What is the Most Difficult Part of the Sales Process?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Dec 06, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

more difficultYesterday, I was leading a training program for a group of veteran Objective Management Group (OMG) Partners and experienced sales trainers.  One attendee asked the hypothetical question, "What is the most difficult part of the sales process?"  That sparked some very interesting discussion because at the outset, there was disagreement, even among the experts, as to what was really the hardest.  The votes formed a typical bell curve with 25% saying the opening of the first scheduled call or meeting, 50% identifying the crucial midpoint where the compelling reasons to buy must be uncovered, and 25% said closing.

We discussed the various challenges associated with all three milestones and when all was said and done, everyone agreed that the midpoint, that crucial point in time where compelling reasons to buy must be identified, is the most difficult for salespeople.

Why?  Well a quick look at the following list of mini-milestones, that must be accomplished in order to get to the point where compelling reasons will be shared, tells the whole story.  How many of your salespeople can do all of this in their first meeting?

  • Ask good, tough timely questions,
  • Listen intently,
  • Develop a relationship,
  • Show humility,
  • Demonstrate expertise,
  • Experience some intimacy,
  • Appropriate Positioning,
  • Push Back,
  • Make Accurate Predictions,
  • Differentiate,
  • Have Patience,
  • Develop Trust,
  • Show Understanding,
  • Get to the Truth,
  • Identify the Personal Impact,
  • Get Prospect to an Emotional level,
  • Have Guts,
  • Uncover the Compelling Reason(s) to buy and/or move their business to you,
  • Create urgency, and
  • Quantify the value of the prospect's opportunity or cost of their problem.
As a matter of fact, how many of your salespeople even ask for enough time to accomplish this in their first meeting?

Selling is becoming more difficult every year.  The consultative approach, outlined above, is the key to differentiating, shortening the sales cycle, increasing win rates, and growing sales.  Unfortunately, all of this occurs in just one stage of the sales process and fewer than 26% of salespeople consciously include that stage.  Even worse, only 6% are able to accomplish the mini-milestones on my list. 

Remember this:  Taking the easy approach - jumping to the demo - makes selling more difficult.  Taking the more difficult approach - slowing down and accomplishing those mini-milestones - makes selling easier.   

By the way, if you missed the webinar that I hosted earlier this week, it was the Magic of OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment.  It's very fast-paced, interactive, and runs for about 40 minutes.  You can watch the recording here

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, selling is easy, selling is difficult, objective management group

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Individual Blog -  Silver

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


Top Sales Awards 2018 - Assessment Tool -  Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blog 2019

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader