Nutritional Blast: The Action Selling Process

Preface: Global Interconnect, Inc. is a leading medical device and high-end industrial/commercial manufacturer for the world’s largest OEMs, where customized solutions become critical connections. Every week a different member of the GII team writes and produces a “Nutritional Blast” touching on topics related to the world of business, business culture, and industry specific ideas and information in an effort to share knowledge and educate one another. We believe sharing these ideas will generate a more interesting and inspiring conversation!

By Kyle Kruse, VP of Product Solutions 
About 6 months ago I received a free book in the mail called “The New Action Selling.” It was mailed to me from a sales consulting group. Naturally, I threw it in my desk drawer and said “maybe I’ll give this hocus pocus sales book a chance someday but not today.” Well, on a recent trip to California, I threw the book in my carry-on and said “here’s your chance book! You’ve got 5 hours to prove yourself!” It only took 10 minutes to get hooked and here I am today about to reference it in my nutritional blast.

You see, everyone is in sales. Everyone is selling their company, products and services whether you realize it or not. Your customers are buying you and then they are buying GII. What I am sharing with you today is the 9-step action selling process. I challenge everyone to find ways that they can relate to this process. After all, it’s a type of “process” so all of you quality engineers should eat this up! 😉 …If anything, you all will have an idea of what it takes from the New Business Development Team to close business.

The Action Selling Process:

1.) Commitment Objective: This is a goal that we set for ourselves to gain agreement from the customer that moves the sales process forward. No matter what type of call you are making to the customer, you need to have a commitment objective. It’s important that you don’t call a customer or prospect to “touch base.” Having a commitment objection will action prove to the customer that you are not here to waste their time and it can shave 25% off the sales cycle. PLAN TO WIN!
2.) People Skills: You need to sell yourself first. People are going to buy YOU before they buy the company or product/services. Have a smile on your face when you make the call. It will change your tone and the person taking your call will know that you’re happy. Be interested in the person that you’re calling. Leverage “Google News” to quickly learn about recent successes at their company or any current events (not politically related) that’s going on near them. This is going to show that you’re genuinely interested in THEM and that you have a “positive” and “happy” mindset. Remember: To gain a $100,000 commitment, you need a $100,000 relationship.
3.) Ask The Best Questions: This can easily be the most challenging part of the action selling process. Asking the best questions will help you learn their true needs or pain points so that you can deliver the perfect solution to meet their needs. Try the “Questions Funnel:” Broad Needs > Specific Needs > Leverage Questions = High-Yield Needs. Here’s an example that I came up with on the plane:

– Broad Needs: Q. What types of challenges, if any, are you having with your custom cable assemblies or supplier today? A. Well Kyle, we’ve been noticing that our cable is experiencing shorts after only a year in the field.
– Specific Needs: Q. Do you know what’s been causing the shorts and, in your eyes, what is it that you need right now to fix this problem? A. It’s happening where the cable meets the hand-piece and we think it has to do with the bend radius and lack of support from the strain relief.
– Leverage Question: A. What are the consequences to your company and to you personally if the problem isn’t solved and the current situation drags on? A. That’s easy, if we don’t fix this problem soon then our product reputation will deteriorate and we’ll be flooded with returns and lost revenue. If that happens, then I, personally, will be looking for the nearest exit door.

The “Questions Funnel” helps you identify the problem, the need and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, it identifies the urgency to fix the problem as soon as possible. That’s the “High-Yield Need.” The goal is to discover as many high-yield needs as possible.

4.) Agree On Need: short and sweet here. “As I understand it, you are looking for… (insert need). Is that correct?” To play off my mock conversation above, I might say: ““As I understand it, you are looking for a cable and strain relief solution that will fix your shorting issues so that you don’t have to look for the nearest exit sign!”

5.) Sell The Company: This is where the sales person does the talking and this is when you need to sell the company. What does GII do and what is GII known for? The response should be in line with your elevator pitch and it should be relatable to the customer. Are we a good match and why? This is a good time to share relatable success stories about GII’s achievements in helping OEM’s solve similar problems.
6.) Sell The Product: Salespeople are trained to think that two-thirds of their selling takes place during Step 6. In “Action Selling” two-thirds of selling occurs during Step 3. During Step 6, repeat the TFBR process for each need. Save the most important for last.

– Tie-back: Connect to an agreed upon need.
– Feature: What is it?
– Benefit: What will it do for the customer?
– Reaction: How does the customer perceive this as a solution?

To complete Step 6, there is one last “close-ended” question. You ask the custom “Do you have any Questions?” If YES then you go back to Step 3. If NO then it might be time to talk price and move to…

7.) Ask For Commitment: 62% of salespeople don’t close. The three reasons why they don’t close: 1.) No Plan 2.) No Procedure 3.) Missed Opportunities. Here are three simple steps to follow when asking for a commitment:

1.) Summarize – Features and Quoted Price.
2.) Ask – “How does that sound?” If NEGATIVE then return to Step 3! If POSITIVE…
3.) Ask – “Would you like to go ahead with this?”

A major piece to Step 7 is handling stalls and objections. Please contact me or borrow my book to learn more about these situations.

8.) Confirm The Sale: This is where you fight the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)…AKA BUYERS REMORSE. Here are three steps to confirm the sale.

1.) Assure – “Gary, I know from experience that you’re going to be very happy with our cable assemblies and expertise.”
2.) Appreciate – “Thank you for your confidence in us, Gary. I really appreciate the business.”
3.) Future Event – Schedule a future event for the customer to focus on – something to replace his worry and fretting over the money he just spent: In GII’s case, providing a project timeline has been a great way to provide visibility of our “future events.”

9.) Replay The Call: The best way to replay a call is to go over each step and determine what worked and what you could have done better. You always learn something new! PROFESSIONAL GROWTH.

Recap: There are FIVE buying decisions that the customer is making during The Action Selling Process.

1.) Steps 1 through 4: They are buying the SALESPERSON
2.) Step 5: They are buying the COMPANY
3.) Step 6: They are buying the PRODUCT
4.) Step 7: They are deciding on PRICE
5.) Step 8: They are deciding if it’s TIME TO BUY

Below is a chart for everyone to reference and feel free to hang it up in your workstation. I’m interested in your feedback and I’m happy to answer any questions or share my book with you upon request.

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HAPPY SELLING!

About Global Interconnect: GII is a team of engineers providing custom cable and wire solutions based outside of Boston, MA. Founded in 1995 GII has consistent revenue growth supporting some of the world’s leading medical device and high-end industrial companies. You can learn more about our products and solutions by contacting Colin Angle, Digital Marketing Manager, at (508) 563-6306 EXT 122 or by going to our new website: www.GlobalInterconnect.com.