What are the 3 steps in the sales process?
There is a lot to know about how and when you should sell your product or service, what techniques work best for each situation, etc. I've been selling for over 20 years so I'm going to simplify it into easy-to-follow bullets that anyone can understand. Just follow along with me...
The most important thing every business owner needs to do is write down their goals and objectives. This will help you determine where you want to go, as well as what kind of products/services you need to market and promote. Once this has happened, then we'll be able to develop an effective marketing plan.
After developing our marketing plan, there are several different ways to get started on promoting ourselves and our company. We have advertising campaigns (print ads, radio spots), direct mail pieces, trade shows, public relations, networking events, social media, newsletters, website content, etc. All these things cost money though, which means they require us to generate leads before spending any cash! So, let's start by looking at some of the more popular ways people find out about new businesses nowadays.
How does someone learn about your business without ever meeting you personally? Well, here are the top 3 ways:
Word of mouth - A customer tells another person about your business and the other person asks them if you're still open. People love talking about good experiences they had with others. If you provide great service, word gets around very quickly.
Direct Mail - When customers send letters describing what they like about working with you, those letters often end up getting forwarded to friends who might become clients later. And don't forget about postcards! They're cheap and they actually make sense because they can contain information that's specific only to your business.
Online Marketing & Social Media - The internet contains many websites that allow users to leave reviews and commentaries about companies they've worked with. Word travels much faster online than it would through traditional methods. Think about all the times you've heard something bad from a friend about a restaurant but not anything positive. How did you hear about that place anyway? Chances are your friend saw one of its negative reviews posted somewhere online.
Let's now look at the first step in the sales process. It's called "lead generation". Lead Generation simply refers to activities done by individuals to acquire prospects (potential buyers) for your business. Many lead generators include both offline and online activities. Here are just a few examples.
In Person Visits
Social Media Posts
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Most small business owners believe that generating leads requires lots of time spent behind a desk or making cold calls. However, technology has allowed us to automate many tasks so we no longer have to spend hours trying to reach potential customers. Instead, we use software programs such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, Constant Contact, etc., that allows us to track visitors' behaviors and habits. For example, we can see which pages were read or clicked based upon certain keywords, which links brought traffic to our site, which demographics visited our page, etc. Then we adjust accordingly to improve future lead generations.
We also utilize social media channels to increase exposure. These tools allow us to interact directly with prospective clientele. Through various applications, we can schedule posts, monitor engagement levels, keep tabs on competitors, create contests, respond to comments, and even offer incentives such as free services and discounts.
As you can tell from above, there are plenty of options available to assist you in reaching your target audience. Nowadays, the key is finding out which ones produce results better than the rest. But remember, you must always stay focused on providing excellent service while simultaneously helping people solve problems. Don't worry about being perfect right away, just take action and grow from mistakes.
So now let's move onto the second step in the sales process.
Step 2: Qualifying Prospects
This part involves determining whether a prospect meets your criteria for purchase. There are two main parts of qualifying prospects: First, checking to see if they meet your requirements. Second, deciding if they fit within your budget. Let's break down each area separately.
First, you must decide exactly what you want to achieve with your sale. Do you want to sell a single item? Or maybe you'd rather focus on creating a long-term relationship with your buyer. Maybe you want to build multiple streams of income. Whatever the case may be, you must identify your goals early on. What makes your ideal client unique? Why should he buy from you instead of his neighbor? Keep asking yourself why until you figure out the answer.
Now that you've determined your goal(s), you must begin researching your targeted customer base. Find out everything you possibly can about your prospective customers. Look at their purchasing history, compare notes with current employees, check out forums, blogs, and review sites, search online databases, talk to family members, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Any way possible to gather relevant data will prove useful later on.
Once you've gathered enough information, you must organize and present it to your prospects. Make sure you speak clearly and slowly, enunciate words, pause between sentences, avoid slang, say numbers aloud, stand straight and tall, dress appropriately, smile frequently, and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. These simple tips will ensure that your presentation goes smoothly.
Also, after presenting your product or service, ask questions to test interest level. Ask probing questions in order to assess willingness-of-purchase. Some helpful questions to consider using are: Are you currently satisfied with your current vendor? Is your experience satisfactory? Have you considered similar alternatives? Would you recommend my solution to a colleague?
If you feel that you've established strong rapport with your prospect, chances are high that they will eventually agree to buy whatever you're offering. Remember to never pressure anyone. Give them ample amount of time to think about your proposal. Also, try to anticipate objections and prepare responses ahead of time. After all, nothing happens overnight, so give your potential client room to breathe and relax.
Finally, we come to the last step in the sales process, closing the deal. Closing the deal simply refers to bringing together the parties involved in the transaction to finalize the agreement. Depending on your industry, this could involve having lawyers draw up papers, taking measurements, setting deadlines, sending contracts, signing agreements, exchanging items, receiving payment, etc.
Regardless of the specifics, there are usually 4 main stages involved in closing the deal. Each stage consists of numerous actions, and each one is equally as important as the next towards achieving success.
Stage 1 - Discovery Stage: During discovery, you establish trust with your prospect by doing everything humanly possible to show them that you truly care about solving their problem(s). Be professional yet friendly. Listen carefully and repeat back to prospects what they said about themselves, their circumstances, and their expectations. Show genuine concern for their wants and needs. Try to empathize with them. Be willing to share personal stories. Finally, remain patient and persistent. Never rush through this stage.
In addition to listening, you should also watch body language closely, including posture, gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc. As mentioned earlier, pay attention to detail. Use proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and vocabulary. Avoid profanity, vulgarity, sarcasm, idioms, double negatives, ambiguous phrases, vague statements, clichés, repetition, loud noises, excessive laughter, crying, nervousness, slangs, swearing, yelling, finger pointing, hand waving, interruptions, etc.
Stage 2 - Building Rapport: At this point, you will continue building rapport with your prospects by showing respect toward them during meetings, telephone conversations, emails, texts, and social media interactions. Always treat everyone with dignity and courtesy regardless of status. Share common interests and values. Treat everyone with equal consideration. Be honest and upfront with your intentions. Deliver quality service daily. Provide accurate information regarding fees, timelines, deliverables, and outcomes. Stay calm under stress. Take responsibility whenever possible.
Stage 3 - Presentation: At the third stage, you will further strengthen your bond with your prospects by sharing more details about your offerings. Explain benefits, features, pros, cons, etc., with clarity and thoroughness. Speak confidently. Talk in terms of solutions vs. complaints. Focus on benefits. Emphasize strengths. Eliminate weaknesses. State facts and figures objectively. Answer questions honestly. Get feedback from prospects. Practice speaking in front of a mirror. Dress professionally. Smile frequently. Stand erect. Maintain eye contact. Bring charts, graphs, photos, quotes, diagrams, pictures, videos, testimonials, brochures, flyers, etc., wherever appropriate.
If you're a sales professional or manager, this article will help show you what you need to do to get your team up and running with effective sales skills. With some practice and training, every member on your sales team can be an expert at closing deals! Here's how it works...
The first thing that needs to happen before any sale occurs is finding out if someone wants to buy something from you. If they don't want anything from you right now, then there won't ever be a sale -- so you have one job only. And that's to find people who ARE interested in buying things from YOU. It all starts with marketing. The best way to start building relationships with potential buyers is by developing a solid network of referrals. This means creating compelling copy for your lead capture page(s) and writing articles for publication online (and offline). These efforts should generate leads looking for solutions like yours.
Once those prospects become qualified leads, you'll send them emails to see if they'd like more information about what you offer. A good rule of thumb is to send two pieces of content per email. One piece offers free news updates related to whatever topic the prospect has expressed interest in hearing about. In addition, include a link back to your website where they can learn more about what you offer. When they click through the link, make sure the site doesn't look amateurish - no broken images, bad design, etc. Make sure everything loads quickly as well. As soon as they arrive on your site, try offering additional value such as e-books, white papers, reports, webinars, teleseminars, newsletters, case studies, etc., based upon their interests.
This helps build trust and credibility because you've shown yourself to be knowledgeable within your field while also providing extra value that makes sense for both parties involved. Once you establish rapport, you can begin discussing whether or not they would benefit from working together. To close, you must determine exactly what benefits they stand to gain from partnering with you. Do they know anyone else who could use your services? How much time does it take away from them to travel between clients' offices? What kind of guarantee can you provide? Will they receive ongoing support after they work with you once or twice? Are they comfortable sharing feedback with others? Is there another service provider that provides similar products/services? All of these questions go into determining which opportunities you pursue further.
To give you even greater insight into the sales process, let me share a few tips I learned along the way. The following three steps are critical when getting started with growing your business.
What is the third step in the five step sales process?
Step #1: Qualify Prospects
Step #2: Present Solution
Step #3: Close Deal
Let's break down each step a little bit deeper...
Qualifying Prospects = Identifying Who They Really Want
In my opinion, this is the most important part of the entire process. After identifying qualified prospects, you can present your solution to them. But remember, you may already know a great deal about what they really need. So why waste valuable resources trying to teach them what they already know? Instead, focus your energies on helping them discover new possibilities and alternatives. By doing this, they'll ask themselves "what other options exist besides our current supplier?" Then you can present your solution and explain what differentiates you from everyone else. For example, perhaps you specialize in cutting edge technologies that can improve efficiency without adding cost. Or maybe you're known for being extremely personable since you understand people better than anyone else. Perhaps you're just known for having exceptional customer service. Whatever your unique strengths are, leverage them to differentiate yourself from competitors.
Present Solution = Showing Value & Demonstrating Benefits
When presenting your solution to prospective customers, always keep them focused on the results they can expect from working with you rather than focusing on features or specs. People love results, so tell them what type of result they can expect. Explain clearly what happens next and what success looks like. Focus on outcomes instead of processes. Also, never talk price until later in the conversation. Don't worry about competing against other suppliers. Just think about what you can bring to the table that none of your competition can.
Close Deals = Making Them Feel Comfortable
Before leaving, make sure to ensure that your client feels completely satisfied with the experience. Ask them open ended questions designed to draw out their true feelings regarding their overall satisfaction with your product or service. Find ways to address concerns and objections upfront so that you leave behind happy clients.
Now here's the big question many marketers struggle with: "How long does it actually take to sell something"? Well, unfortunately there isn't a specific amount of time required to complete each stage of the sales process. However, there are certain key milestones that often occur during each phase. Below is a list of typical stages that typically occur throughout the sales cycle. Use this guideline to set goals for improving productivity and performance.
Stage 1 - Lead Generation
Timeframe: 2 weeks or less
Typically takes 2 weeks or less to qualify a lead by sending relevant information via email. Be sure to follow up with regularity and consistency. Set expectations early and stay consistent.
Stage 2 - Contact
Timeframe: 2 days to 7 weeks
Next comes the contact stage. During this period, we usually spend anywhere from 4 hours to 30 minutes talking with a lead. At this point, you can either continue building relationship quality by learning more about them, or you can move onto the presentation stage.
Stage 3 - Presentation
Timeframe: 1 day to 10 months
During this stage, we generally spend approximately 20 minutes to 45 minutes explaining ourselves to our prospective partner. We might discuss a recent project they were involved in, statistics related to our industry sector, or general background information.
Stage 4 - Follow Up
Timeframe: 3 Days to 12 Months
Finally, we reach the final stage of the sales process called 'follow up'. Following up involves keeping in touch with our partners to monitor progress, identify problems, and troubleshoot issues. Depending on your industry, you may choose to meet face-to-face or over the phone to check on projects, review data, and report status.
As you can see above, the average sales timeline is relatively short and requires efficient planning and organization. Whether you decide to purchase software or hire an agency, make sure to select a vendor that understands how to create a roadmap specifically tailored towards maximizing your return on investment.
I hope you found this guide helpful. Remember, sales is built around establishing meaningful connections. Take advantage of technology tools available today to increase personal interactions and enhance communication. Finally, remember to treat every interaction with respect whether you're speaking personally or professionally. Treating others poorly will reflect badly on you and your brand image. Now that you know how to approach sales activities, consider applying these techniques to grow your own small business. Good luck!
The most effective way for you to grow your business and increase profits quickly, is by using a proven system that has been tested over time. In this article I will show you what exactly these three important steps are so you can implement them into your own marketing strategy immediately!
If you're just starting out or maybe want an overview of how it all works together, then we've got everything covered here below. So let's get started...
What are the 3 elements of selling?
There are 5 basic components required to sell anything successfully. They include:
Comprehension - Understanding what they need/want and why. This includes listening carefully to their needs and wants as well as understanding the current situation.
Compelling Solution - Presenting a solution that meets the clients' requirements while solving any problems at hand. It also involves providing alternatives if requested. The goal with every client interaction should be to make sure there is no doubt about what your product does for them.
Commitment - Making sure they have taken action on whatever decision was made after hearing your pitch. A good close is imperative to ensure follow through. If not followed up on right away, many times people will forget about making a purchase until later, sometimes weeks later when they see other products from competitors offering similar solutions but much cheaper. Remember, "Nothing changes unless something moves!"
Follow-Up & Support - After closing the sale, it's essential to stay connected and keep the customer informed throughout the entire project life cycle. Letting go doesn't mean letting down without staying in touch with your customers even years later. And don't ever take a deal off the table because someone else offers better terms. Keep everyone happy including yourself, which means keeping promises, delivering quality service, and making adjustments along the way.
And although these five principles may seem simple enough, many businesses fail because they do things backwards. Many companies focus on giving great value upfront instead of building relationships first. But remember, if you build trust before trying to make money, it'll save both parties a lot of wasted energy.
So lets review each one of those points briefly.
1) Understand What Clients Really Want
This starts with asking questions like: Why do you want to buy our product? How did you hear about us? Is there anything we can help you with today? Or perhaps you could share some examples of previous projects you completed recently. These types of open ended questioning techniques allow prospects to talk freely about themselves, which allows you to find commonalities between you two and helps break the ice.
2) Focus On Solutions Instead Of Price Point
When presenting solutions to prospective buyers, always consider price point. When pricing becomes the focal point of discussion, potential buyers start thinking more about cost than benefits. By focusing on the actual results obtained rather than simply comparing prices, your ability to attract attention increases dramatically.
3) Be Proactive With Referring Others To Buy From You
One of the best ways to generate repeat sales is by referring others who would benefit from your expertise. Once you establish credibility within your target market, people will seek you out for advice and recommendations. Make it easy for them to refer others to you. Give them your personal phone number and email address where they can easily forward inquiries to you directly.
Now if you think back to my earlier explanation above, you might notice that the core idea of being proactive lies somewhere inside the fifth element of the 5 component list above. However, since it wasn't mentioned specifically, I felt compelled to bring its importance to light. Now you know why!
So now that you understand what the different parts of the sales process represent, let me give you a quick recap of what the next few paragraphs cover.
What are the 7 steps to the sales process?
Step 1: Qualifying Prospects
Qualify potential leads based upon specific criteria. Ask yourself the following questions: Are they interested in my services? Am I qualified to provide solutions for them? Do they qualify for my particular line of work? Does my company offer programs designed specifically for small business owners like myself? Have they done their homework properly?
Step 2: Opening Up For Business
Ask probing questions about their problem(s). Set ground rules such as expectations regarding their involvement level (e.g., they won't be involved in negotiations), budget constraints, etc.. Establish goals for the meeting ahead of time. Also, determine whether you'd prefer working alone, privately, or via group sessions.
Step 3: Position Yourself As An Expert
Be prepared to demonstrate knowledge, experience and skills related to your industry. Then present options for resolving their issues that align with the prospect's interests. Don't try to convince them to hire you. Simply outline how you plan to solve their biggest challenges effectively.
Step 4: Closing Out Deals
Closing deals requires patience, persistence, and professionalism. Always end meetings confidently and leave behind a positive impression. Send thank you notes and follow up with emails to reinforce new contacts. Develop long term professional relationships by continuing to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.
Step 5: Keeping Track Of Contracts & Invoices
Keep track of contracts and invoices for easier payment processing. Create standard policies and procedures for handling payments. Ensure proper accounting records are kept. Use software systems that support online transactions. Accept credit cards. Request electronic funds transfers.
What is the third step in selling process?
Third Step - Client Communication
Communication plays key role in successful relationship development. Communicate regularly with your targeted audience. Share information on upcoming events, promotions, new products, free trials, discounts, special incentives, and newsletters. Provide regular updates on activities taking place internally and externally.
Follow up promptly on orders placed, shipments sent, and accounts receivable received. Deliver exceptional levels of personalized communication. Answer calls and return messages within 24 hours. Respond to inquiries within 48 hours. Offer flexible appointment slots and adjust according to client preferences.
In summary, the purpose of this article was to lay out the foundation necessary for anyone wanting to learn about the 3 main stages of the sales process. There are plenty of resources available to teach you more about each phase and the various technologies used to accomplish them. Just search Google for more detailed explanations on each topic.
Hopefully you learned something valuable from reading this article. So please feel free to print it out and put it in your binder so you can refer to it whenever needed. Good luck out there!