The Steps In The Sales Process: Including The Most Important

Posted on May 12, 2021

Brian McKittrick

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A smart and successful company will establish a business plan. A structure of how their company will operate and conduct business. What is not as common, however, is the sales plan. A sales plan is the process in which you take your prospects through what your company offers. Almost all organizations will have steps outlined of what is necessary to do the deal from start to finish, but what I’m showing in this section is a detailed list of each component you must take every potential client through to properly secure the sale. What separates the champions from the rest of the group is discipline to adhere to the process, and consistency in the actions of each step.

Here are the steps of the sales process to take all leads through.

Note: This is after you have generated a lead or have been prospecting for potential clients.

The Pre-Approach

You need to properly prepare yourself for your prospect’s first impression. You will only get one shot at the first interaction with a potential client, so you need to make sure it’s a quality one. If your clients are showing up in person, like real estate agents, cars, or retail, then you should make sure to inspect:

Condition of building
Fingerprints on door
Trash in lot or around door
Condition of parking lot
Signage working an clean
Advertising
Salesman standing around talking to each other
Salesman standing around outside
Hovering salespeople
How the team is dressed
Grooming
Smile on face/frown on face
Body language
Ads prominently displayed
Attractive decorations
Cleanliness
Attractive displays

If you are online only, or the web is their first interaction with you, then make sure to address:

Clear & Clean landing page
Easy to navigate website
Have the information easy to find
Contact info prominently displayed, and a working form
Funnel that is simple to work through

Greeting

Introduce yourself and welcome them to your company. Catch them off guard with something that they will remember you by. Begin building rapport (make observations that can strike up a conversation not relating to work)

Quality rapport built with a customer will prove to be priceless.

Pre-Qualifying

These are helpful questions to get the sale going, but aren’t your actual qualifying questions yet. Ask these of everyone. And continue to build rapport as you go.

“What brings you in today?” or “Why are we shopping today?”

“Have you shopped here before?” or “Have you been shopping already?”
Yes: How was your last experience?
No: Give them a mini pitch about your organization.

“Is there something that you have seen that you like?”
Yes: Ask them why they didn’t invest in it
No: Perfect! That means we get to choose.

“Have you seen our current ad or promo?” (If applicable to your industry)

“Do you mind if I ask you some more questions to help us find the right (item-service-solution) for you?”

This question can be HUGE! This opens the door to full transparency.

Qualifying Questions

This is the part where you ask a ton of questions. Remember to start broad and then ask more specific questions. Imagine a funnel. The first questions will be open-ended. That’s a question that requires a detailed response. As you continue, you are eliminating the items or services that they would not buy. Toward the end of the process, you will be asking more close-ended questions. Those are questions that require only a one word answer, or short responses.
If you find yourself talking more than your customer, then you are asking too many close-ended questions. You are qualifying the customer here for their needs, not your own.

Plant seeds for add-ons like accessories, delivery & installation, or supplemental products & services.

Presentation

Selection Process

This is the step where you say to your customer, “Based on what you told me, I would recommend (your product or solution). In this step, you will cover what the complete solution is for the client. This is how a product or plan brochure is constructed. But there is a best practice is doing this:

  1. Tell them the benefits of owning this product or service – This is the solution that solves their problem.
  2. Tell them the advantages of of this solution
  3. Tell them the features of the provides the benefit – Features only cost money, but a benefit has value

One part of this process where most sales people fall flat is the Vendor Story. This is a great time to tell them something really sweet about the product you are recommending, or the company that makes the product or solution. For example: “Did you know that Rolex is a nonprofit organization? If you order one from a jeweler they can sometimes take up to a year to come in. They are almost 100% hand made.”

Demonstration

If you are in a product based industry, this is the moment in the sale we actually get to play with toys we sell to them? Where is your demo material hiding? It should be in your hand right now. This is the make or break part of the deal. The step also has a process:

  1. Predict – Tell them the result that they will witness happen.
  2. Prove – Show them by using the product
  3. Confirm – Ask them to repeat back what they saw or heard
  4. Blame it on the gear – Tell them what benefit of the product caused the result to happen

Watch your customer during your (90 seconds or less) demo. Are they getting it? Is it blowing their hair back?

Are you presenting technologies in “Benefit – Advantage – Feature” format?

Plant seeds for accessories, add-ons, delivery & installation

Lock down a segment of what you are presenting before you go on to something else. If you don’t, customers get overwhelmed and so do we. This helps to keep things simple.

It is important to note that this step CANNOT happen before you qualify. Customers mostly buy what we want them to, not what they might have initially thought, as long as we can show them why our solution is the best. A true professional will sell what is best for the client.

Don’t forget to use Tie Downs! Tie-Downs are a term for mini-agreements throughout the sale. Small yeses that will make the big yes of the close easier.

Trial Close – Negotiation – Setting Up Terms

Depending on your industry, there is negotiating on the terms of the deal. If that is not the case, it would just be a matter of your first close attempt.

The trial close is just a basic closing question that will get a commitment on the sale. It could be something as simple as, “How does that sound?” You’re making an attempt to close, but this is not the whole shebang right now. You still need to come to the terms and conditions of the client owning your product or service.

Setting up terms is the part of the deal when the customer will take possession of what they’re buying. We’re not over-complicating this. It could be as simple as having an item shipped, or access to digital goods. But this step is also the conditions for money to exchange hands. And that payment can be a single purchase, a finance term, or subscription. Whatever the format you have, when it comes to negotiating, state your terms firmly, and with confidence. If you hem & haw about what the cost is, you will get hustled down. Remember the customer walked into your store and they are standing on your carpet that you vacuum every night.

Overcoming Objections

The key to an objection is to know in your mind that it’s a buying signal. If they were truly not sold in some way by your offer, then they would just walk. As long as they have a true interest in what you’re selling and are not completely out of the woods on your price, then you have got a chance. Remember this: Whatever they tell you the objection is, only serves as the barrier to cross for you to make the deal. Remove that roadblock, and you will close. Hopefully you have already been doing this throughout the sale. Have you overcome the hidden objections? Do you even know why the customer has any objections?

This is a good time to go back over the benefits the prospect enjoyed about your offer. Reiterate what they liked about it. One of the most powerful questions that you can ask right now is. “Why?”
Ask them why they are thinking that way. In all actuality, it’s difficult to convince a grown person that they are wrong about their decision. What overcoming an objection really is, is a time to clarify thinking. Use the Feel – Felt – Found steps. They may have a misconception to clear up, but in most cases, the client is telling you an obstacle to clear before you must move ahead. In some cases that obstacle is very small. In other cases it may be something that cannot be removed right then & there, or some time must pass. In either way, get a commitment that if that barrier was removed, you’d be able to move forward.

Closing

Heaven forbid we actually ask the customer for their business. After all, you have earned it, right! If a buyer ever says, “Wow, that is really cool!” then simply ask him for the sale. If after your presentation, the client is just eating it up, then ask them to buy. Have you ever bought something on emotion before? Everyone that walks in our door, or gets on the phone, is doing the same thing: trying to solve a problem, or ease a pain. Why do we assume that customers are just looking?

Isn’t it weird how when you see a police car when you are driving you automatically hit your brakes? No matter where you are. It is human nature. What are the chances that the officer is actually watching you? You never know until he or she pulls you over. Don’t take your chances on the sales floor. Customers like to buy, and expect to be closed.

The difference between number 1 and number such & such, is closing.

Delivery of the Product or Service – Their Road Map

After you have closed the deal, you need to set the new customer up for what to expect next in the process. This is called Roadmap. Properly prepare them for what they will receive from your service, or how to use your product. Without doing this, you risk the chance of your client being unhappy, and asking for a refund. This steps may include:

Operating or using
Placement
Hook Up, or connections
Protection
Maintain
Customer portal

Ask for Referrals

When was the last time you asked one of your better customers if they knew anyone that was interested in coming to see you? There are probably many sales people in your company that do at least 25-50% of their business off or repeat business and referrals. The cheapest and most effective advertising ever invented is word of mouth advertising, or friends and family making recommendations about where to go or who to see if they are shopping for “X”. How is your entrepreneurship outside the office? Word of mouth doesn’t have hours of operation. Providing tremendous service, or making the sales process as easy as possible, leads to referrals. You can also point blank as them, or at the very least remind them what you do, and that they should tell everyone they know what it is you do.

These are the steps to a quality sales process, taking the customer from start to finish. In this illustration, we did not cover a client that did not buy, because that topic is called follow-up, and we will cover later on. If you have these steps properly prepared, and you make the process as easy as you can, you will close more sales, and retain more clients.

Whatever you do, keep it simple. #itaintrocketsurgery

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