Waking up it’s obvious Ideal Selling doesn’t exist. You’re never going to experience it, not even once. But what a point of comparison! Imagine what you’d learn by comparing your current selling to Ideal Selling? You might:
- See the traps you’d fallen into
- Identify areas to improve
- Shake yourself to change things
The Perfect 10 of Ideal Selling
Ideal Selling is the picture of perfection that covers how sellers operate, what they do, when and how. It also describes how buyers ideally interact with sellers, not just for one sale, but for all selling at all times and in all situations. It’s an aspirational vision that each sales rep has, but may not know they possess.
There are attributes that describe what Ideal Selling would look like in general. Below are the 10 I’ve identified and their order of importance.
Where Do You Rate?
How do you rate against the Perfect 10 of Ideal Selling? Try it. Rate yourself on the 10 attributes below using a 1 to 5 agreement rating, where:
- 5 = strongly agree
- 4 = agree
- 3 = neither agree nor disagree
- 2 = disagree
- 1 = strongly disagree
Total your score, and then if you’re brave enough, view your standing at the bottom of this post (well, my interpretation anyway).
#1 A Perpetual Stream of New Sales
This means you have an established system for selling that provides an ongoing stream of new sales that continues far into the future. (a system can include procedures, technologies, processes, materials, etc.)
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #1 - I have a perpetual stream of new sales.
[This is what every business strives for, the reason a sales function exists. However, sales reps, departments and businesses with perpetual streams of new sales are rare.]
#2 New Sales are Reliably Predictable
Ideal Selling has an extremely high degree of certainty that your selling system will continue to deliver. There are no dry patches or surprise hiccups to sales .
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #2 - New sales are 99% guaranteed to continue in.
[Sales certainty is loved by owners and senior execs, providing internal funding for expansions, improvements and higher compensation.]
#3 You’re Winning Sales at a Steady Rate
Here your new sales come online at an even, steady pace, quarter by quarter, year after year – rather than all at once followed by a sales drought.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #3 - New sales are secured at a constant, steady rate.
[A steady rate smooths operational on-boarding and minimizes selling errors while working on the next one in the sales pipeline.]
#4 Buyers Contact You
A sales rep favorite fantasy, Ideal Selling has the buyers seeking sellers – not the other way around. Sellers no longer have to cold call, or leave voice-mails that were never going to be returned, or get snubbed by receptionists when dropping in on a buyer without an appointment.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #4 - Buyers come to me, I don't go to them.
[This is minimal effort selling that translates into higher sales volume as reps now only handle the end of the buying cycle, freed from having to reach buyers.]
#5 Buyers are Ready to Buy Now
Just like it sounds, sellers talking to buyers who are ready now. When buyers have budget, authority, a clear need and a time-line they are ready to buy (think of the selling acronym BANT).
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #5 - Buyers are ready to buy when they talk to me.
[Complex sales can take time, but here time can be better used in relationship building, discovery and moving through buyers’ purchasing processes.]
#6 Buyers are Pre-Sold on You
Here buyers see the seller’s firm as the leading solution to solving their pains and achieving their goals. Buyers won’t see the seller as the only solution, but the best one, which is a realistic position for a complex sale.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #6 - Buyers see me as their best solution.
[Sellers who are pre-sold to buyers are far ahead of the competition, and in a better position to create a more compelling and persuasive solution.]
#7 Good Fit between Buyers & Your Offering
Good fit here means when buyers are seeking the exact services you are extremely good at – you’re sweet spot. They’re pre-qualifying themselves to align with your service offer, business beliefs, values, culture, and sales process.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #7 - Buyers are looking exactly for my strengths.
[It’s a beautiful thing when buyers self-select to align with your strengths – it’s a match made in heaven.]
#8 Good Mix of Buyers’ Business for You
Diversity is the key here. Sellers want a healthy variety of different sized contracts and industries served. This avoids having most sales from only a few customers in the same industry – say “no” to all sales eggs in one basket.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #8 - I have many buyers in a diverse mix of industries.
[Sales reps are kept engaged when learning how to solve buyers’ challenges in wide variety of industries.]
#9 Your Buyers are Good Customers
Buyers are customers and customers are people too. They can make your life frighteningly painful and worrisome in the selling and servicing. On the other hand, work becomes a lot more fun when they become personal friends.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #9 - I like and respect the people I sell to.
[Sellers spend a lot of time at work – why not work with buyers you like personally and can socialize with outside of work?]
#10 You Love your Work
Sellers spend most of their awake time working. Hopefully, selling is more than an onerous task to be endured.
RATE YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THIS STATEMENT (1-5): #10 - I love selling.
[Ideal Selling is about retiring the word “retire” from one’s personal vocabulary, not out of financial need, but because it’s unimaginable. Selling is too much fun to stop. You couldn’t think of what else to do and don’t want to stop working with people you enjoy, or making good things happen in the world.]
You & the Perfect 10 of Ideal Selling
Add up all your ratings and total them. What’s your score? The following are my interpretations of this self-assessment to a mythical ideal.
41 and above: You have attained sales enlightenment and are generously kind to dwell with the rest of us sales mortals.
31 – 40: You are an über sales guru and I worship at your feet.
21 – 30: You are a decent and honest human being – more so than many of those rating themselves higher than you.
20 and below: You have boat loads of opportunities ahead of you – they’re yours for the taking.