Sales employees are a different breed from most of your company. They’re going to be more outgoing and gregarious than office staff or technicians. This is both expected and good, but brings unique challenges when creating processes for the team.

Whether it’s you, a sales manager, an outside firm, or even your lead salesperson, having a solid and standardized sales process is key to avoiding mistakes and maintaining your brand’s trust.


Psychology of Process Creation

One of the truisms I’ve discovered is that sales professionals like to do things their own way. They’re driven more by personal impulse than by structure. This, again, is neither positive nor negative, but must be harnessed correctly for maximum effect.

In practice, this means including the entire team in the creation of a sales process, and allowing for enough flexibility that each member feels as though they can “make the process their own.” If you remove the personality from a sales professional, you lose one of your most valuable assets on the sales team.

This doesn’t mean avoiding structure, though. Where you need structure, you need to be very clear and very firm. There are several reasons for this:

  1. No one is perfect, so they will accidentally skip important steps or information if it’s not built into the process.
  2. You maintain the biggest tenets of your company regardless of who’s running the sales call, which means you protect your company’s name and reputation.
  3. Standardized processes make it easier to train new employees. Building something from scratch with each new hire is tiresome.


Before, During, After, and After-After the Sale

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is when companies have a detailed and excellent sales process up to and through the in-home sales appointment…

…and then the process stops.

In sales, we often talk in terms of a pipeline. A pipeline includes customers in every phase of the journey, and even includes those who decided to go with a competitor.

So what happens one week after a successful sales appointment? Do you have a process in place, maybe a communication that’s sent out to reinforce your messaging? What about when it didn’t sell?

The same question could be asked at 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, or even multiple years after an appointment.

We’ve had people leave us a 5-Star review on Google weeks after a sales appointment, but they didn’t actually choose us. While we’d prefer to get the sale, it means we still made a positive impression, and also were following up with the customer in ways that reinforce that trust.

More to the point, if you do this well, you’ll get more than Google reviews. Your sales rate will increase, because customers will feel appreciated and feel as though you’re engaged actively with them.

This is sort of relating back to a central point of my entire business philosophy: that to succeed, you need to create legitimate value. Regular and thoughtful communications are valuable to customers when they’re making a big decision. And if you’re just going through the motions, it will show. But if you teach and institute value-adding processes, it will reflect well on the integrity of your company as well as your bottom line.


Department Handoffs and Customer Maintenance

The sales process doesn’t end with the sales team, though; it influences your installation and service teams. This seems obvious on the surface. Anything the sales team sells, your installers will install. But beyond this surface-level observation, there are reasons that processes need to be created that make the entire process more smooth.

For instance, are pictures being taken and relayed to installers so that they know what to expect on the day of the installation? Are any special challenges being identified and prepped? Is there regular communication between members of the sales team and the installers who take the handoff? If the answer is no to any of these, I guarantee that you’re creating callbacks for yourself, and also losing time and money due to inefficient installations.

It’s easy to become siloed in companies. In other words, everyone keeps to themselves. But seeing each department as interconnected is key to unlocking the potential of each.


The Right Resources and the Right People

Lastly, your sales team needs support to be the best they can be.

A sales process isn’t only about your sales professionals. It’s about customer service representatives who are taking calls and booking appointments, as well as doing follow-ups.

It’s also about your marketing team (or marketing partners, for companies without an in-house marketing presence). Is the pitchbook for your sales team as professional and thorough as it could be? Is everyone using the same one? Are educational brochures and handouts available, either physically or digitally, depending on your preferred method? If not, whose responsibility is it to make them and order them? Processes for your service technicians also feed into this as well, since you should have a steady pipeline of sales leads from those techs.

The sales team’s success is tied to each of these other groups. To ignore one or all of them and expect the charisma of a salesperson to carry them through these challenges is to expect failure.

If the basics of the entire process can’t be easily explained to a non-HVAC friend, and can’t fit on a single page of bullet points, it’s too complicated. Simplify, streamline, and focus, and you’ll be able to create a successful and sustainably successful company.