by Nick Terrenzi
Our topic this month is Certainty, the fourth of the 8 Cs of Selling. Sales certainty includes being able to identify and sell to your most profitable accounts.
This aspect of achieving certainty, believe it or not, traces back to an action called the sales post-mortem, which something that many salespeople fail to do. It’s great that you made that big sale! But do you ever go back and analyze it? Was it profitable? If so, what made it profitable? Where did these buyers come from? What particular group are they part of?
These are all important points to research after the sale. Most people are so excited following a big deal that they never examine factors such as these, and others such as, why were they able to close that deal? What were the key points that caused it to close?
Even going back to your customers and finding out what made them buy, why they purchased that particular product or service, and why they bought it from you, is hugely helpful. You could even determine why they didn’t buy a less-expensive solution.
Based on your postmortem, you can then with certainty identify and choose your most profitable type of prospect.
Real-Life Example
In a workshop recently, I met a guy who had just made the biggest sale of his life. The deal brought the biggest commission and was the most profitable of any he had ever closed. He couldn’t stop talking about it.
This gentleman was, you could say, “stuck” in that sale. He couldn’t take his attention off it—and the reason was that he didn’t fully understand how he had made that sale. He, therefore, couldn’t understand how he could make another like it. Once he realized that his attention was stuck in the past, and we got him to do the post-mortem on that sale, his attention was freed up, and he better understood how he could find and make future great sales.
If you find yourself longing for a feeling you had in the past following a great sale, you’re probably not creating your future. Doing that post-mortem allows you to create that future so you can do even better than you did in the past.
The post-mortem on Unsuccessful Sales
The post-mortem also works in the reverse—doing a post-mortem on the most unprofitable or failed sales. This allows you to isolate all the relevant factors that you don’t want, as well as the ones you do want. This also provides certainty.
A good example of this kind of post-mortem is provided by Lisa. Years back she worked for a software company that had decided to sell their product direct to computer manufacturers, in addition to selling to end-users. The computer manufacturers would then install the software on their computers and sell them with the software pre-installed.
Lisa visited and pitched all the leading hardware manufacturers on this idea, but repeatedly was turned away.
It was a failed set of sales, and Lisa did the smart thing and conducted her own post-mortem on them. She turned to a friend at Microsoft who also dealt with all the hardware manufacturers and told him her story. He asked her what the manufacturers were telling her, and she replied, “They’re not saying anything, because they’re not really talking. But here’s what we think.” He wisely said, “You’ll never find out by thinking. You’re going to have to go in and ask them.”
Realizing her mistake, Lisa ended up returning to the manufacturers and asking about their biggest problems. That caused them to examine Lisa’s products, and how they could benefit hardware. Lisa began forming relationships and ended up making the biggest sales the company had ever seen.
Do you want certainty in your sales? Do that post-mortem!
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