One of the first things I usually find out when I visit a new client is that they don’t have a sales process mapped out for their company. Every company’s sales process should mirror their customers buying process. Without a sales process, the selling experience is much more difficult to manage or to obtain consistent results … it also can cause major confusion all round!
Selling is a process, without a sales process the buyer will feel at least one the following…
“You had a chance to gain my commitment but missed it”
“You didn’t know how to justify the cost of your product/service”
“You’ve left it too long to follow up”
“You’ve just talked at me at not helped me”
Selling is just like any process, a good one will help us be more effective and focused on what we are trying to achieve at each stage.
According to the ISMM, 79% of all marketing leads don’t convert into sales. For this reason alone, it’s important then that we qualify effectively to avoid wasting the prospects and our time. We want to be spending the majority of our time with the 21% that do convert.
Because of this, at this part of the process we need to ask hard questions about whether we believe the prospect is genuinely interested in joining our sales process. We are not trying at this stage to convince them to buy from us, rather find out whether we want to sell to them. If so, we then need to ask them directly for commitment to move to the next stage.
At this point, the qualified prospect will be in a position to tell us more about what they are looking for. We will explore what their motivations are for burying and we will spend time asking open questions that will reveal their business needs and emotional wants with regards to our products and services.
It is at this stage that we discover the gaps that we can potentially fill and the value of our products and services our prospects.
Once we have clarified the prospect’s buying motivations, it is important to gain commitment to move on to the next stage. This will let us know that they are serious about doing business with us and they are happy to be presented with a solution that will add value to their business.
Following up on the discovery stage requires us to provide information that shows that we understand what our prospect is looking for and that we have a value proposition that will satisfy these needs.
This could be in many formats, e-mail, written proposal or full presentation. It depends on the buyer’s expectations and the overall value of the deal.
Many buyers like negotiating just for fun, don’t deny them. Some buyers need clarification or the specification and requirements have changed. In any case, negotiation is usually just a clarification of the contents of the proposal.
We should not miss out this stage as it gives us the opportunity to ensure we haven’t gone left field or that circumstances have changed. We need to make sure the buyer is satisfied that we have provided a great solution to their requirements before we move on to the next stage.
Ask for the business
If we do everything else right, we will not have any problems asking for the business. We don’t need to go on any sales course to learn how to close a sale in 100 different ways…
All we have to do is follow our sales process and if we qualified well at each stage to gain agreement from the prospect to move along with us they will be expecting us to ask! Nicely of course…
If you need to more on this subject please contact me.