The Dysfunctional Anatomy of a Sale

How dysfunctional is your sales anatomy?

Last week, we covered the proper functional Anatomy of a Sale.    Go back and read or listen to it first to gain a better understanding for this article.  Today, we cover the same 5 systems.  However, we highlight the major symptoms when you have dysfunction in your sales process.  None of us are perfect in our sales process as we are dealing with a lot of moving parts and multiple people to execute what we do.  So, the dysfunction level will fluctuate over the course of your sales career.  See if any of these dysfunctional items sound familiar.

The 5 Systems that make up a healthy sales anatomy


the symptoms of dysfunction:

  • You go into the sales call with very little info on the customer or prospect.
  • No plan once you get on the sales call.  Classic, “Winging it”
  • Too much time spent on small talk.  And using the excuse that, “I don’t try to sell customers.  I just go out and talk with them and get to know them.”  I call this a professional friend problem.  They don’t need more friends.  They need your help.
  • You haven’t segmented your customers or prospects.  So, you spend too much time on smaller customers and too little with larger ones or higher opportunity customers.  The words smaller and larger can mean dollars, units sold, opportunity, or value to your company. 

The Discovery System: Symptoms of a dysfunctional Discovery System:

  • The #1 greatest dysfunction of your Discovery System is that you skip it all together!  You charge into your sales call and spill all the information on your customer about you and your products.  At the end, you have no idea whether or not those products are a fit for this customer.
  • With very little info on the customer or prospect before going to the sales call, you lack focus on what you want to accomplish on the sales call.  Your customer feels like you are rambling and wasting their time.  You feel salesy and avoid solid sales call discussion topics in order to appear friendly versus pushy.
  • You don’t have high value questions written down, which leads you to forget them, which leads to a lack of good information when done with the sales call, which leads to having no reason to return for a second or third sales call.
  • You fail to uncover the customer’s perception of value or diagnose a problem that you can solve.  Again, this leads you to go into the presentation mode of your sales call.

The Performance System: Symptoms of a dysfunctional Performance System:

  • This is rare because most of the time, we are fairly good at presenting on our products.  However, there are some things you might be overlooking.
  • A major symptom of a dysfunction Performance System is going into presentation mode of telling versus providing a solution to this customer’s problem. 
  • An over reliance on charts and data.  They are helpful and necessary, but remember that every competing company has them.  So, you need more.
  • An under reliance on demos, stories, and emotion
  • Your customer is confused as to why they should buy from you.
  • The last symptom is that you struggle to stop presenting on your products and ask for the sale.  You just keep presenting and presenting and throwing more features and benefits on the customer in hopes they buy.

The Closing System Symptoms of a dysfunctional Closing System:

  • The #1 symptom of a dysfunctional Closing System is the sales calls rambles on and on and seems to have no end.
  • When I ask, the salesperson can’t recite the actual words they used when they asked a “closing style” question.  To define a closing style question, it is a yes or no question that requests your customer to take the next step in the buying process.
  • You finally get up the nerve to ask the closing question, but you overtalk during the silence stage and fail to get a yes or a no answer from your customer.
  • You feel that you have no reason to close.
  • You feel that closing is pushy.
  • You fear asking a closing question so much that you use various excuses not to even ask one.
  • When your customer expresses an objection, you don’t know what to say or do. 

The Future System Symptoms of a dysfunctional Future System:

  • You leave a sales call and have no idea when you will return to this customer for a follow up sales call.
  • A lack of pre-call planning allows your sales call to wander all over the place and you end the call with very little accomplished towards your ultimate goal of selling the customer.
  • You feel you need to wait a month or more to return for a follow up because you have no real reason to go back.  Nothing was uncovered during the original sales call that would allow you to go back sooner. 
  • You only follow up or make contact with your customer when you are on their farm or in their business trying to sell them something.  In other words, you don’t network at your customer’s events which would allow you the chance to develop the relationship further.

After reviewing the previous article on the healthy anatomy of a sale and this article on the most common dysfunctions of that anatomy, I hope you have identified several critical areas you can work on to make you more effective as an Ag sales professional.  From there, it’s up to you to seek help.  You might start by going to my blog or podcast tab on my website and searching the topic you need the most help with.  There are over 330 articles and 230 blog recordings on just about every subject on selling in agribusiness. 

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