Despite the impression you might get when Googling “sales processes”, the truth is, there is no one size fits all sales process. In fact, no two sales processes are going to be alike. There are just too many variables to consider: B2B, B2C, short term selling cycles, long term selling cycles, customer acquisition costs, etc…
That being said, there is a selling roadmap that you probably should be following in one form or another. Here’s how it goes:
The first thing you need to do is identify your target market. Get as specific as you possibly can — people, geographic indicators, industry sector, age, gender. How many people are in your target market? What are their needs? What is their pain? What is the competition doing to serve them?
Once you know who you’re targeting, you can start to generate interest and leads. There are loads of ways you can do this, including social media, traditional advertising, PR, search engine optimisation, referrals, online and live networking, sales calls, emails, blogs, and so on.
Next you need to actually interact with people, which includes both those people who are actively interested in your products or services and those you can turn into warm leads. This should entail brilliant open questioning on your part. Figure out what they want, what they need, who’s deciding, and who influences the decision maker?
- Match or no match?
At this point, you need to decide whether you can help them or not. If so, how can you help them? What can they get by buying your offering? What pain will they be able to avoid?
Now it’s time to set out your offering. You might do this verbally (in the case of being in a shop, talking over coffee, or being on the phone), you may do this formally in the form of a written proposal or tender. Use the info you gathered at the Engage stage above to decide what to include in the proposal and the way in which your potential customer needs to receive the information.
- Follow Up
Don’t just put your offer out there and leave it — you need to get feedback, one way or the other. If you’re not sure how to do it, check this post out.
If you got the sale…
Congratulations! But no resting on your laurels. Is there any cross-selling potentials? Anything you could upsell? Will they need to set up a repeat purchase? If so, set a reminder. And of course, remember to ask them for referrals.
If you didn’t get the sale…
Could you find out the reason? Was it because a competitor’s offering was a better fit? Was it something about the way you delivered your pitch? Whatever the reason, make sure you still follow up. Just because it’s a no now doesn’t mean it will be a no forever.
Remember, every business is going to go through these steps differently
You’re going to approach this roadmap differently than other businesses will, so it’s important that you get to know your own sales process. That way, you can apply targets for each stage, monitor, and manage how successful you are at each point — which is the best way to improve.
Until next time