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What are the 7 stages of the sales process?

What are the 7 stages of the sales process?

There's no question that there is often confusion about what exactly goes into making an ideal sale, and even if your own team has some internal systems to help them through each stage of the sales cycle, they may not be working together effectively. If you're looking to create a more efficient system or simply learn more about selling techniques, here are seven different phases that go into a typical sales call.

1. Meeting with potential clients

When meeting someone who could potentially buy from you, it's important to set expectations early on about whether this will actually lead to a deal being made. You should always have a clear idea of why you were invited to meet the client (as well as any other relevant information) so that you can make sure you both understand where things stand before moving forward.

2. The first contact and initial conversation

At this point, you've established that two people want something from one another -- but now comes the hard part! When you make the first contact, you'll need to get to know each others' needs as well as their current situation and goals. Don't assume anything, because this is just the beginning. If you don't feel comfortable enough at this stage to ask questions, then maybe you shouldn't be doing business with this person yet.

3. Getting to know the prospect better

Once you've established rapport with the client, it's time to dig deeper and find out more about what would drive him/her to buy, and why he/she wants your product over those offered by competitors. This involves getting to know what problems your company solves, the benefits of using your products, and finding ways to position yourself as an expert within your field.

4. Presenting solutions and presenting alternatives

In order to ensure that you present only viable options, it's crucial that you thoroughly research all possible outcomes beforehand. By knowing everything going into a decision, you can avoid coming off like a salesman trying to close the deal. Instead, you'll appear confident while giving suggestions rather than pushing your ideas onto the customer.

5. Making an offer

Now, it's finally time to talk numbers. Here, you'll give a price quote based on your findings and discuss terms such as delivery times, payment plans, etc., which hopefully have been agreed upon already. Remember that every negotiation is unique, so keep in mind that you'll never be able to predict how negotiations might progress once money starts changing hands, so take notes along the way to refer back to later.

6. Negotiating a proposal

After agreeing on specific terms, it's time for you and your customer to sit down and negotiate deals specifics. It's also during these meetings that you'll likely come across roadblocks to closing a deal, especially regarding pricing, budget constraints or perhaps lack of interest. In addition to negotiating terms, you'll probably also discuss milestones, timelines, and future prospects. Once again, try to remember everything that was discussed earlier so you aren't caught off guard.

7. Closing the deal

Finally, after all good faith efforts have been exhausted, you'll need to wrap up discussions and reach agreements on all aspects of the contract, including details such as shipping costs, warranty periods, service levels, and so forth. At this point, you'll hand off responsibilities between departments if necessary, collect signatures, and finalize paperwork. Now, the fun really begins!

Of course, these descriptions are only meant to serve as guidelines. Every industry and market is unique, so depending on your area of expertise, you may experience situations outside of these boundaries, but they provide a general overview of what typically happens. While many industries use similar approaches, sometimes there are slight differences in the exact methods used. Also, remember to stay positive throughout the entire process regardless of setbacks or challenges that arise.

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Have you ever thought about implementing a formalized sales training program? Whether you represent a large corporation or small business, consider creating an environment conducive to growth and development. Sales performance management software helps companies improve marketing efficiency, boost profits, enhance employee morale, and reduce operating expenses. Find out how easy it is to implement best practice sales strategies with today's quick guide.

What is the 8 step sales call?

Meetings are supposed to establish trust among individuals, but they rarely accomplish that goal completely. One reason for this is that most people are uncomfortable asking questions. According to Harvard Business Review, studies suggest that the vast majority of Americans prefer listening to talking. Asking open-ended questions gives the impression that you truly care about the answers, whereas closed-ended questions sound accusatory. Try practicing speaking with a friend or colleague ahead of time to become more comfortable with expressing opinions.

Here are eight tips to follow during a sales presentation:

Be prepared. Don't wing it. Research your audience, read briefing materials, and familiarize yourself with facts, figures, data, and statistics related to your topic.

Speak clearly. Be concise with words and sentences, and speak slowly. Pause frequently to allow listeners to absorb what you say. Avoid slang, profanity, yelling, or shouting.

Listen actively. Most salespeople tend to fill silences with meaningless noise, so listen carefully. Make eye contact with everyone involved and maintain appropriate body posture. Keep a note pad handy to jot down key points.

Ask clarifying questions. Ask customers probing questions designed to clarify objectives, concerns, issues, and areas of agreement. Clarify vague topics. Listen receptively to the answer until you're satisfied you fully understood the response. Then repeat back the content verbatim. Afterward, confirm understanding by saying, "So, I'm hearing [name] that correct?"

Prepare for objections. Anticipate reasons customers may bring up that might derail conversations. Prepare responses to common arguments. Consider bringing extra copies of documents to presentations.

Use visual aids strategically. Visuals can convey complex concepts quickly and powerfully. However, too much emphasis on visuals can hinder comprehension. Use PowerPoint slides sparingly and choose images that support your message.

Practice your pitch. Practice delivering your speech aloud several times to master timing and pacing. Take breaks after long speeches.

Close on objective(s). Identify what outcome you hope to achieve at the end of the discussion, and tie subsequent comments to that target. Focus on concrete actions that demonstrate measurable improvements.

Provide references. Provide real-world examples to illustrate your claims. Reliable sources include trade journals, academic publications, reputable websites, personal contacts, and professional associations.

What are the 10 steps of the sales process?

While the above list represents the basic outline of a successful sales interaction, there are plenty of variations and exceptions to these practices. Many factors play into the success of a given sale, so it's impossible to cover them comprehensively. These ten principles provide a solid foundation, however, to help you navigate the waters of sales.

1. First Contact - Introduction

This phase consists of establishing ground rules and building relationships. Begin with introductions and exchange names and brief details about background, interests, and motivations. Set expectations about how interactions will proceed. Build confidence and credibility through honesty and transparency. Establish mutual respect. Offer assistance to ease the customer's transition into unfamiliar territory.

2. Initial Conversation

During this phase, you'll begin discussing the main elements of the project or task at hand, taking notes, and gathering additional information. Start with identifying the problem(s), defining scope, determining requirements, and planning resources. Next, identify solution options and compare pros and cons. Finally, evaluate risks and opportunities. Throughout this period, the tone should remain informal.

3. Information Gathering Phase

Before jumping into a detailed description of your offerings, you must gather sufficient information to formulate your proposals. During this step, you'll compile lists of features and functions, document required documentation, and prepare specifications for designs, processes, procedures, and components. Gather information about past experiences, standards, regulations, laws, and policies. Collect test samples, reference material, and technical manuals. Check literature, online forums, and competitor databases to discover applicable trends and technologies.

4. Analysis and Evaluation

Analyze the collected information to determine its relevance, validity, and feasibility. Evaluate risk vs. reward profiles. Determine strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. Assess competitive advantages and disadvantages. Summarize conclusions and recommendations. Develop alternative solutions.

5. Proposal Development

If your team has no formalized system or set of rules, chances are they're operating on their own terms and not actually following any kind of proven formula.  In fact, many companies have adopted this approach as an easy way out -- "We don't need a structure because we all know what needs to be done," right? Wrong! The problem with that thinking is that there may be one best practice among several different approaches, but if you can't measure success based upon those practices, then something must change. You'll never find success by winging it alone. To get real results from your salespeople, you should follow these seven key steps to ensure you maximize productivity and revenue throughout each stage of the sale.

1. Know Your Audience. Before you ever even pick up your phone to call someone, you've got to understand who will receive your pitch. In other words, before you do anything else, make sure you really know why you want to talk to them. If you're trying to sell a new client on a product idea, for example, you might focus too much on features rather than benefits (e.g., "I'm calling about our new line of widgets...). Instead, ask yourself whether people would buy the widget just because it was offered at a lower price point or higher quality level than competitors' products. This makes sure you aren't wasting time talking to customers who won't benefit directly from whatever it is you're offering.

2. Find Their Pain Points First. Once you've identified exactly whom you'd like to speak to, now comes the hard part: figuring out where your prospect stands regarding the pain points associated with your solution. For instance, if you run a business that sells insurance services, you could easily spend hours discussing everything from coverage options to discount plans. However, focusing only on the financial aspects of solving problems leaves out the emotional side of things, which isn't helpful if you hope to close deals successfully. By finding out more about your prospects' current situation, you can tailor your conversation accordingly. It also helps to determine how well you already know your audience so that you can avoid spending extra time learning about topics they probably already feel comfortable handling themselves.

3. Set Up A Meeting With Your Prospect. Now that you've figured out why they should listen to you and determined where you stand relative to their needs, you need to secure your meeting date and location. Don't let the details slip through the cracks here. Put down the paper work that doesn't require your attention immediately and use some old fashioned legwork to book appointments with your target market. Whether its via email or over the phone, you should always strive to establish contact within 24 hours after receiving a request for information. Remember, nothing kills momentum faster than waiting around for weeks until meetings finally take place. As long as you stay in touch regularly between emails, calls and texts, you shouldn't experience any major delays once you reach that big day.

4. Share Why They Should Listen To You. When setting up a meeting, try to explain why your customer should invest their valuable time listening to you instead of anyone else. After all, they wouldn't give you their precious minutes unless they felt strongly enough about hearing what you had to say. Be prepared to share compelling reasons why they should consider working with you instead of others in your industry. Think carefully about the value proposition you plan to present during your meeting, since it's likely to become the foundation for future discussions. Make sure that your presentation includes both tangible evidence of progress toward goals along with testimonials from satisfied clients. Presentation slides are often used effectively to convey important messages, particularly ones related to pricing and profitability. Additionally, keep in mind that prospective buyers are typically interested in solutions that offer immediate gratification. Try to help them see how your ideas fit into achieving short term objectives.

5. Get Down To Business At Meetings. Now that you've met face to face with potential clients, you can begin laying the groundwork for collaboration. Take advantage of every opportunity to demonstrate that you care about your prospects' concerns while simultaneously demonstrating the depth of your knowledge base. Even though you may think you know everything about your company's offerings, prospects may wonder how extensive your expertise truly is. Therefore, don't hesitate to show off your skills whenever possible. Demonstrate your ability to solve problems by using examples from previous projects. Referring to past successes gives prospects confidence in your abilities, making them less inclined to doubt your capabilities moving forward. Furthermore, showing initiative and creativity during meetings shows interest in helping your customers achieve greater levels of success.

6. Ask Questions And Allow Time For Response. One thing that separates professional salespeople from amateur sellers is their willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. While it's true that sometimes you simply have to go against the grain to land contracts, it's usually better to allow parties involved plenty of time to digest information before taking action. Sales reps tend to fall prey to impatience, believing that the longer they wait for feedback, the better chance they'll leave money on the table. That's simply not the case. Waiting patiently allows you to gain insights into what your clients need and want, thus increasing the likelihood that you can provide genuine assistance. Of course, you don't want to waste everyone's time either. Sometimes you simply cannot afford to sit back and relax. There are times when you have to strike quickly, such as when competing for scarce resources like budgets or hiring employees. Nevertheless, if you can maintain control of the pace, you'll reap significant rewards later.

7. Close Deals. Closing deals is perhaps the hardest aspect of the entire process. Many entrepreneurs believe that closing a deal is a skill reserved solely for top producers. Although this may be true in certain industries, closing deals is ultimately merely a matter of understanding how to properly manage objections, negotiate favorable terms and arrive at win-win outcomes for all parties involved. The bottom line is that successful negotiators realize early on in conversations that the goal is to create a positive outcome for everybody. Thus, they consistently look for ways to satisfy all parties involved.

While you may not personally enjoy performing tasks like contacting leads, scheduling meetings and negotiating deals, remember that these activities represent crucial components of the overall process. Without them, getting paid commissions becomes virtually impossible. Therefore, if you choose to put all of your efforts into generating deals instead of managing existing relationships, you'll eventually encounter difficulties and frustration that stem from missing opportunities.

It takes a lot of effort and perseverance to earn large sums of cash as a commission driven representative. But if you stick with it, you'll soon discover that the rewards outweigh the sacrifices. So whether you prefer to devote your energy towards building strong connections with prospects or concentrating on bringing home bigger checks, utilize the techniques outlined above to increase your odds of maximizing profits across all phases of the sales cycle.

What are the 4th step of the personal selling process?

This article discusses the importance of knowing your audience and identifying their pain points prior to picking up the phone. Next, I discuss the significance of establishing a time frame for meetings and presenting relevant data to justify investments. Finally, I reveal that mastering the art of objection handling is essential to landing high paying jobs.

What are the 4 steps to the selling process?

First, identify a lead source. Second, build rapport. Third, gather pertinent background information to support your proposal. Fourth, evaluate alternatives.

What are the 4 types of personal selling?

Personal Selling - Is geared toward individuals seeking individual consultations. Personal selling involves direct communication with prospects, offers customized proposals, and requires little preparation beyond having basic knowledge of the person's needs.

Direct Mail - Direct mail advertising uses preprinted materials including letters, postcards, flyers, brochures, coupons, etc. These items are mailed to targeted audiences with specific addresses. Postage costs vary according to destination, size, weight, number of pieces, and distance traveled. Some printers charge flat rates per piece printed or volume discounts depending on quantity ordered. Advertisers pay postage separately for direct mail ads. Postal carriers deliver packages and parcels daily. Most businesses send their outgoing mail first class.

Telemarketing - Telemarketers initiate telephone calls to complete unsolicited orders or solicit additional business. Telephone marketing is cost efficient compared to mailing advertisements or placing newspaper classifieds. Companies hire professionals called telemarketer to handle incoming inquiries. Calls are answered professionally and recorded for training purposes. Often, caller ID systems display the name of the party initiating the call. Spamming refers to sending junk e-mails to recipients hoping to acquire credit card numbers to commit fraud.

Internet Marketing - Internet marketers promote goods or services online by creating websites featuring descriptions and images of merchandise, posting links to vendor sites, uploading videos and photos of inventory, writing articles, forum participation, and participating in social media communities. Online marketing strategies include search engine optimization, text link advertising, banner advertisement, video marketing, affiliate programs, press releases, blogs, forums, newsletters, and webinars. In addition, internet marketers employ SEO specialists to improve visibility of website content and optimize site traffic.

If your team wants to be successful, they need an action plan and clear goals.  But if there isn't a defined structure or sequence, then they're just winging it. You've got to set up your team so that everyone has something to do -- no matter what their skill level happens to be at any given moment.

There are many ways to approach this problem. One of my favorite methods is called "the seven step sale." I have seen this method work on multiple occasions with different types of clients. But, as always, the devil is in the details. There are some things about this model which make sense but others don't. In order to truly understand why this works (and doesn't), we'll take a look at each stage of the seven step process.

Stage 1 - The Introduction call/meeting

This is where the customer gets introduced to the concept of working together. Your job right now should be to listen carefully, ask questions, and help them get comfortable with you. If you can, try to schedule meetings over video chat whenever possible because it will allow you to see facial expressions and body language. This also helps build trust between both parties.

In terms of content, you want to focus on getting acquainted rather than pitching products, services, or solutions. Think more like a buddy who would introduce another friend to his neighborhood by asking open ended questions. Questions such as "How did you hear about me?" and "Why do you think you'd benefit from our relationship?" will give you valuable insight into the needs of the prospect.

At this point, you shouldn't even mention money yet. It may come up later down the road. Instead, concentrate on establishing rapport and building comfort levels. Once these two factors are established, customers feel more willing to share information openly and honestly.

Stage 2 - The Discovery Call/Meeting

Once rapport is built, it's time to move onto uncovering pain points and identifying opportunities. During this phase, you want to find out exactly what problems your client faces currently. By taking notes during conversations, you can use those observations to craft compelling stories around potential solutions.

For example, let's say one of your prospects says he spends $500 per month shopping online for shoes. He tells you that he feels overwhelmed by all the choices available and claims he ends up spending too much money because he never knows whether he likes a shoe until after he buys it. What kind of story could you tell him to alleviate this stress? Maybe you talk about how other people shop online and how easy it was for them to narrow down their options. Or perhaps you suggest creating a wish list before going online in case you end up buying something you didn't intend to buy.

You want to keep the conversation moving forward while listening closely. Don't interrupt your prospect unless absolutely necessary! When you do speak, ask open-ended questions designed to elicit answers. For instance, you might ask "what keeps you awake at night" or "how does this concern impact your business?". These kinds of questions often lead to followup questions. After you gather enough data, you can formulate creative solutions and present them to the customer.

Stage 3 - Presentation

Now comes the fun part. Let's assume you identified three issues worth pursuing. At this point, you want to bring your prospect back to reality. While you were having coffee, you probably noticed that your client had a lot of good ideas. Now it's time to put those ideas to practice. Start off by talking numbers. Share facts and figures showing how your product or service can solve specific problems. Then lay out alternatives using various pricing models. Finally, wrap everything up with a summary highlighting the benefits of doing business with you.

When presenting solutions, stick to simple concepts that are easily understood. Remember, you aren't trying to convince someone to purchase today. Instead, you want to leave room for future discussions. Try not to overwhelm yourself by putting every idea you have down on paper. That way, you won't lose track of anything important.

One thing to note: Be careful not to pitch your company directly. Always frame your solution within the context of your customer's unique situation first. Ask questions like "would this type of setup fit best for you?" or "how else could we customize this solution further?"

Finally, don't forget to include benefits. People love hearing about free trials, discounts, bonuses, etc. Just remember that you only have 30 seconds to capture their attention so don't go overboard. Make sure you avoid long phrases like "enhance productivity", "improve ROI", "reduce costs". Keep it short and sweet.

Stage 4 - The Sales Proposal

After explaining your proposal in detail, it's finally time to discuss payment plans. Before making any decisions, however, customers usually want to know how confident you are. So, you must show confidence through gestures and tone. Do not act nervous, hesitant, or unsure. Also, pay close attention to how you shake hands. Is yours firm and assertive or limp and weak?

Next, explain credit card processing fees. Many companies charge anywhere from 0% to 15%. Most businesses choose to stay away from merchant accounts since they tend to be expensive but offer little value. On top of that, few banks actually support small businesses anymore so you'll have to deal with high monthly minimums, limited funding sources, restrictive underwriting guidelines, and long approval times.

Ask your prospects what they prefer and respect their decision 100 percent. Never pressure anyone into signing up for whatever reason. And, lastly, if you have already talked to several competitors, highlight any advantages you provide over them.

Stage 5 - Closing & Implementation

Before closing the sale, you need to ensure you have a strong foundation upon which to build success. As mentioned earlier, this means focusing on relationships instead of pushing products and services. To accomplish this goal, you'll need to develop a mutually beneficial partnership. Here are a couple of tips to consider:

Donate items that your clients might enjoy. Giveaways are a very powerful tool for generating goodwill towards your brand. They increase visibility and attract new leads.

Offer referrals. Every opportunity counts and word travels fast when you refer somebody else.

Create social media campaigns. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular among consumers so get involved!

Build partnerships. Partnering with complementary businesses can boost profits exponentially. Look for partners with similar offerings and areas of expertise. For example, if you sell office supplies, partner with local art studios or graphic designers.

Make sure you are ready to execute once the contract is signed. Send detailed contracts outlining responsibilities and deadlines along with training materials and project management tools. Provide ongoing contact via phone, email, and Skype throughout the entire implementation period.

And... that's it! No more chasing angry customers down dark alleys late at night looking for lost discs. With proper planning, execution, and communication, you can turn a bad experience into a profitable venture. Congratulations!

That wraps up lesson number one. Stay tuned next week for lessons two through five. Until then, check out our blog post detailing why marketing automation software can boost profit margins. We hope you enjoyed learning with us!



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