The 7 Steps of a Great Sales Process

May 2, 2014 | Sales

Ryan Williams sales process with Justin Farrell

In order for any business to grow there needs to be some income, which is brought in through sales. Everyone can agree on that. But how should you go about the sales process? Should you just ask everyone to buy your product? Sure—if you want to hear “no” a lot. Today I’ll lay out seven steps of the sales process that I feel are key to any business.

1. Know your product.

Knowing your product or service makes sense, right? But I’m surprised by the number of sales people I’ve met (as a consumer) who don’t know their product or service very well, and just try to fake it. This gives a poor impression to consumers, especially if they know you are wrong. Faking it helps neither you nor the customer. If you’re at a loss, be honest and find the answer, so you can both learn together.

2. Know your buyer persona.

Put simply, your buyer persona is your ideal and/or typical customer. Complete awareness of the buyer is key in your sales efforts. It increases efficiency by preventing you from marketing to the wrong customer. If you haven’t formally established your buyer persona, I recommend doing so now. Be sure to write it down so you have a visual reminder of who you aim to talk to every day. 

3. Build the relationship.

This step should be ongoing throughout the sales process. Remember that those you engage with are people. In all of your interactions, make the person feel welcomed and comfortable. You don’t need to talk about personal things (like health problems or crazy relatives). Just light conversation shows that you’re sincere and can help break down the walls that are often built when someone is approached by a salesperson. 

4. Discover their needs.

Once the defense barrier is down, ask some questions, opening doors to any needs that your business can fill. Present noninvasive questions at first. I’d never just walk up to someone and say, “Hi, do you need help marketing?” It should be more like, “I see you have a great website; how do you promote it?” or, “Do you sell your product in just this store?” These questions allow the customer to talk, while you listen. Discovering their current needs enables you make strong, relevant recommendations.

5. Propose solutions.

If you have asked good questions and have led the conversation the right way, you should be able to develop some solutions for the customer’s problems. You can then recommend your product or service by explaining your benefits and how it meets a need. Communicate your solutions well to customers—because if it doesn’t help them, why would they care?

6. Ask for the sale.

I like to use trial closes when I’m selling, with simple “yes” or “no” questions. Help clients see the advantages, encouraging them to agree with you, so they aren’t in a “no” state of mind. Then, simply ask for the sale. It may just be, “How about we get this paperwork finished so we can get you moving forward?”

7. Follow up.

If you are unable to close during the meeting, that’s okay! They may still buy. Make sure you follow up with any potential customer, ensuring you are answering questions and available for them when needed. If you did close the sale, still follow up to confirm that everything is going well.

As a business owner and consumer, it’s imperative to understand the sales process. You may not realize it, but some form of a sales methodology is used in every aspect of your business. Give it your best! And remember that you are selling to another human. Be honest and real, and you’ll see the benefits of doing sales well.

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