SI Review: November 2011

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Power Seller

Simply Profitable

Sales practices that can stimulate robust growth and $

By Scott Wintrip

As teenagers, all of us experienced some sort of physical or emotional pain as we grew in mind, body and spirit. I recall how especially painful these growth spurts were in my legs, as though some invisible force was stretching the bones to what felt like the breaking point. Growing pains can feel especially painful in companies as well, and can create added stress, poor job satisfaction, inconsistent customer service, staff burnout and lower employee retention.

Robust growth comes from a structured method of strategies supported by tactical actions that induce growth and expand your bottom line. This type of expansion looks like a piece of uncooked lasagna positioned at a 20-degree upward angle or steeper. There will almost always be small upward and downward trends in revenue and profits, just like the small waves in a piece of lasagna, but the overall trend is upward.

For the past 12 years, organizations large and small have used my Simply Profitable system to create this lasagna-type growth in profitability during good times as well as bad. One California company enjoyed nearly 30 percent annual growth, while its competitors saw 15 percent growth; a Minnesota firm doubled its revenue and profits in less than 10 months.

Being Simply Profitable is just that: employing simple and sustainable strategies that feed your company with quality business that sustains growth and profits. Here I share two key aspects of this approach.

Sell Consultatively

Most salespeople will say they engage in consultative selling but most can’t articulate how they measure the effectiveness of their approach. The reality is consultative selling has become a buzzword that people apply to a sales process that is anything but fully consultative.

To test if your salespeople are engaging in consultative selling, try the following:

1. Have each individual engage their next three prospects in the manner they normally do.
2. Upon developing an understanding of these potential customers, require that they mirror back to the customers what they believe to be their stated business needs.
3. Then, have your salespeople share with these prospects the additional needs they discovered that the prospects were previously unaware of, and how your service will address those hidden needs.

If prospects concur with the recap in step two, this is an indicator of successful order taking. Only when prospective customers acknowledge and buy into the value of the assessment and proposed solution in step three can you claim your sales process to be fully consultative.

You’re not alone if your sales team is missing the mark on step three, as more than two-thirds of companies fall into this category. Take the time to develop a new, consultative sales strategy and equip your team with a process and tactics to enable them to be a consultant to every prospect and customer.

Cut the Chatter

For decades, great lip-service has been given to the idea that we should listen more than talk and that we were given two ears and one mouth as proof. Yet, many spouting this wisdom continue to inundate those around them with voluminous amounts of words.

Being Simply Profitable requires the cessation of damaging practices that restrict the flow of information and hinder the development of business relationships. So, mandate all employees to say little, ask lots of provocative questions and build and deepen their connections with others as a direct result. Not only is this soothing to prospects, it also helps to establish and grow healthy, long-lasting partnerships.

While you’re indulging your appetite for Italian food this evening thanks to my lasagna analogy, take some time to honestly appraise your organization’s growth during the past decade. If you see a lasagnaesque pattern in your profits, explore how you achieved this and which of those practices you’ll employ in the new economy. For those seeing charts swinging up and down with spaghetti-like variations of profitability, take a few extra sips of your Chianti, then, get to work on a SWOT analysis to assess what you need to change.

Scott Wintrip is president of StaffingU and the Wintrip Consulting Group (www.StaffingU.net), which provides consulting, coaching and education to the staffing industry. He can be reached at scott@scottwintrip.com.

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