For SMEs, finding the strengths and identifying the weaknesses quickly can make or break your business. The most effective way to distinguish your strengths and weaknesses in your sales cycle is by starting at the end. By implementing a reverse audit, SME owners can break the pattern of auto pilot and find out what is really happening in the sales cycle, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Any business regardless of size can implement a reverse audit by isolating all the steps of your sales process. It is best to do this by moving in reverse through the sales cycle.
Asking for the sale and closing is one the biggest weakness of many peoples sales cycle. By starting at the close you can determine if any skills are missing, then you can then train and coach the skills that will increase conversion the most. Conversation is the key in sales and if closing (asking for the sale) is the problem or weakness, fixing that with you give you the best return for your training and coaching time. Most sales people will tell you they are closing well but usually make up their data because asking for the sales is rarely inspected. If asking for the money is done well you will increase sales. Statistics state that 68 per cent of sales are not asked for and if this is your weakness, fixing will create a quick turn around.
After asking/closing has be audited, you would then progress thorough all the other stages of your sales cycle right through to initial contact – most people are surprised what they discover! The reverse audit will confirm if a specific skill has been learnt and being used and if it’s not, the reverse audit will alert you to what training, coaching and reinforcement is required quickly.
Once you have pinpointed all the weaknesses in you or your sales person’s sales cycle, isolate a maximum of three skills that when fixed will have the biggest effect on your or their results. Avoid making the mistake many people make by conducting a “Tellfest” where people just tell sales people what they should do, instead of teaching them the skills so they can actually do them. It is best to commence training and coaching the skills that will increase conversion and boost your businesses bottom line by using the “six plus one” method of coaching.
Research show that people need to hear, say, and do a skill six times to get 62 per cent retention of the skills. One of the best ways to learn skills is to role play them. You can do this by taking turns showing the skills – your turn, then my turn back and forth three times, then have the sale person complete the skill three times without a mistake. This will ensure that you confirm that they have learnt the skills. It is vitally important that skills are practiced on a regular basis and you create and reinforce a role-play culture that is fun and is acknowledged. The strongest businesses I have worked with for over 30 years have regular role-plays, have increase their sales dramatically in every case. Role-play even in front of the mirror if you are the only sales person and this will make a difference.
Reverse sales audits uncover big weaknesses quickly so you can focus on what to improve to empower sales people, or yourself, to have the skills to make a huge impact on your sales.
Steve Jensen, CEO and Founder, Impact Training