Successful Sales Process
- Successful Sales Process
In this article, first we will look at the basics of a successful sales process. Understanding this process is an essential sales skill that can yield great improvements for you.
The sales process is how customers and potential customers end up as current or previous customers.
Successful selling is a repeatable process that makes the customer feel comfortable through each step. If you are having problems selling then this analysis of the sales process may help you identify your weaknesses and strengths.
1. Preparation: Know your customer and your self
The first step of a successful sales interaction is to know your customer and know your product or service. You need to know what is the pain point that your product or service is solving. Who feels this pain point most strongly? Is it men? women? both? what age demographic? What income level? hat are all the defining characteristics of your most urgent customers? What are their concerns? What is their current solution? How is your better? What are the inherent weaknesses within your solution? What are the obstacles preventing your customers from buying from you already? How do you plan to overcome that? How are you different from others in the market?
You must be able to answer all of these questions and more if you want to be successful. The more preparation you do the better off you will be. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and see your product or service from their eyes. This preparation will help you determine who are your easiest customers and how you should market to them.
A useful tip here: It is better to spend extra time to identify and locate your easiest customers rather than try to sell to people who don't really need your product or service. If you can go straight to the group of customers who are ready and willing to buy your product you will have much more success than if you try to persuade those who are only mildly interested in your product or service.
2. Lead Generation
Once you have identified your easiest customers and your strongest selling points, now you need to generate leads. You have to have a concentrated way of reaching your easiest customers. This will vary greatly for each business and industry. This can be from marketing activities like demonstrations, email lists, website visits, networking at cocktail parties, word of mouth or any other activity.
This should be constant and automated as much as possible so that you have a constant generation of leads. It is a common mistake to ignore this step until it is too late. This should be a process running in the background of your operation to keep you with a steady supply of leads without interfering with service / product delivery.
3. Qualify Leads
This is another very important step that is too often overlooked or mishandled.
To qualify a lead means to make sure that this prospect is a good potential customer for you. For example if you are selling home improvement products, do not waste your time talking to someone who is not the homeowner. You can have a great and wonderful long conversation and it feels like you are making progress and then you find out this person does not need what you are selling.
Identify who your potential customers are, and identify who your potential customers are not. Create an easy, reliable and friendly way to distinguish from your potential customers and those people who are not potential customers.
Make this a priority at the beginning of the conversations so that you do not waste each other's time. Make sure it is friendly and intelligent, you do not want to be rude to people just because you can not help them today. This step is applying a combination of step one and step 2. You should know who you want to talk to, and then you must talk to lots of people, then you should filter out people who you cannot serve.
The qualifying process begins by asking questions and listening to your potential customer. Start by identifying their needs. Ask questions and listen to their answers. They will tell you exactly what they are looking for if you listen carefully.
If you can not help them then don't waste both of your time. If you can help them, listen carefully to what they are saying because this is the point where each customer becomes a unique individual. You have to now speak directly to their particular psyche, so LISTEN!
For most people, peace of mind is a major concern although they probably won't say that directly. Listen carefully and you may start to hear it implied in what they are saying. Price might be a major concern for them, while for others price is not their deciding factor - although almost no one will say this directly because everyone wants to feel like they have gotten a good deal.
Listen very carefully and ask questions and pay attention to what your customer says and does and how they say things.
4. Demonstrate Value
Now that you have identified a potential customer, and you have listened to their problems and concerns, its time to demonstrate value for them.
Respond to their needs and wants. Do not try to sell your product by describing the product, sell the product by describing how their problems are solved with this product. Sell the SOLUTION to their problem which happens to be this product. Help them to visualize what their life will be like with this product.
Don't describe the warranty, describe the peace of mind that the warranty brings.
Communicate with excitement, enthusiasm and energy. Be authentic and genuine.
Read my blog on essential Sales Skills.
This is the part of the sales process where the most problems occur.
At this point you are dealing with a customer who needs what you are selling, you have identified their needs and demonstrated how you can fill those needs. But the exchange of money is the most difficult part of the sales process.
This is where your customer will start to feel hesitant. They will start to bring up problems that they did not mention before. They will reason that this problem is not important, or their need is not as urgent as previously thought. They will bring up many objections, and most often their words are masking the real problem.
To be a good salesperson through this process you need to be able to hear the real objection beyond the surface.
In general, the customer will start to feel preemptive buyers remorse. Now they are actually imagining the money leave their hands and it scares them. They think of all the things they can do with this money and they know that most likely when it is out of their hands it is not coming back.
You must continue to demonstrate the value and continue to create a vision of peace of mind for the customer. It is very important the you do not appear as needy or greedy. You must be willing to lose the customer, this gives you power over the conversation. If you appear desperate you will lose every time. So do your best to appear calm, confident and in control. Create a sense of urgency in the customer, let them know gently that this is a limited time offer or that supplies are limited.
6. Delivering Value
This is the step where the customer receives the product or service that they paid for. It should be in accordance with the sales agreement and expectations of the customer.
Go overboard because this step of the sales process is the best marketing tool you have. It is several times cheaper to keep customers compared to finding new ones. A happy and satisfied customer is your best advertisement. You can get repeat business from them and you can also get great referrals from them, so never take this step lightly.
7. After Sales
It is a great idea to keep a relationship with existing and previous customers. Give them a call sometimes if its appropriate, send an email or Christmas card or Happy New Year message. If there are any problems do your best to solve them. Show genuine interest and compassion. Think of previous customers as friends and your business will succeed.