There are lots of versions of the sales process. Some have five steps and others have 7. You’ll probably even find a few different ones throughout this site as well, but for the sake of a sales beginner identifying their weaknesses within the process, ours will go like this.
1. Lead Generation or Prospecting
It is said that a business can have 1 of 3 main problems; either it has a lack of leads, a lack of conversion, or a lack of manpower or product to satisfy the demand. Lead generation is where it all begins. Leads can be purchased, provided by an automated sales funnel, or prospected by yourself.
If you find yourself less busy than you want to be, lead generation is probably your weakness.
2. Qualifying Leads
Learning about your lead is an essential part of the process because you can waste time pursuing a company or person who would not best suit your product or service. They may not be best suited because because they don’t want or need it, can’t afford it, or another reason based on who your ideal customer is.
If it seems your leads are interested but ghost you somewhere along the sales process and are never brought to close, you’re likely barking up the wrong tree.
What points of criteria can you write down that would help you qualify your lead for your product or service?
For example. If you’re a loan officer looking for leads, you might want your lead to have good credit, a history of making large purchases or intent to purchase something substantial within the next year, and a job.
Create your own checklist. This way, you will know exactly which questions to ask your lead to be sure that neither of you are wasting each other’s time. This exercise will also assist you in the previous step, lead generation and prospecting because it provides you criteria for brainstorming where you can be looking for quality leads or how to acquire new customers by other means (such as strategically placed ads and sales funnels).
Some sales processes skip this step. Maybe you had to call your lead to ask them the questions that qualified them, and in that step, you were able to introduce yourself to them. Some processes qualify a lead financially by using an online tool and the introduction has not yet been made. In this step, you might make your first impression. Make it good!
If your email open rate is low or many people don’t call you back, you’re lacking in your approach. You might benefit by further diversifying or experimenting, like meeting them in person or having a mutual contact introduce you.
4. The Presentation
If successful, you’ll get the opportunity to give your presentation or provide more information, pushing your lead deeper into the process. Your presentation should likely be short and to the point. Successful presentation steps can contain as little as a demonstration and “fact sheet” of features and benefits with a call to action at the bottom or as much as a full powerpoint presentation.
If your presentation ends and there are no questions or feedback, your audience could be under or overwhelmed. Ask for their feedback and questions so that you can continue to evolve and better serve your ideal market.
5. Handling Objections
This step is often the hairiest for salespeople. Do you know what you will say in response to popular objections to your product/service? More simply, do you know all the answers to the most popular questions people have in response to your product/service?
If you’re running into the same objections over and over again and not overcoming them (closing the sale, on the spot or later on), you’ve got some problem solving to do. If the prospect is properly qualified, you should be closing at a decent rate even after their objections. You’ve already determined that you will provide them with ample value. What is this pain point preventing them from bettering their life or business and how can you ease that pain?
6. Closing and Following Up
If you’ve acquired the customer’s money and any information from them you require, you’ve closed the sale. It’s important to follow up in an attempt to retain the customer for future purchases. Sometimes this step is also referred to as ‘Close and Deliver’, but we prefer a sale live a bit longer with our last step, success management.
If the check continuously is not hitting the bank, it’s likely you have an issue with the operations part of your sale. Did you make it easy for them to complete any paperwork and get your payment to you? Moreover, if you’ve got their payment and any required information, but there are steps beyond that they should but haven’t taken, they likely need more assistance from you.
7. Success Management
It costs seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. However, you can provide additional service or continue to follow up, you should and here’s why. According to an article by Constant Contact, because repeat customers spend 300 percent more than new customers (!), retaining just 5% more of your customers will result in up to 75% more profitability. Repeat customers are also easier to sell to and refer others to you more often.
If you do not acquire your customers’ repeat business and referrals, you’re likely not “managing their success” better than another company. Brainstorm ways you can stay top of mind long after your sales is complete!
Nethercott, Rustin. (2017, May 22). 5 Reasons Why Repeat Customers Are Better Than New Customers. Constant Contact. Retrieved from https://blogs.constantcontact.com/repeat-customers/