Sales processes may include anywhere from three to ten steps, depending on your product or service and who you’re selling to. And, it should mirror the process that your customers actually use when buying, also known as the buyer’s journey. The most common ones include 5 steps or 7 steps. Here we’ll review the simple 5 step sales process.
The stages of the 5 step sales process are:
During the initial contact, reps should begin by introducing themselves and explain why they’re calling. Perhaps the lead showed interested in your product of service during a conference or a friend or colleague referred them as a lead. Giving them this information will refresh their memory and provide context for the outreach.
Once the stage is set, it’s important to build rapport. Establish mutual interests by initiating positive and genuine conversation. This helps to make the prospective customer comfortable and more willing to discuss their needs and interests.
To discover the prospect’s needs, reps need to have a series of standard questions prepared. This prevents them from forgetting to ask about any important details while guiding the conversation. Plus, this makes them look more professional to potential customers. These questions should be open-ended to encourage the prospect to talk. Reps need to be sure to listen more than they speak at this point in the sales process. Although they may be tempted, they should not start discussing product at this point. The goal is to thoroughly understand the prospect’s situation, challenges and motivations to potentially make a change by purchasing your product or service. This makes it easier for your team members to tailor their sales pitch or demo to each specific prospect. Plus it allows them to anticipate any objections by understanding what might prevent the potential customer from moving forward with your solution. Examples of questions that might be included in this stage are:
When all questions have been discussed, it is important that your reps verify their understanding of what the prospect told them. The best way for them to do this is by recapping what they heard and requesting confirmation. This ensures that the rep is on the same page as the prospect before proceeding to the next step. If needed, additional questions may be asked to clear up any areas the rep misinterpreted.
Now it’s time to clearly communicate a solution in terms of the prospects needs, challenges and desired results. This is effectively accomplished by connecting the potential customer’s needs and wants with the corresponding features and benefits of your product offering. This is why it is critical that reps gain a clear understanding of what is discussed during needs discovery. Plus, any additional information learned during rapport building or, if applicable, about the prospect’s company and industry are useful to know before offering a solution. This will provide additional context and facilitate an even better quality presentation or demo of your product. Be sure that your reps make note of any specific benefits in which the prospect is most enthusiastic about. This is often useful for reinforcement when closing the sale.
Once a solution has been presented to the prospective customer, they usually have questions or concerns. These are also referred to as objections. There are usually a limited number of recurring objections for any given offering. Keep a record of these and what responses are best for addressing these. Sharing this information across your sales team will ensure that your reps won’t be caught off guard by an objection and will always be prepared with the most effective responses to remove any roadblocks to closing the sale.
When it appears all objections or concerns have been answered, it’s time to close the sale. This is where prospects commit to purchase or to stop the process. It is just one step in what may be a very long sales cycle. While this may seem like the most important step, it is only successful when all the previous steps have been completed properly and in order. There are hundreds of different closing techniques, tips and tricks, but the most important thing to remember is that it is not a standalone event. When the sale is made, prospects agree on your terms and price or negotiate for mutually beneficial ones. All objections have been addressed and all details are finalized for delivery, fulfilment or related actions. This may also involve introductions to others in your company who will be handling these next steps.
You’ll want to be sure that your reps stay in touch with customers to make sure any installation goes smoothly, that the product or service is functioning to their satisfaction and that there aren’t any issues. This will allow them to maintain the relationship and assist with any problems as they occur. It’s important to keep your new customers happy. By nurturing an ongoing relationship with them, they’re often receptive to purchasing additional products or services and repeat business. Plus, they are a terrific source of referrals! A great way to continue these relationships is through marketing communications such as updates about new offerings, industry news, an e-newsletter or some sort of interactive rewards program. This way, your customers will always think of your company first when they have a related requirement or a friend who has one.
So, there you have it, the 5 step sales process. Is this the right one for your business? Some businesses require a shorter process and other need a much longer process such as the 7 step sales process. Regardless of how long yours is, having a sales process is important to your company’s success.
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