7 Ways to Streamline Your Sales Process by Becky Auer
Sales can make or break your business.
They are basically the lifeblood of your business. Sales depend on an equally important sales process that can be taught, mastered, and perfected over time. When clear step by step processes are provided and expected to be followed, you are 82% more likely to make a sale than if no sales process was established in your place of business.
The secret to having a successful sales process and meeting your sales target is understanding the basic principles of the sales process. Remember that the success of your business is dependent on you, and your team if you have one, so include them while you create and enhance your sales process. I have found this makes it easier to hold them accountable too!
When you go back to the basics, it serves more than one purpose. It gives you an opportunity to train your team and more importantly set sales targets for each member as well as create incentives for achieving your goals.
Even the most experienced salesperson should go back to basics once in a while. Let’s look at the basics of a typical sales process in a step-by-step manner so you can reach and achieve your sales goals.
A sales process is a little different for everyone and can be adapted to suit every industry, from a super mega-sales presentation to a one-on-one sales conversation. There are seven steps to a sales process, and one process builds on the next process, and as such, you and your staff should strive to master the first process before moving to the next.
1. Make sure you have adequate knowledge of the industry, the product, and the customer!
When you master your content knowledge on a product or service, it will build confidence whether you are on the sales floor, in meetings, or when making presentations. This is one area you have control over so take advantage of it! Besides, you should stay on top of things and be organized. First impressions inspire confidence in your clients and eventually boost sales.
An example that comes to mind is an auto repair shop. Most are dirty with nowhere to sit. Just imagine if you had a sparkling clean area to check your car in and pay for services along with popcorn popping and a tv area available or a place to use your laptop if you had to wait. Would that make your experience better? You bet.
Understand your clients and target market
Understanding your clients and the target market gives you an upper hand towards building meaningful relationships. How do you do that? Well, it’s more simple than you think. Begin by researching information about your target market, establish common ground, and as you approach clients, make sure your interest is evident to them. This will allow you to build trust and eventually make a sale.
Understand your industry inside and out
Staying informed on new developments and trends in your industry matters! You are positioning yourself as the expert so you should always stay one step ahead of your client. Consistently search for new information, and when you have an opportunity, make an impression with the information by sharing it through email, a newsletter, or when clients visit your store. One way I do this is by setting up Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts on each of my clients and their industries.
2. Establish a long-term relationship based on trust
Long-term relationships with a client build on trust, but you will be surprised to learn that the first few minutes of your interaction matter. How do you go about that first contact? I do it by breaking the ice and having a relaxed conversation, establish our common goals or working together, and finally by establishing my credibility.
You can follow these steps to do this for yourself:
• Have a firm handshake (no limp hands here), make eye contact, and briefly introduce yourself Break the ice with easy open-ended questions
• Make the client understand that their interest is your priority
• Try and connect on interests and common grounds
• Display knowledge of the product or service
• Mirror your client! What’s that? You mimic the behavior and language of a client. Try it. It works great.
3. Focus and discuss in detail the desire, want, or existing problem
When starting your conversation, use open-ended questions to establish their needs.
Show your concern by leading the customer to tell you the features and price range of the products or services they want to buy following these simple steps:
• Listen to what a client is saying and repeat their statement, so you’re sure you understand what they are saying.
• Ask your clients questions for clarification purposes and also to make an impression on your clients that you are listening.
• Always pose open-ended questions. Listen and establish the unique motivating factors that make them interested in the product or service.
4. Focus on benefits and offer solutions
Once you understand what the prospects are searching for, highlight the benefits of the products or the service.
• Explain how the product or service will meet their specific needs.
• Use reviews or examples to give the prospect a positive user experience by previous customers. If you can have a person, who has used your product or service in person, even better. This is done a lot at weight loss clinics or dental offices selling high-end procedures.
• Highlight benefits, unique features, as well as advantages
• Offer down-sell, up-sell, and mid-range product as alternate choices
• Use closed questions that necessitate a yes or no answer to reach an agreement on the product or the service
5. Know what possible objections may come up and overcome using empathy
Anticipate possible objections through body language and the questions being asked by the client. Use open-ended questions such as ‘what’s important to you….? How do you see…..?’ to anticipate an objection.
You will get objections. We ALL do. So, when you get an objection:
1. For clarification purposes, repeat what the client has said
2. Empathize with what the prospect is saying by relating to them and provide a relevant response that tries to resolve the issue
3. Go over their statement again and be sure you have overcome the issue
4. If you decide the objection has not yet been resolved, go through the process again
Here are seven objections that you are likely to hear from a prospect
1. I am going to buy the product later (as there isn’t a reason to buy it now)
2. Let me think it over again before I make a decision
3. I don’t think I can afford it now
4. There is a better price offered somewhere else
5. I have always bought this product from my favorite retailer
6. I can’t make the purchase decision alone because I need approval from my significant other
7. I can’t seem to get the relevant parties to agree on making the purchase
Have a master list of objections and how to counter them
Create a master list that counters the objections by looking at your experience; what’s worked and what didn’t. Have the list accessible to all salespeople for reference purposes and further improvement.
6. Make a closure with confidence as well as awareness
You have to patiently wait as timing means everything when it comes to making a successful sale. You should only attempt to close when you feel the prospect is ready to seal the deal.
Ask yourself these simple questions:
• Has the customer established that the product will meet their needs?• Does the client fully understand the benefits?
• Are there unanswered questions from the prospect?
• Are there any other related factors that can enhance the chance of making a sale?
• Is there a sense of urgency for the client to buy now?
• Is the client feeling secure in making the purchase?
When you anticipate that the client is ready to purchase, you can use the following questions to complete the sale:
• Can we get started?
-Would you like help to implement this?
• Can the product be delivered as early as (date), is it appropriate for you?
• Should I get a new product for you from the back of our store?
• I’ll go ahead and get your credit card and take care of the transaction now.
• We can begin as early as next week if we receive payment this week.
7. Add the customer to a retention program and schedule a follow-up
Add your customer to your database so that you can keep in contact with them. Get a testimonial if they have a good user experience. Incorporate cross-selling, down-selling, or up-selling into the business.
Up-selling boosts your sales
Test your prospect with a better product that has higher quality, comes with the latest features, and higher price. Begin by making mid-range products and subsequently scale higher as you learn the needs and motivating factors of your prospect.
Cross-sell to enhance your sales
This means selling complimentary products in conjunction with each other. This will not only help you increase your sales but also enhance the user experience and customer satisfaction in the long run. For instance, if you sell suits, offer a shirt and tie to match.
Down-sell prevents a possible loss of sale
Down-selling involves offering a product of a lower value when you anticipate that a prospect can’t afford what you are offering. You probably see this all the time in internet marketing. One website I visit on occasion has a pop up that offers a down sell when I try and leave the sales page without buying. It’s quite clever, and I end up taking advantage of the down sell on many occasions.
Sales can be a complex or straightforward system. It can also have many layers that build on one another. The system can be improved and made more effective with practice and dedication.
Always keep in mind that even the most experienced salesperson should go back to the basics to refresh their sales skills and technique from time to time.
The more your sales team interacts with these basic sales principles, skills, and techniques, the more they perfect and increase sales. And don’t forget to inspect what you expect from your salesforce! Most salespeople WANT to do a good job and have more training.
So, make sure you give it to them!
About Becky Auer
Becky Auer has started 3 multi-million dollar businesses. The last was a Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar that she took from $0 to $6.5M in just over a year and kept it there until she sold it. Becky runs group coaching and mastermind groups as well as coaching private clients. For Free Resources, go to www.BeckyAuer.com.
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