In yesterday’s post we discussed how small incremental changes often go unnoticed until we have drifted very far from what made us successful in the first place.

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Today, let’s focus on how we can notice these small changes in our sales process and how to avoid the pitfalls that can occur.

I am going to give you a simple “Sales Process Formula.”

“Activity  X  Skill Set  = Sales Results”

This formula is simple and works like any math equation with a set of variables.  For example, when a novice sales person begins their career they will normally have an under-developed skill set.  Even with the very best in training, the simple truth is that their skill set will not fully develop until they have had enough time to apply their new skills in live selling situations.

However, that novice may still generate significant sales results by increasing their activity level.

But there is more to the equation than just activity and skill set.  This is a “Sales Process Formula.”  As part of that formula – don’t just ask “How many?”  Don’t just ask, “How skillful”?  Add the specifics of what activities and what skills to the equation.  When you do, you will understand your sales process.

Over the years, I have seen sales people who were having slumps – even though their activity level was adequate.  And since they had achieved previous success I knew that their skill set was adequate.

The reason for their sales slump was because their process had drifted.  The changes were not big.  They were those small – and seemingly insignificant variations to their process.  But those changes yielded lower results.  They had begun to take shortcuts.  They had changed what they were saying.  They hadn’t even realized that they had made changes – until they were headlong into a sales slump.[lightbox link=”” thumb=”” width=”300″ align=”right” title=”adrift” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]

Avoid sales slumps by doing a few simple things right.

Have a Written Step-by-Step Sales Process: 

Most companies already have a sales process that is easy to follow and works effectively.  It details the specific activities and skills that produce success for most of their people – along with the minimum activity levels you should follow.  If your company does not have such a detailed process, or if you are an entrepreneur growing your business – you should put your detailed process in writing.  Include scripting, specific activities and quantities of contacts etc.  Seek the advice of a trusted mentor or sales trainer if needed.

Record Yourself When Everything is Working Well:

We all have times when it seems that everything is just working great.  Record yourself during those times.  That recording will be valuable in documenting your best practices.

Always Track Your Activity and Results:

Subtle changes in your results ratios will be your first indicator that your process may have drifted.  Pay attention.

Tweak Processes Slowly:

If you decide a change in process is needed, tweak an area and monitor the results.  Drastic changes in process will usually bring on drastic changes in results – and not always good changes.

Go Back and Review:

When results are trending down – go back and listen to your earlier recordings that you made when things were working well.  Take note of what you may have changed without even realizing you had done so.

Taking note of subtle drifting – and then knowing how to change the course will add years to your career and $$$ to your bank account.

QUESTION: At your most effective, how does your process differ from what you did last week?