When you are interviewing candidates for a sales role, one of the must ask questions is "What is your sales methodology"? This will illustrate the road map they use and give you some insight into their strategy and tactical approach to developing new business. A natural follow up to this question is to role play. Have the candidate sell you (the prospect) the service or product they currently represent for their company.
There is more than one sales methodology out there and it is likely the attributes that appear to overlap from one person's method to another are those attributes that lead to success. In my experience the following seven steps have lead me to succeed.
1) Valid Business Reason (VBR) - Why should a prospect meet with me? I need to have a valid business reason when I speak to my target live or when leaving a voicemail.
2) Discover - The goal during my initial meeting is to create a profile that discovers what challenge the prospect currently has or what opportunities are coming down the pipeline next quarter.
3) Prospect Solution - What does the ideal solution look like from the prospect's perspective? Learning this will help me identify my prospects expectations.
4) Confirm - Reiterate back to the prospect what my understanding of the challenge or opportunity is and what their solution consists of.
5) Your Solution - My goal is to always share my solution after learning what the prospects solution is. This gives me the chance to emphasize the fit of my solution with my prospects vision. *If there is not a strong match for my company's solution with the prospects challenge, then I would inform my prospect that my solution is not a match for them and suggest they consider another company.
6) Advancement - The advancement should be detailed and include specific steps for implementing a process that unites my solution with my prospects solution. Obtaining as much detail regarding all the people associated with the process and their roles will help ensure thorough communication.
7) Execute - I stay involved in the process of delivering the solution and push to meet all the milestones on time. I also communicate frequently with the prospect and my internal team.