The proverbial theory of the chicken and egg–which comes first–has particular application to the world of selling. I think we can reasonably agree (at least I hope so for my reader’s sanity), and stipulate, that the chicken is first, and then the egg can be produced. (Contact me if you need further clarification.)
This stipulation accepted, why don’t sales managers, sales persons and other management personnel recognize that the selling process needs to be in place before time, money and resources are spent on marketing and advertising. A successful promotional campaign should yield numerous leads and inquiries–but is the sales team prepared to effectively capture this new business? The preparation for these new selling opportunities should be somewhat specific to the source or catalyst for these leads.
Getting back to my chicken and egg analogy (I knew that would excite some of you), it behooves those involved in the selling process to understand the various venues and verbiage being used in any lead generating activities. An effective sales person should have a presentation for each possible inquiry–considering the source first and then the appropriate sales approach.
A quick example could involve a lead that was generated through an Internet site. The sales person that receives this lead needs to recognize that the prospect has probably been all over the Internet shopping for what they’re trying to accomplish.
The first approach should be to ask them if they’ve contacted anyone else about what they’re inquiring about. What did they learn from their research? Why are they still looking?
Answers to some of these insightful questions will better assist the sales person in formulating an effective approach to move the selling relationship to the next level. An astute sales person should recognize that they are not functioning in a vacuum and that most prospects have already communicated with a competitor (if not, an entirely different sales skill needs to kick-in), or made some inquiries through various sources.
Again, if a sales person does not prepare adequately before marketing or promotional energies are expended, the results will be disappointing. It behooves management to keep the sales team apprised of all marketing and promotional efforts before these programs are implemented. With proper sales preparation most selling opportunities will be more successful than if the sales person is merely reactive to a lead. Desired outcomes are more likely to occur when preparation meets opportunity.
The selling function, and proper preparation is the chicken. Once sales techniques have been planned and practiced with the proper stimulation (no pun intended–I think) the egg (or sale) will be consummated (another pun?). One last caveat–don’t fixate on the visual.