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Understanding the Sales Process

I grew to love knocking on doors. It was my first job out of college, selling Sky TV. Once we had mastered the pitch, the newbies were sent out to our area zone on the north side of Dublin to start knocking on doors. I remember the first few hours being mindbogglingly bored. On our tally sheet, we were keeping note of every house we knocked on and what the response was: no answer. Answer, but not interested. Pitched, but not still interested. Invited into the house, but didn’t sign up. Invited in, and closed the deal.
Once you put the numbers you had a pattern like this…
  
Doors Knocked 60 Houses
Answered 18 Houses
Pitched 10 Houses
Invited Inside 1 Houses
Sales 0 Contracts
I came in at the end of the day back to the head office where the managing director (at aged 28 he had 8 years of top line sales before going into management) sat me down. “If you could change one number on that list, what would it be?”  I knew I needed to get better at closing and thought to myself “Surely I need to get better at the pitch”. His reply? “Knock on more doors!”
This was the first time I was introduced to the “Law of Averages” or . In essence, the more doors you see the more sales your make. (And before you ask, I’m an engineer and maths guy so let’s just go right ahead and forget that the Law of Averages is not necessarily a mathematically sound system.)
I needed to get to more doors while on my feet which would enable me to have more conversations and more opportunities to close some sales.
There’s what my boss proposed…

Doors Knocked 100 Houses
Answered 35 Houses
Pitched 16 Houses
Invited Inside 6 Houses
Sales 2 Contracts

Looking back over the past few years, myself and Chris have put together a sales process that was broadly broken down to 3 core areas: plan driven, sales driven and activation driven. Let me explain.
 
1. Plan Driven
At our previous startup GetHealth, we knew the potential customers we were talking to we’re going to need documentation to review and share internally before they signed off on any contracts. We mapped this process out on a whiteboard to explore the various touch points with the potential customer, asking ourselves what material we needed to have ready at hand, and also what the handover process was going to lead to a happy customer. We had planned ahead and focused on getting sales materials consisting of one pagers about our product, case studies, implementation guidelines, tutorials, and contracts with payment methods.
  
2. Sales Driven
This step is about finding the people that might be interested in your product/service and clearly presenting your proposition to understand if there is a need. There is no easy way to do complete this step, you need to do the grunt work to find out who your customers are, where they hang out and more importantly how you’re going to get in front of them.
So in my case above, I needed to knock on more doors right? I look back on the wasted time aimlessly standing in front of the door I just knocked to see if someone would answer. Instead, I knocked on the door, waited just 5 seconds to hear any type of shuffle or movement inside the house. Then I turned, and went onto the house right next door. I moved fast, and if I got caught out, I just shouted back to say hello before they closed the door.
  
3. Activation Driven
Here, we’re talking about effective questioning and closing out the sale. Before you pitch, have you asked the right questions to qualify the customer? Is there a clear need that you’re fulfilling? Have they money to spend to solve their problem? Are you handing it over to your customer success team for on-boarding? Are relationships handed over professionally?
  
These are all tough areas of the sales process but I will write on these steps in more detail throughout the year, but you have to be regimented and meticulous about your process and strategy. I encourage you to follow the same process and be ready for your next potential customer who answers the door.