of selling?”  The majority of the participants raised their hand.  To strengthen the point he was about to make, the speaker followed up with, “how many of you paid good money to learn multiple systems?” And, again a staggering number of attendees raised their hand.  Adding insult to injury, he further asked, the audience, “who in the room used any of those systems faithfully?  No one raised a hand.   Using these questions as the foundation,  over the next few minutes the speaker proceeded to explain that selling systems simply don’t work.

I sat quietly and wondered if the speaker ever considered salespeople who consistently implement an effective selling system might not be inclined to attend a sales seminar? Not to say that top salespeople don’t attend seminars because they do.  In fact, one characteristic of a great salesperson is their thirst for sales related tips, skills and techniques.  The other characteristic is, they all use a system! In my experience sales professionals who execute a selling system out preform their peers. 

Now, this doesn’t mean one must learn an effective system at a seminar, by reading books or listening to audio programs in the car like I did.  Many great salespeople have developed their own system and don’t even realize they are using one. There is a reason 80% of the sales are made by 20% of the salespeople. As system is one of those reasons coupled with an interesting idea I adopted from one of my early mentors Tom Hopkins.  You can identify an expert by what they learned, after they knew it all!

The reality is there are two methods of selling.  One is following a system and the second, winging it.  When I talk about using a system, it doesn’t mean the particular methodology I teach or anyone else for that matter.  A system is defined by Webster’s as, “any formulated, regular, or special method or plan of procedure.”  I found it interesting many years ago when a mentor explained the following.  “In life, you are either part of your own plan or you simply become a part of someone else’s plan.  I later discovered through my own research the number one reason people become part of someone else’s plan was due to an absence of a plan of their own.

In sales, you should strive for win-win. And, its a good idea but you have to have a plan. Prospects have a plan, objective, and even a procedure for getting you to provide information and avoid making a commitment. Perhaps you have seen this system at work!

Prospects use this system over and over again to the point of perfection.  If you fund yourself following their system it is either due to the lack of an effective system of your own.

There is another reason for using a system however that is often overlooked.  When a salesperson uses a consistent methodology, approach, and plan to their sales interactions, it becomes much easier to identify ineffective elements or execution. Identifying whats wrong is a crucial element for change! I’ve worked with thousands of salespeople over the last 25 years. With very little exception, most struggling salespeople are only a click or two off. When you apply a proven methodology to a salespersons role you can effectively debrief and contrast what happened with what should have happened. This makes it possible for the individual and/or management to observe the process, identify breakdowns and implement subtle changes.  This is preferable to reinvent the entire process when things are not going well. Simply said, you can keep what works, fix what’s broken and throw out the things you should.

So what are the components of a good system? Well, they are all different but a good system should be based on a win-win for you and your customer, not a win loose. The number one element that makes or breaks a system is the ability to gain enough of your confidence so you will actually use it on a consistent basis.  This doesn’t mean by using a system you will get every sale. It does mean you will significantly increase your odds of a positive outcome at the end of each sales encounter.  If you don’t get the sale, with the right system, you can see where you went wrong and what to do moving forward.

I am certain about one thing; any system will fail 100% of the time when it is not used.  Develop your plan, system and strategy. Be consistent, diligent and most of all put it to work for you. You’ll have all the success you truly deserve and as my financial advisor Susan Budrakey says, “Success has its rewards so plan on it!”

All the best,

Paul Willam Clarke