When it comes to making a sale, you won’t get far if you’re not talking to the right customer. There are things you need to know about a customer from the start to determine whether you’re working up to a potential sale or simply wasting your time and energy.
Sure, your product or service is great, but isn’t right for everyone. Establishing a solid sales process allows you to narrow your list of prospective customers so you can focus your efforts on the right ones.
Asking the right questions from the start helps you determine whether your product makes sense for the customer. It’s important to find out essential information such as if your product can solve a problem, if it can save time or money and if working with you is even within their budget.
You can go further and find out if they’re using a competitor’s product and how satisfied they are with the results. Finally, it’s essential to determine how fast they can make a buying decision to see how serious they really are about cementing a deal.
Once you’ve determined what you believe you need to know about your buyers, see if your assumptions are correct about solving their problems, saving them money or how close they are to a purchase. You may need more criteria, fewer or to revise how you believe you’re serving customers.
Use this experience to continuously refine your approach to ensure you’re speaking to your target market.
The conversion funnel is an integral part of the sales process that can help you achieve your monthly or weekly goals. Though it’s a funnel, you can assemble it from the bottom up, starting with the number of closed deals you set as a goal for the end of the week or month.
Then, using your conversion rate of qualified deals to closed deals, figure how many qualified deals you’ll need to reach your goal. Continue working up the funnel to the number of sales calls you’ll need to make to acquire the right number of qualified deals.
At the top of the funnel will be the number of prospects you need to contact in the week or month to have the right number of sales calls.
Once you’ve found a process that works for you, keep yourself challenged by increasing your goal each month. If you’re able to maintain a steady level of growth, think of the progress you’ll make by the end of the year.
A prospect goes through a number of stages along the path to a buying decision. As a sales professional, it’s important to understand these phases so you’re able to capitalize on them. Steps a typical buyer may go through include:
While the buyer and the sales professional are part of the same transaction, they don’t necessarily share the same perspective. Five steps of the sales process from the view of the sales professional can include:
As a sales professional, it is important to understand that stages in your sales perspective must align with the buyer’s to earn the initial sale and retain the customer for future business. Tailor your sales strategy to meet the objectives of the buyer and enjoy a much higher success rate. When you know what the customer is looking for, you’re able to deliver in a more efficient manner that speaks directly to their needs.
Learning more about sales such as by taking courses in an online advanced professional sales and sales management certificate program can equip you with effective sales techniques or teach you how to effectively manage an entire sales operation.
Being a national sales manager for a top-tier company has given me a great deal of experience in working with colleagues and customers. The Expert Selling course has given me even more weapons to get goals and objectives done. One of the many things I learned was "keep It simple." The business world has become very impersonal. The email maze has taken away much of the personal contact we had with customers and our own colleagues. Emails should be short and sweet, not novels. Another key learning was to let the customers know exactly what your services can deliver, and what need your product will fulfill. The instructors at the University of San Francisco were all great and really knew their topics and discussion points. Good luck to all, and I will see you in the “sales arena”!
West Chester, PA