A Sales Process can be as complex as you need it to be, however, the proper way to develop a sales process is to make it as detailed as needed, and no more.
Creating a sales process is like making cookies from scratch. It requires a recipe (or process), which includes steps and ingredients. Deviating from the process is like adding the butter before creaming it, which would result in inconsistent results. Either way, the result will be a cookie, but one will be superior to the other. Processes are important to every aspect of making a sale.
Just like with a recipe there are a series of steps to follow for optimal results.
A process is a methodical approach involving a series of steps to reach a desired outcome. A sales process is the approach enabling your team to increase revenue.
It’s important to note HOW the end results are achieved, especially when it comes to making money. Once your process is defined, you’ll have a benchmark that you can tweak and improve.
A solid sales process is important to maintain an adequate pipeline and the following are key principles of the sales process:
FOCUS & PREP
While you do want to sell as much of your product as you can, it’s important to narrow down your target market in order to effectively sell your product.
You need to define exactly who you sell to because if you chase 2 squirrels, you end up with no squirrels. You need to define your ideal client and know everything about them. You must know everything about their challenges, pain points, desires & goals, and their hot button.
The best way to determine this is by looking at your previous BEST clients. I don’t care what 90% of your client’s say, I want to deeply understand the 10% that pay me the most money and I have the most fun working with.
Once you have this, go look for more people that fit this avatar. They are called your prospects.
Having potential clients is the first ingredient to closing a deal. The person you reach out to will vary on the target market, however, you need to have a strategy in your outreach. Are you going to meet them at a networking event? Are you going to send them a cold email or cold call them? Will you ask a mutual contact for an introduction? Will you use some form or marketing to attract them?
There are a million ways to do the job but all you need is one good way. That one way will likely depend heavily on who it’s that you’re targeting and what you’re trying to sell them. Don’t just go for the latest craze in sales, it’s important to sell to your prospect in the manner they buy.
You can include using different platforms and tools to identify potential clients and/or use an existing database. An old prospect who didn’t become a client in the past may suddenly need a second look.
A crucial step is getting to know your potential clients. Researching the company and understanding their situation will allow you to tailor the sales pitch.
Once you have identified who you’re going after, you’ll need to know something about them in order to reach out to them. Without that, you come off like a bull in a china shop, trying to sell them. You must create some level of common ground and look to finesse your way into a conversation. Also, in researching your prospect, you’ll also learn what the best approach is to connect with them.
If this sounds tedious, it is, but don’t be lazy. In the early days, you’ll have to do these steps manually and it will take time. But after a while, you’ll see patterns emerge and then you can create a ‘template’ that you can scale with automation. Do things that don’t scale, until they do!
The biggest mistake people make is trying to automate too quickly, they don’t have their message honed in yet, but they blast off 1000 emails. This is how you can hurt your chances of ever making a sale because you sound like a greasy salesperson.
You can’t sell what you don’t touch. Reach out to them and get the conversation started. Don’t come in too hot, finesse the outreach and make it about them; get them engaged and allow for the conversation to naturally lead to the pitch.
Now, in this situation, everyone will tell you to give value. But it’s important to realize what’s valuable to you may be meaningless to the other person.
Now, when you were doing your research, you should’ve learned enough about your prospect to know what you don’t know. This will allow you to have genuine curiosity and start with a relevant and personalized question or talking point.
Start with that!
DISCOVER & SOLVE
Once a prospect has made it through the initial stages and is deemed a fit, is when you start talking solution.
Listen… the old saying goes, “you should listen 2x as much as you speak” – that’s great and all, but I know many bad salespeople who do a fair amount of listening.
You have to know what you’re listening for, not only that, but if the conversation never goes there, you won’t have the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation. If you spend your entire time listening they may tell you all about their pregnant dog and you get nowhere.
Now, this step is the most important because this is where the sale happens, so listen up!
First thing’s first, know what you’re looking for. You need to know what problems you may be able to solve and how you can help. If you don’t know that, you have no business in talking to the prospect, this is why the research and prep section is very important.
Once you know what problem you solve, you need to have a series of conversation starters and tailored questions that you ask, with an intimate understanding of knowing what answers you’re looking for. If you don’t get the answers you need, the prospect isn’t a fit, if you hear the magic words, then you can move to the ‘solve’ part.
Now, this is another spot where I see many salespeople mess up.
It isn’t enough to uncover the problem, you need to solve it or at least show that you can.
If you’re selling a product, don’t just tell them, show them.
If you’re selling a service, give them exact steps of action on how you’ll solve their problem.
I see too many salespeople hold their cards too close to their chest here in hopes the client will sign up before they demonstrate effectively.
Yes, you have qualified them as a fit, but it works both ways and they have to sign off on you too. Give them a reason to; make them believe that they can’t live without moving forward with your solution. This will happen only if you tie it back to their situation and show how you and only you can solve their problems and pains.
This stage can vary depending on the solution offered but this is where the prospect becomes a client and gives you the money.
Now in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to deal with this step, but not everything in this world is perfect.
The salesperson’s job starts when the prospect says “NO”. Anyone can sell to the guy that walks off the street and says “I want that one”.
If you don’t know what to say when your client says “Let me think about it”, let me know, I will help you through it.
It is very important to ensure clients are happy with the outcome of the sale, as happy clients will be able to provide referrals to add to the pipeline.
It’s important to note that although these are the basic steps in a sales process, the process should be tailored to best suit the needs of your business and clientele.
A solid process will result in outcomes that can be predicted, steps that can be repeated, and tangible results can be realized.