A Simple 5-Step Sales Process: Win with It!
The sales process makes or breaks the sale. What is more important to the client you are selling to – your sales success history with other clients you have helped in the past or the success that is possible for that client in the present?
A Customer Focused Sales Process Format
It is an easy answer, isn’t it? The latter – clearly. So now, I ask you: When you are selling, is it about you or your client? This post is about framing your sales pitch – strategically, successfully, and selflessly. To put it simply, your sales pitch should mirror the process customers experience as they aim to fill a need.
- Learning & Analysis
If you think of your sales as a five-step process, you can incorporate the above in truly relevant ways.
The Sales Process: Step 1 & 2
First and foremost, is your client initiating the conversation or do you have five minutes to convince him why this conversation is important? Often, you will be the one pursuing the sale. So, let us start there. Identify something about your offer that may be interesting to your client – personally or professionally.
You might be surprised to know that clients are easily engaged when the “interest” you pinpoint applies to their personal lives. People are “whole” individuals – and most of the time, if you peak their personal interest, you will have a more fluid conversation around their professional needs (step #2). However, I think it is essential to mention how important it is that you draw a boundary. Always know where the line lies between engaging the client professionally and personally. You do not want to be so casual or informal that you are perceived as unprofessional. This first step to the sales process sets the tone for the relationship.
If you do step #1 well, the discussion should naturally move in the direction of the client’s needs. The more you know what the client needs, the more you can sell the client the right thing. An unfortunate mistake that many sales professionals make is to sell clients the most expensive product or service. The reason this is the wrong place to begin is because it is completely discrediting the clients’ real needs and gives them little reason to trust you and come to you in the future. Build trust, establish a relationship, and identify the clients’ real needs. This way, even if you do not secure a sale, they will have valid reason to return to you when the right need arises next time around.
The Sales Process: Step 3-5
The learning and analysis stage of the sales process is your opportunity to educate the client. You will want to explain the value of your offer, the benefits your client will receive, and the alternatives that are available. As a sales professional, you will want to mention your competitors. You do this so that you do not ignorantly imply they do not exist. However, you will want to strategically discuss the competition. Again, it is about explaining to your client why your services or products better fits her needs and why.
Although the evaluation stage is usually an inner dialogue that happens for the client, you will want to be supportive of this stage from afar. The best way to do this is to clearly communicate that you understand the difficult decision they face. In addition, that you want to do your best to answer any questions that may assist them during the decision-making process. Your goal involves sending the message that you are there to help them not pressure them. Therefore, they will look to you as a partner in the process – instead of viewing you as a one-sided bystander.
And finally, the decision stage of the sales process is where they either accept your sale and commit to your offer, or they decline. Although it may be tempting to take their rejection personally, do not. If they do not want what you are selling, sincerely maintain curiosity, so that you can explore why they have opted out. The more you can understand their rationale, the better you can understand their needs. This benefits you and them in the future. If you react irrationally, you risk losing the relationship and their respect.
Pulling It All Together
It is not always easy to think of a sales pitch as a step-by-step process, but it can be a useful framework when you are in a pinch or new to the game.
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