Making sales is a process, not an event. When selling becomes a series of steps, a system for communicating with people that is followed consistently, results will follow.
Any sales process should include the following elements:
1) Get a Lead
2) Make Your Approach
3) Fact Find / Understand your Prospects Needs
4) Present a Solution
5) Answer Questions and/or Objections
6) Ask for the business
Get a Lead:
There is no selling without a prospective buyer. This article will not focus on generating leads.
If you have a unique method or ideas for generating leads, please share with the group and post a comment below.
However, we will be covering what an effective lead should contain.
A lead should consist of someone who may be willing or able to buy. The more qualified your lead is, the more likely they fall within this category. A lead may be a cold name and number from a list, an owner or executive of a business or organization, someone who has requested information, someone you know or have met through networking, or a referral.
Make Your Approach:
Once you have a lead, your next step is to approach your prospect in order to begin the process of communicating with them. Depending on your industry or your style, your approach may be written or verbal. Regardless, your approach should do three things.
- You want to grab the attention of your prospect. In most cases, your prospects are not just sitting around waiting for you to introduce yourself. Therefore, it is important to get them focused immediately. If your initial approach is verbal, Id advise you to use your prospects name as an attention grabber. People experience almost an entire watt of electricity pass through their brain when they hear their first name. Similarly, if your approach is written, find out the name and correct spelling of the decision makers name. Furthermore, your written approach must create value for your prospect immediately so that they sit up and read on.
- Your approach should identify who you are, who you represent, and briefly state your purpose in communicating with them. The most effective way to accomplish this is by creating value and or curiosity in the mind of your prospect.
- Third, your approach should include how much time the next step will require, and involve some form of approval to move forward. Let your prospect engage with you before diving in.
Fact Find / Understand Your Prospects Needs:
Never, and I mean never, present without first getting information from your prospect and understanding his or her needs and motivations. This involves asking questions and listening to the responses. Most people dont feel truly listened too very often, if at all. Therefore, genuine listening provides a benefit to your prospect as well as to you. Specifically:
- You build rapport by getting people talking about themselves and issues that are important to them;
- You determine if they are in fact prospects with whom you should be spending time (i.e. Do we have a potential win-win situation here?) and
- You learn invaluable information that you can use in presentation and objection handling.
Point of this stage, listen more than you talk. Furthermore, paraphrasing what youve heard can be helpful to ensure that youve understood them correctly.
Present a Solution:
Okay, now it is time for you to do most of the talking. This is where you present your solution to someone that you know is qualified to hear it, in light of your newfound understanding of your prospects needs.
Highlight the key features of your product or service in a logical way. Demonstrate how it will benefit your prospect by focusing on what you know is important to them. If you have a story to illustrate a key point that is relevant to your prospect, use it.
It is useful to periodically engage your prospects in your presentation with an occasional question like Does that make sense?, or to use a trial close that give you an idea of whether they are with you such as Do you feel like this might help you to accomplish X? Also, look for buying signals from your prospect, both verbal (in the form of buying questions or comments) and non-verbal (if applicable).
Take care to avoid overselling your prospect by talking on and on. This can kill a sale by exhausting your prospect with too much information and too much to consider. Let the momentum in your presentation peak, then pipe down and move on to the next step.
Answer Questions / Handle Objections:
Your presentation should have addressed many common questions and objections already. However, it is very natural for your prospect to have additional questions and concerns. This is not an adversarial step by any means. Objections are actually signs of a prospects interest in buying. So dont be scared of hearing an objection, welcome them.
When a question is asked, validate your prospect’s experience by genuinely saying that is a great question, Im glad you asked that or absolutely before you address their concern.
Ask for the Business:
Remember, making sales is a process.
By now, you are dealing with a qualified prospect that has motivations and needs in line with your solution; youve presented your solution, validated and answered the prospects questions and objections.
The next logical step is to ask for the business. Simply asking is the simplest and most straightforward way to close.
For example, a real estate agent might ask, shall we get started selling your home? You may also like using an alternate choice close. For example, an insurance agent might ask, all well need right now to get you covered is a first months premium; or, many of my clients prefer to pay for the year at the outset in order to save money in the long run. What makes more sense for you?
If they answer with either of the options youve provided, youve just closed. Note that when using the alternative choice close you are assuming that you are going to be doing business, and you are just getting clarity regarding the details. This can be very effective if the situation fits.
Experiment for yourself and see (share your results with the group and post a comment.) The point here is, dont rely solely on your brilliant presentation and objection handling to get the deal done. Unless youre prospect closes themselves, youll have to ask!
When executing the entire sales process: Relax, have fun and be yourself. Come from a place of service and truly care about assisting your prospects and clients. Sometimes youll get a no, and sometimes youll get a yes. Both outcomes are healthy and necessary.
Believe in yourself, be confident, and be grateful for being in a great profession.
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