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Jeff Bajorek: When It Goes Sideways, Focus on the Process

About This Talk

This talk is by Jeff Bajorek and was recorded on October 1, 2020. You can learn more about Jeff by:

Timestamps

0:00 Intro
6:17 There Are Only 2 Ways to Sell More
9:02 Focus on the Sales Process, Not Results
9:36 Focusing On a Process When Managers Won’t
27:45 How the Sales Funnel Works
30:41 How the Sales Cycle Works
34:01 Elements of a Good Sales Process

There Are Only 2 Ways to Sell More

You can work harder, or you can refine and improve your process. 

There are a lot of steps that happen to go from prospect to client. People are making lots of decisions about you that have little to do with the specifics of what you say – their decisions are based more on the overall process than working harder. 

So there are only two ways to sell more:

  1. Spend more time selling
  2. Focus on your process

Focus on the Sales Process, Not Results

Focusing on the process allows you to understand what you need to do to get the results you want. Focusing on results can be frustrating because outcomes can be so variable. You might go on hot and cold streaks. You might get results without an effective process. But if you’re running an effective process, the results will come no matter what. 

You can control the process, but not the results. You can control what you do, but you can’t control when people buy, or even if they’re going to buy from you. 

Focusing On a Process When Managers Won’t

Even if you work for a manager who’s results-obsessed, you should still focus on the process instead of results. Why? There are no results without a reliable process. More to the point, there are no repeatable and predictable results without a process. 

In anything you do, you follow a process, whether you conscious of it or not. Strike a balance between how you work and how your employer wants you to work. If your manager is stuck in 1980 (or 1880) in their approach, look for a small but meaningful change you can make to the process to demonstrate success. You should also be in the habit of setting boundaries early and often, to show your competence and way of doing things. 

If none of that works, you may need to move on from your current employer. 

How the Sales Funnel Works

New leads come into the top, and some of them come out the bottom as clients. Typically a quarter to a third will be clients because you can’t win ’em all, and you’ll disqualify a significant number of those deals. 

When you focus on the short term, you’ll end up with spillage and overinvest in new leads that you won’t work because they’re not a fit anyway. 

How the Sales Cycle Works

Your sales cycle is what your sales process is meant to accomplish. Jeff’s overview of the 4-part sales cycle is:

  1. Identify who you can help: this is your Perfect Fit Client and should include an easy to understand the definition of who you serve and how you help them
  2. Get their attention: you can do it through marketing, prospecting, and conversation, with the express goal of piquing their interest in what you have to say, and ideally establishing a problem they have
  3. Communicate your value: show your prospect precisely how you can help them and what it would be worth for them to make a change
  4. Take the next step: give your prospect clear guidance on how to advance within your sales process, or how to go from prospect to client

You may need to go through the loop of steps 2, 3, and 4 several times to close a sale. That’s normal. 

Elements of a Good Sales Process

Regardless of the length or complexity of your sales process, it needs to be capable, executable, repeatable, and sustainable. 

Your process must be capable in achieving each of the goals of the sales cycle above. That means you need enough touches to get your prospect’s attention, communicate your value, and have simple calls to action and next steps. 

Your process must be executable by you and everyone else in your organization. That means you can follow the steps independently and without great expense or unnecessary time wasted. 

Your process should be repeatable, so you run it the same way every time. No, it doesn’t have to be a script you read, but there should be at least 70% similarity in how you run your process every time. 

And finally, your process must be sustainable so that you can stick to it over time. There’s no sense in going to the trouble of creating a process if it won’t work 12 or 24 months from now.  

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