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An efficient sales process typically has 5 steps meant to facilitate the salesperson’s progression from hunting to closing. A comprehensive study of your industry will determine what steps are you need to benefit your business.
An efficient and short sales process requires a lot of work and fine-tuning. All the more reason for taking the necessary time to adjust and customize each step of the sales process to reflect the particularities of your industry.
5 Elements of a Sales Process in Their Appropriate Order
- Consultative Selling
- Value Selling
The first step of an efficient sales process is to secure an appointment with a prospect. A salesperson can use social selling on LinkedIn, cold call, trade shows, inbound marketing or any other method to find his or her leads. Regardless, reps at this stage are looking to schedule a meeting, either face to face, virtual or by phone to discuss why they should consider continuing the process with you.
I’m often asked about the part that email plays. Note that an email correspondence can’t be considered an appropriate replacement for an in-person meeting. A discussion must always follow an email correspondence – that conversation meeting is still considered part of the hunting process.
In some organizations, the hunter role might be specialized. In others, every sales rep will be responsible for their hunting.
During the consulting phase, an in-depth discussion and an interview with the prospect will lead reps to a better understanding of their reasons for going into business with you. This step should provide prospects with the incentive to buy from you.
During this phase, salespeople need to ask a lot of questions. By being attentive and inquiring about the client’s needs, reps show they are concerned about their needs and delivering the right solution. Sales reps demonstrate that they’ve considered all the appropriate solutions for the prospect’s need, which have gone above and beyond. By earning their client’s trust, they put to rest their fear of being used.
Now that sales representatives have provided their prospect with the incentive to buy your product or service, it’s up to them to show your value. A prospect may understand the reasons for spending more money, but what’s preventing them from going to a competitor? The value aspect of the sales process is critical: get clients to focus on your value rather than on price.
At this stage, a salesperson needs to go through their qualification criteria checklist.
- What are the client’s funds?
- What is their decision-making process?
- What are their criteria?
- Are they committed to buy from you?
- Are they qualified to do business with you?
- Are you qualified to do business with them?
This step provides reps with the details needed when presenting the prospect in the final step.
Closing the Sale
The effort required to close the sale will depend on the efforts made in the earlier steps of the sales process. If the consulting, value selling and qualifying are executed correctly and exhaustively, there shouldn’t be much effort in closing.
Closing should be a natural result of all the work put in steps one through five. If it isn’t, then it becomes a hurdle rather than a logical outcome.
Why Reps Should Qualify Only After the Consultative and Value Selling Steps
Why should your salespeople put in the effort to do consultative and value selling before even qualifying your prospect?
By qualifying too early reps, in fact, risk disqualifying a good prospect simply because they don’t yet have an incentive to answer your questions, or even to be honest with you. A prospect can’t make an informed decision about moving forward before first understanding the benefits and value of your offer.
Your potential client needs to understand why spending the amount of money your salespeople are suggesting is not an outrageous idea. Steps one and two will allow reps to make the distinction between “I can’t spend,” “I don’t have the money to spend,” and “I won’t spend!” These are nuances sales representatives can decipher if they’ve performed the steps in the appropriate order and will impact how they will approach the following steps.
Again, they need to get their client to focus on the benefits of doing business with your company – your value – not on the financial aspects.
By setting up an efficient sales process, aim to remove all obstacles between your sales representatives and the final signature, and to overcome a client’s resistance. Following this sequence is the best way to optimize your sales representative’s performance and closing ratio.
Lack of consultative selling, value selling qualifying and closing skills are some reasons why sales cycles are long, and customers don’t buy.