The Top Ten Sales Process Breakdowns

One of our missions is to keep our newsletters upbeat, so here’s an attempt with what can be a difficult message.  In our years of working with sales professionals and their organizations, we’ve noted a number of areas where breakdowns in the sales process are consistent.  Not quite 100% of the time, but it’s almost expected from our vantage point.  We must add, that all of these breakdowns are solvable – there’s the upbeat positive message we’re looking for!


So here goes:

Is there a sales process at all? Success rests on one simple principle; sales can be significantly increased, even assured, by following a systematic process.  We developed a map of repeatable steps.  If you follow this map, sales come in.  The map offers a simple visual of where you are at all times and what needs to happen next.  You can’t skip a step.  Here’s the link to some sales process maps:


What are the predictable, necessary/critical steps from planning your initial prospect contact until after the close? Is there a sales process breakdown that you can correct?

  1. Lack of Goal Setting. Goal-setting is the basic material of the framework. It’s also our compass, our radar, our course-corrector.  We set goals with certain identifiable, essential characteristics – Meaningful, Measurable and Hand Written.  A life’s framework built on the right kind of principles with goals properly handled, has a special property.  Energy becomes available and moves us toward achievement of our goals.  We can’t stop it.

And yet, there is a resistance to setting goals.  This happens so often that we’ve concluded that resistance to goal setting is a natural part of the goal setting process!

  1. Inconsistent activity levels. The mantra is “Maintain a regular practice of outbound contact even when on a plateau (or in a ditch!)”.   This is referring to a regular practice of outbound contacts with prospective accounts.  Try this or some combination that makes sense to you and your team: 10 x 12 (contact 10 prospects by noon); or 20 x 5; ask for 1 referral by 5 each day; or 10 x Friday, etc.

Joyful Perseverance is a really cool attribute to link with this regular practice.

  1. Ouch but hey, I’ve done it as well.  We call it: “Send down more lies to Headquarters!”  Take a regular good look at your numbers and be honest about it.  What are your new business appointment levels, prospect contacts, referrals asked for, key sales related activities? What have your historical standards been? Can you add one more per day, per week? Start from the possible and move towards the impossible.


Take an honest inventory of your active prospects – are they really prospects or suspects or worse?  Let’s face it, that unqualified prospect is blocking you from the qualified prospect.  Are you kidding yourself?  Due to human nature, if your active prospect inventory is low, you will typically kid yourself and send down more lies to HQ. We can promise you that when your pipeline is full, your fear will diminish. This may help:

  1. Incompatible target accounts. Be absolutely clear as to the identity of your target markets, industry segments, target accounts, size, location, quality and lead/referral sources and how to best reach them. Are you aiming at the wrong target?  Are these targets blocking you from your true calling?  What are the characteristics of your ideal client?
  2. Poor energy levels. Work on your body.  The maintenance of a healthy body is not in addition to your job, it is part of your job.  Many of us have lost sight of the fact that we’re very close to our bodies; we really are joined at the hip!  Your body is going to be with you for a long time; well, maybe not!    An appointment for a workout is as important as an appointment with your most important client.  The energy level of the body directly influences our day-to-day work.  Kim Wright Wiley, a contributor to  points out that “energy is a renewable resource …” and that business success is no longer about working to the point of burn out or until you drop out – it is a matter of managing energy.

Add a ¼ mile to your routine, add 10 pushups, add a few pounds to your free weights – start from the possible. How about better diet, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi?  Increased energy is called for.  You know what the most difficult move in Yoga is?? Putting it on your calendar!  Get off that couch, you’re in sales!!

  1. No time off. When was your last real vacation?  How about a retreat?  Sign up for one – look for nutrition, exercise, spirituality and stress management – there is an unlimited supply to choose from.  Set a goal for this!  Block your calendar for these life affirming activities.  It’s quite nice to be able to write about these types of activities at my advancing age.  I overlooked this for a large part of my life – a mistake that I’ve happily corrected.
  2. Distractions a/k/a Goal Diffusion – this is a killer, we will not sugar coat this – it really does kill people. Guard your prospecting time ferociously by managing your calendar: eliminate distracting tasks and avoid distracting people. Make an appointment with yourself for prospecting activities and don’t cancel your appointment!
  3. Not talking about it. For most sales people, this one can be tough. Try it out with a mentor, someone you trust. Why not call Tom Redmond: 732-957-0005. This is what we do all day long every day.
  4. Losing your sense of humor. If you’re in sales and if you’re going to stay in sales, a sense of humor in helpful!

…and lastly, create and give value to your prospects, clients and colleagues.  This will pay great dividends at home as well.

Best wishes are flying your way,

Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
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