Years ago as an impressionable young boy, I was traveling with my father on a road trip through the beautiful mountains and valleys of Utah.
Spending time with my father was a cherished experience of excitement, adventure and subtle learning of life’s lessons. On this particular day, we passed the rotting wood skeleton of a house that was framed, but remained unfinished for what appeared to be many years. My father brought the car to a gentle stop and then reversed the gears and again approached the wretched remains of what might have been a beautiful house, if only it had been completed. Then, with the love of a caring father, he used the half finished structure as an analogy of life’s lessons to be taught. “Never begin a journey or a project without the sure commitment to complete it”, he said. “The world is full of incomplete dreams and promises. If you are going to start something, be resolute in your resolve to finish it. Time and fortunes are wasted in efforts not fulfilled.”
That experience has profoundly influenced my life, as I’m sure my father hoped it would. As I reflect upon that lesson learned so many years ago, I would like to use the analogy of a job half done in the context of sales. I have taught for years that selling is a process, not an event. The closing of a sale is the result of following and completing each step of the process. The major steps of the sales process consist of finding, presenting, romancing and closing. There are certainly sub steps and variations to the process, but it is a process nevertheless. Each step leads to the next step and any step not engaged or completed will frustrate the desired result.
One of the major reasons for reduced sales is the lack of follow-up, or what I refer to as romancing the sale. Every salesperson should understand the importance of romancing their sales, but they fail due to their lack of understanding the correct application of methods and timing. Most salespeople follow-up by contacting the prospect and asking “Do you have any questions?” Followed by the inevitable, “Have you made up your mind yet?” After receiving negative responses on both counts and feeling the aggravation from the prospect for asking those questions, the salesperson accepts the default position of waiting for the prospect to contact them if they are interested.
Not romancing the sale is paramount to framing a house and not completing it. Finding and presenting are only the beginning of the sales process. The most important phase is romancing. This is where you cement the relationship and provide the necessary information to allow them to comfortably make the correct decision. You need to be with them as they consider the features and benefits of choosing one solution over another. Don’t leave the decision to buy, in their hands, without your support. The buyer will often make the wrong decision in the absence of your honest and candid advice. If you are going to spend the time to prospect and present, don’t leave the sales process half finished by not romancing the sale. The world of selling is replete with the wasted efforts of sales left rotting, because salespeople didn’t complete the process they started. Romancing the sale is the difference between sales success and mediocrity.