Every great salesperson knows sticking to the sales process is the way to win the sale. The fundamental elements of the sales process are: building rapport, finding the pain, determining the budget, understanding the decision-making process, making the presentation, asking for the order and following up on the sale. Each of us has adapted the fundamental process as our own. We use the process in ways that fit our personality and skill set. So let’s explore ways to stick to the sales process.
People buy from those salespeople who they like, respect and trust. So salespeople set about building rapport with buyers by getting to know them as a person. Everybody has dreams and goals. Your job as a salesperson is to find out what drives the buyer. At the same time building a relationship with them so they are comfortable with you. As an integral part of the sales process, each encounter with the buyer is well-planned. A salesperson who hears the buyer say: “I’m not interested” has a response planned. Perhaps it’s: “OK. Since you agreed to meet can we talk about (insert something of interest to the buyer)”. Great salespeople are prepared to respond to anything the buyer might say.
Finding The Pain
You’ve heard it said “all purchases are based on emotion”. And pain is the strongest emotion. Doesn’t make any difference whether it is a corporate buyer making a very large purchase. Or the husband shopping for the perfect piece of jewelry for his wife. There is an overwhelming need to make the purchase. Great salespeople ask good open-ended question to find the “why” behind the need to buy. Perhaps a company needs land to expand because the business is growing. Or the husband wants to show is wife how much he appreciates her standing by him in his struggles. Through building rapport and finding the pain great salespeople show the buyer how much they care about helping them.
Determining The Budget
For some salespeople this is the tricky part. If you are not comfortable talking about money, you need to get over that fear. After you find out what the problem is the buyer wants to solve and how committed they are to solving it, you have to know whether they have the money. If the husband wants to buy his wife a $500 pair of earrings, why show him anything not in that price range? Some experienced salespeople would just ask: “Would you please share with me what having this problem costs your company?” Then they might follow up with: “If I can provide a solution with a 5-year payback, would that interest you?”
The budget step yields 3 kinds of knowledge about the buyer: they have enough money to buy your solution, their budget is lower than your solution or they have a larger budget than needed. In the first case you know their funding is sufficient. Secondly if they don’t have the budget to buy your solution then you have three choices: walk away, revise the scope to meet the budget or help the buyer find more funding. Lastly you can barely hold back the smile thinking of ways to help the spend the extra funds.
Understand The Decision-Making Process
Great salespeople know who will make the decision to buy and how they vet your offer. For the husband at the jewelry store shopping for a gift; it’s easy. In large corporate purchases, it will take time and diligent questioning to understand the decision-making process. But all great salespeople know without selling to the decision maker, the chance of winning the order is slim. A salesperson who is barred from meeting with the decision maker has a choice: walk away from the opportunity or persuade the “gatekeeper” to open the gate. Great salespeople have ways of encouraging the gate keeper to open the gate.
Making The Presentation
Once you know the problem and its implication for the company or buyer. And the buyer or buying team likes, trusts and respects you. Plus you know the budget they want to spend. Now you can make a presentation to solve their problem. It can be in person, a virtual meeting or even a written proposal. Whichever way it is done great salespeople always begin by discussing the problem, its implications, and the budget they have. Then the salesperson gets confirmation of this information. If there is agreement, they present the solution. (Show the earrings.) If the buying team doesn’t agree then the salesperson has the skill to find out why. When the salesperson values sticking to the sales process, they win the sale.
Asking For The Order
Once the great salesperson is confident his presentation matches the budget and will take away the pain, they ask for the order. The jewelry store salesperson might ask: “Can I gift wrap the earrings for you?” The salesperson in front of the corporate decision maker and his team might say: “All I need is a handshake from you and we can get started!” In my experience if I have gotten all the other steps right in the sales process, the order just follows naturally. Great salespeople skillfully answer questions should the buyer not agree to the presentation. They are fearless in the pursuit to the “why” behind each question.
The Follow-up Step To The Sales Process
Once you have the order what comes next. Yes, next before the champagne corks pop and you get the big bonus check. Most times there is paperwork to be done. Great salespeople also get together with the operations team who will fulfill the order to discuss the sale and any special needs of the customer. If the delivery cycle is long, the salesperson communicates the progress to the customer. And once you have a happy customer, ask for referrals to another potential buyer. Great salespeople are aware of the potential for “buyer’s remorse”. We believe all sales commitments are emotional. But afterwards the buyer rationalizes the purchase. Think about the husband having just left your store with the gift-wrapped earrings for his wife. Perhaps he walks by the window of another jewelry store and sees a more perfect gift. You, great salesperson, have asked the customer to call you if for any reason they are dissatisfied with the purchase. Then you can comfort the customer and allay his “buyer’s remorse”.
What You Can Do Right Now To Stick To The Sales Process
- Believe in sticking to the sales process
- Develop the skills needed to perform each step well
- Practice your craft to become the best you can be