What are the 7 steps of the sales process?
You may have heard it said before, but there is no substitute for actually implementing what has been taught in theory. This holds true when it comes to selling as well. It's easy to get caught up in thinking about all the things we can do and how great our business will be once we implement them - until we sit down with someone who really understands what we're trying to accomplish and ask their opinion on how exactly we should go about doing so.
A good example would be if I was trying to sell my Mom on why she should consider buying one of my products or services. If I had spent some time talking to her beforehand about her current situation, then I could easily formulate an approach which would take into account everything from where she currently stands financially to any fears or concerns she might have. When I talk to people like my mom (or anyone else) I always try to start out by getting a sense of where they are right now, and then work backwards to see how I can best assist them at each stage of the sale.
So here are seven different ways to structure a successful sales call based upon these two approaches. You'll notice that I've broken the entire thing into several chunks rather than just presenting it in chronological order. That way, if you want to skip ahead to something specific, you can simply pick out the section which most closely matches what you need done. All of it is equally important though, so don't feel bad if you end up going through all of them!
Here we go...
1.) Find Your Prospect's Pain Points & Address Them In The First Minute Or Two Of The Call: What happens every day thousands of times across America is that somebody walks up to someone and asks them "what seems to be wrong?" And without fail, 99% of the time, whoever does this ends up wasting valuable minutes focusing only on finding reasons not to buy anything. Instead, find out what problems your prospect faces today and use those issues as leverage points throughout the rest of the conversation. For instance, say you were calling around to prospective customers looking for new car ownerships. During the first minute, tell them what kind of vehicle you'd recommend for them based off of the information you obtained during the initial phone call. Then continue asking questions about what type of driving experience they desire, how often they drive, etc., while using these answers to guide your recommendations towards helping them achieve whatever goals they set forth.
2.) Get Their Commitment To A Decided Action As Fast As Possible: Once you know what problem(s) your prospects face, make sure you highlight those problems within the context of providing solutions. Don't waste precious time having them think about whether or not they even need the solution you're offering. Just make sure you provide enough proof for them to understand that yes, in fact, they absolutely do. Make sure you focus on showing them how they'd benefit from your product/service vs. telling them why it won't hurt them. This is especially true if they already own another version of the same product or service, such as an existing copywriter working remotely. Rather than saying "you wouldn't believe how much money I'm making with my remote marketing efforts", show them pictures of other writers' testimonials instead. They'll respect you more for being honest and upfront with them. Plus, you'll also demonstrate to them that you aren't afraid to speak honestly about your product or service because you realize that honesty pays off far greater rewards than sugar-coated promises ever could.
3.) Create Rapport With Your Audience By Showing How Passionately You Can Connect On An Emotional Level: One of the biggest mistakes made in sales calls over the years has been to completely ignore the emotional side of things. We tend to forget that people buy from us emotionally, yet treat them logically when speaking with them. While logic definitely plays its part in closing deals, emotion is what truly seals the deal. So make sure you use your passion to connect with your audience in a genuine manner. Let them know that you genuinely care about them and their needs, and let them know that you're interested in helping them solve whatever challenges they might be facing. People love nothing more than to be inspired by others who share similar interests, so don't hesitate to point them toward books, articles, blog posts, videos, etc. related to the topic you're discussing. If possible, mention a few of your personal stories and experiences as well that relate back to the subject matter as well.
4.) Set Up Follow-Up Plans To Ensure Ongoing Communication: After establishing rapport with your prospects, ensure that both parties remain connected after the initial meeting. Whether it's via email, text message, or regular telephone conversations, establish follow-up plans to keep communication open between you and your customer. Most importantly, don't fall victim to sending emails which sound automated due to poor grammar or sentence construction. Always write letters and emails yourself, keeping in mind that you're writing directly to a real person. Also, avoid sounding robotic and cold in tone. Never send generic emails filled with bullet lists and canned responses either. Be creative in your communications and stay away from boring old eBooks and manuals. Try to offer personalized suggestions and guidance whenever possible.
5.) Ask Questions Which Will Help Your Customer Understand Why He Should Buy From You Over Someone Else: Whenever you meet with potential clients, never shy away from asking lots of questions. However, you must remember to frame them in terms of solving problems for your customer, not just pushing your agenda forward. Many inexperienced salespeople tend to push themselves too hard or become overly aggressive with questions, resulting in negative reactions from their audiences. Therefore, make sure that you ask intelligent questions designed to further clarify objectives and benefits brought about by your product or service. Avoid confusing them by leading with statements like "Do you understand?", "Can you explain that again?", or "I didn't quite catch what you meant." These kinds of words cause confusion and stall progress since your prospect isn't likely to respond correctly anyway. Keep your questioning simple and effective and don't allow yourself to ramble aimlessly.
6.) Provide Solutions Based Upon Information Gathered Through Questioning: Once you've established rapport with your prospects and asked them sufficient questions regarding their present circumstances, it's time to discuss options available to them. Now is the time to listen carefully to what they say and build upon their ideas. Do not immediately jump to conclusions and begin giving advice unless asked specifically. Remember that it takes longer to create trust among friends than it does among strangers, so take extra precautions to gain confidence and earn credibility with your prospects. Take notes on what they say and verify facts prior to giving them any sort of response whatsoever. Only give direct feedback when you're certain of the accuracy of your comments. Otherwise, stick solely to noncommittal phrases like "That sounds interesting" or "It sounds like you have plenty of choices".
7.) Close The Deal Using Multiple Strategies At Once: Finally, close your presentation by explaining pricing details, delivery dates, payment methods, and shipping policies. Don't rush through this last phase, taking extra caution to ensure that you cover all aspects of the transaction thoroughly. Give them ample opportunity to contact you if necessary, and don't be discouraged if they choose not to purchase from you right then and there. Continue building relationships with them regularly via future contacts and chances are they'll eventually come around to purchasing from you.
There you have it -- seven steps of the sales process. Implement these steps consistently and effectively and you'll soon discover your conversion rates climbing steadily upwards.
If you want more clients, make sure you know how to sell effectively and efficiently. This article will explain what each stage means so you can implement it into your business today!
The 7 Step Sales Process Formula
This simple but effective system has been used by thousands around the world over many years. It's based on an actual 7-step sales cycle that was developed by Jack Smith from Australia who worked with top athletes including Lance Armstrong and Robert Kennedy Jr. In his book "Sell Like A Champion" he details exactly what happens when someone buys from you. He also shares exactly why people buy things they don't need or want, which is often because we're simply not trained properly in marketing techniques. For example, if you go out looking for something specific then chances are even if you find it at first there'll be other stores much closer where you could have bought the same product. If you're just browsing through shops without any idea of what you actually wanted then you may end up going home empty handed and feeling frustrated. The whole point of shopping is to get something you like and want, rather than buying something you think you should buy purely for reasons such as price or convenience. By following these steps you ensure you've covered everything before starting negotiations.
1) Establishing Need - Once you've found something on sale or free (you might see something online that catches your eye), ask yourself questions about the item. What do I really want? Why does this catch my attention? Do I already own something similar? When you start asking yourself these sorts of questions, you begin to feel confident enough to approach the store manager or staff member directly to talk about purchasing the item. You need to establish whether or not you're able to afford the item. Your budget needs to be realistic -- don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed by spending options! Don't let indecisiveness slow down your decision making here. Decide if you'd prefer to pay cash or use credit/debit card. If you decide to purchase using plastic then you must leave sufficient funds available to cover the cost. Otherwise you risk having your identity stolen. Remember, if you walk away from a deal without completing all parts of the transaction, you lose money!
2) Presentation Stage - Now that you've established what you want, you need to present your case convincingly. You must persuade them that you're worthy of their time. Start off strong by researching the company thoroughly. Know its products well, understand its history and mission statement, and read reviews from current customers. Be prepared to discuss why a competitor isn't suitable for the job. Ask yourself, 'How would I rate myself against another company?' Build rapport by sharing information about yourself, family life, hobbies etc., while demonstrating interest in others' lives too.
3) Qualifying Questions & Answers - During the qualifying phase, you'll examine your customer's concerns and determine how best to address them. Here you'll discover what makes your prospective client tick -- what drives him or her nuts? What irritates them? Make notes of anything important during this part of the meeting. Also take detailed mental note of any comments made regarding your service or product. These insights will prove invaluable later on once you develop your proposal.
4) Proposal Planning - Before discussing pricing, you must prepare a written proposal detailing your services and qualifications. Take time to write this document carefully. Write clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon and flowery language. Use numbers whenever possible. Give plenty of detail, highlighting benefits instead of features. Always include testimonials or endorsements. Keep your proposal short and sweet -- no one likes reading long documents.
5) Negotiating Price & Terms - Asking for lower prices shouldn't always come across as aggressive -- after all you want to keep your existing customers happy. However, you still need to negotiate aggressively to secure the lowest rates for your services. Try offering discounts on larger orders, package deals, group contracts and loyalty programs. Offer special terms relating to delivery times, guarantees and warranties. Find ways to reduce costs wherever possible. Never ever accept payment upfront. You must insist upon payments being made via direct deposit only. Customers hate paying hidden fees and charges.
6) Order Confirmation & Invoice Creation - After agreeing on terms with your potential new client, confirm the order in writing and send them an invoice within 48 hours. Send copies to everyone involved in the negotiation. Create a professional invoice that includes relevant contact info, pricing, quantity, date ordered and shipping method. Include a packing slip if needed. If necessary, provide tracking numbers.
7) Delivering On Time & Following Up With Client Support - Deliver the goods according to agreed dates and follow up with your clients to check progress and answer queries. Ensure that your invoices are paid promptly. Call clients regularly to check their satisfaction levels. Follow up calls with regular letters sent via certified mail or email.
So now you know what goes on inside a typical sales call. But did you know that salespeople sometimes have trouble getting past the initial stages? Read on to learn how to overcome objections...
What are the 4 key sales steps?
In order to fully grasp the importance of each step in the sales process, you should probably review the four general phases again. They are:
Qualify Customer Needs
Now lets break those down...
Step 1 establishes rapport between you and your prospect, creating trust and confidence.
Step 2 helps you further qualify prospects needs, helping you zero in on what they truly desire.
Step 3 allows you to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge so that you build credibility among your target audience.
Step 4 concludes the presentation by allowing you to negotiate pricing and other conditions.
These 4 basic elements comprise the foundation of every successful sales career. Without them, you won't succeed. So take some extra time right now to create a list of 5-10 good quality contacts that fit your market sector. Then set aside 10 minutes per day to research them on the Internet. That way you'll be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow!
And remember, the easiest way to land new accounts is not necessarily to chase after your competitors, but rather to work alongside them. Simply offer them value added solutions, and stay above them on the pecking order!
You can improve your results tenfold by implementing this easy strategy. And it doesn't matter what kind of industry you're in, nor does it matter how old you are. Even kids can benefit from learning how to sell.
Here are three ideas to kickstart your entrepreneurial efforts:
Take a course in small business development or entrepreneurship at college. Or teach yourself how to run a startup from scratch.
Read books on how to launch and manage a business. Go to seminars. Join associations or join groups like SCORE or Small Business Development Centers. Learn how to network. Attend trade shows.
Get mentoring. Get advice from entrepreneurs whom you admire. Visit mentors. Meet experts. Hire consultants. Work closely with advisors.
Learn how to lead meetings effectively, since presenting proposals involves speaking with lots of different types of individuals. Practice public speaking skills. Network with influential leaders. Become known as an expert in your field.
Become active in community outreach programs. Volunteer locally. Help mentor young adults. Develop leadership skills. Share your success stories. Let others inspire you.
By understanding a little bit more about the basics of selling, you can avoid common mistakes and give yourself the upper hand. No one wants to waste their valuable time listening to sales pitches that aren't legitimate. Many experienced professionals are willing to share their secrets with aspiring entrepreneurs, giving us the edge over our competition. There are several sources where you can pick up essential tips and tricks, most notably eBooks, reports and guides. Just search Google for 'how to close sales', and you'll find tons of great resources.
There are two main categories of sales training: soft skills training and hard skills training. Soft skills are personality traits such as patience, openness, honesty, flexibility, persistence, self control and delegation. Hard skills relate mainly to technical aspects of the profession, namely communication, organization, problem solving, planning and managing, and financial skills. Having the ability to communicate clearly is crucial to succeeding in sales.
Most companies require applicants to submit samples of previous jobs along with resumes. Samples should show examples of completed projects and tasks. Sample resumes should be professionally formatted, complete with name, title, social security number, phone, fax, mailing addresses and e-mail address. Applicants should indicate employment status, salary experience, education level, awards received, references and interests. Most employers request a copy of a driver's license, proof of graduation or certification test scores. Some companies may ask for additional forms of identification such as military discharge papers, insurance policies, pension plans, Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports.
Once you've researched the hiring company, reviewed their web site, checked out their employees, decided if you'd like to interview, filled out applications, submitted resumes or provided required documentation, wait patiently for feedback.
After receiving notification, continue waiting until given approval to proceed. Depending on the type of position applied for, expect to hear back either verbally or in writing. Acceptance of an application does not mean immediate employment.
Do you ever get frustrated with how long it takes to close deals or make money from prospects and clients, then wonder where all those people go who seem to be making more than you in sales? Well, here's an easy way to increase your income dramatically - just follow these seven simple steps! Here's what you need to do...
Step 1: Define Your Target Market (TM)
The first thing you must do before starting any marketing efforts is target your market correctly. You should know exactly which group of prospective buyers would benefit most from your product or service. In other words, define them as narrowly as possible so that you can focus on their specific needs.
For example, if you're looking at writing best-selling books, you may want to write about general topics such as business success, health and nutrition, relationships, etc., but you'll have much greater impact on your audience by focusing specifically on one type of book -- self-help business titles, for instance. This narrow focus will give you many more potential customers, while still reaching out to thousands of others who could use your services.
Once you've identified your targeted market, identify your ideal customer profile within that category. For example, let's say you own a company called "Business Success Secrets." One of your ideal client profiles might be women over 40 years old who run small businesses themselves. Another profile might be professional men under 50 years old who are considering launching a new business venture. If you choose to advertise online only, you'd probably attract different types of advertisers based on each of these two profiles.
Step 2: Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile(ICP)
Now that you've defined your target audience, think about creating a short list of characteristics that describe the person who benefits most from buying your products or services. These traits should reflect the qualities that drive up profits for both you and your prospect.
This is usually known as finding the "Aha!" moment when describing your ICP. The closer your description comes to matching your prospect's actual situation, the easier it becomes to connect emotionally with him/her. Also, the simpler it is to qualify your prospects' interest level. Once you find the right match, you won't waste time trying to sell something they don't really want.
Here's some examples of Aha! moments:
"You're single, successful professionals between 30 and 60 years old with no kids, and you live alone without pets."
"You live in New York City and are interested in purchasing a condominium in Florida next year."
"Your current job requires travel 20% of the time, and you haven't found someone yet to share your life with."
Step 3: Find Prospect Clients By Searching Online Directories & Social Media Networks
With millions of web pages today, it's become extremely difficult to pinpoint qualified search results easily. That's why you must learn how to optimize your keywords properly using various free tools like Yahoo Site Explorer, Google Webmaster Tools, Technorati, Twitter Search, Facebook Graph Search, LinkedIn Pulse, YouTube SEO Toolbox, Digg Videos, Reddit Video Links, Pinterest Pins, StumbleUpon, ClassifiedAds.com, Craigslist Jobs, Ezilon Group, Kijiji Ads, Bing Local, Yelp Reviews, eBay Motors, Gumtree Adverts, Amazon Product Addresses, MerchantCircle, Manta, etc.
These directories contain tons of information on companies and individuals who are looking for solutions similar to yours. It doesn't matter whether you offer local services or international goods. Just take advantage of the opportunities offered by hundreds of major sites across the Internet. Use our free guide below to discover how you can leverage social media networks to improve your visibility and boost your sales conversion rates.
Step 4: Create An Effective Marketing Message & Offer
Marketing experts agree that the key to increasing your sales conversions is through effective copywriting skills. As a result, you should create powerful headlines that appeal directly to your readers' emotions and encourage them to read further. After reading your headline, they should feel compelled to contact you immediately because they see value in doing so.
As you continue reading, please keep in mind that every word counts. Don't fill your page with unnecessary fluff, hype, irrelevant details and filler sentences. Instead, limit yourself to around 150-175 words per page. Focus on providing enough content to educate, entertain and inspire your reader.
When crafting your message, remember that there is nothing wrong with asking for action. People often buy from those whom they trust, respect and admire. So, always include calls to action wherever necessary. Let them know clearly what you expect from them and when. And finally, never forget to add relevant testimonials to back up your claims.
Step 5: Write Articles With Benefits Rather Than Features
If you plan to publish articles on your site, consider including benefits rather than features. For instance, instead of saying that your product has three features, say that it provides five benefits. Feature statements tend to look impressive but provide little real substance. They also leave room for competitors to differentiate themselves -- after all, everyone wants to stand out in their field. However, benefits convey meaning and emotion. When used effectively, they can compel your visitors to contact you via email, call or signup form.
Also, avoid vague language and phrases like "helps," "can reduce," "provides," "enables," "helps relieve," "reduces symptoms," "prevents pain," etc. Vague terms tend not to evoke strong feelings, especially when compared to more meaningful ones like "increases revenues" or "improves productivity."
Step 6: Choose To Be Known As An Expert
Today, thanks to technology, anyone can claim to be an expert. But, being recognized as an authority figure in your industry means having credibility and attracting followers. Therefore, you should establish yourself as an expert by consistently delivering high quality advice, tips, news and reviews related to your niche.
To start building your reputation as an expert, try following these suggestions:
Create informative blog posts regularly. Blogging is a great way to maintain your presence in front of your audience and build relationships with them.
Write useful comments on popular blogs. Commenting on other blogs helps you gain exposure among bloggers and their audiences. Try commenting on interesting questions, controversial issues and trending topics.
Be active in forums and discussion boards. Post helpful answers and insightful commentary to stimulate discussions. Make sure to mention your website link whenever appropriate.
Participate in social networking communities. Build rapport with members of your network and other influential figures in your area of expertise. Share valuable resources and ideas with your friends and contacts. Follow other users and comment on their statuses.
Join groups related to your field of expertise. Join several closed and open groups according to your interests. Participating in these groups shows your knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment towards your profession.
Use social bookmarking sites to spread the word. Bookmark your websites and blogs on prominent social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Diigo, Del.icio.us, Furl, Blinklist, Propeller, Squidoo Lens, iGoogle News Portal, MyYahoo!, LiveJournal, Tumblr, etc.
Try sharing links to your content on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pingler, FriendFeed, Flickr, YouTube, etc. Using these channels ensures wider distribution of your work.
Share your expertise on community portals like Quora and Answers. Enabling your account to receive messages automatically alerts you anytime somebody asks a question related to your area of expertise.
Step 7: Leverage Email Autoresponder Series
Email autoresponders allow you to automate certain tasks associated with sending emails to your subscribers. Since email campaigns require constant monitoring and tracking, autoresponders come in handy to organize and schedule future communications.
There are plenty of good options available in the market. Some of the top providers include GetResponse, MailChimp, ConstantContact, AWeber, Vertical Response, and Campaign Monitor.