Sales are the bread and butter of any business. Without sales, the business collapses under the weight of its own expenses. Sales are so important for a startup that as a small business owner, you should master the process end to end as you are the one who will run with it before your business grows and you can employ others to help in the sales.
By mastering the seven-step process, you will be able to feel organized and therefore execute your sales process with minimal stress.
The sales process can be split into seven parts thus:
5. Handling objections
This seven-part process holds whether your sales process is digital or done in the traditional way. Digital selling implies selling through online mediums such as the internet, social media and e-commerce etc. Traditional selling is in this context used to imply selling without the use of the internet, this can be face to face, telemarketing, and snail mail.
For a small company, creating a structure around these processes is important to inject a sense of organization in the sales process and therefore achieve sales targets.
Briefly let’s define the parts, in future blogs, we will dig deep into each of the parts.
Finding potential customers who need your product and can afford it. This process of evaluating a person to determine whether they need and can afford your product is called qualifying. Once a potential customer is qualified, you jot his / her details into your recording system and then move on to the next step.
Prospecting is mostly done informally in social events, talking to friends of friends, social platforms online and sometimes official events organized by you or others.
Your goal in prospecting is to get a potential client whom you can tell about your product or service or vision.
Here, you research the market and find all relevant information relating to the customer and also to your product and service. You intuitively try to link the customers needs to your products. You then create your presentation and ensure it is tailored to the individuals need.
The goal is to be ready to meet your client.
Here you now formally contact the client in either a face to face meeting or over the telephone. In this phase, all you are trying to achieve is to have the client interested in what you have to offer. You can ask questions or give the client a free sample of your product.
The achievement here is having the customer interested in listening to what you have to say.
In this phase, you actively demonstrate how your product or service meets the needs of your potential customer. The most effective method is talking a little and listening to your customer more. You can use a PowerPoint presentation but remember to listen and react accordingly.
You will have achieved if you move the customer from casual interest in your product to a place where he is actively trying to find more about the product, such as how it can help him.
This is the most underrated of the seven steps. It is where you listen to the customers’ concerns and you address them. Undoubtedly, human nature always treats objections as a sign of disinterest and most salespeople drop out here. Yet if you handle the objections well, you win the sale.
Most importantly by listening to the objectives, you sharpen your presentation for the next client and if you learn from the objection, you improve your product. Objections are therefore invaluable.
Learning from the objections raised is the goal here.
Once you have a good feeling that the customer is in agreement to buy, you move forward and close the sale. You can do this by asking whether he wants to pay by cash or by credit card or Mpesa or you can offer an inducement, such as one month free of service or you can create urgency by stating that the price will increase soon, or you have a limited number of spots left.
Making a sale is the precious result of this step.
After closing the sale and receiving the money, the job has just begun. Follow-up keeps you in contact with the customer not only for potential repeat business but for referrals as well. It is well known that retaining current customers is six to seven times cheaper than acquiring new ones, therefore maintaining the relationship is key.
Keeping your customer engaged and continue reaching out is the key objective of this step.
The 7 Step Sales Process Chart
A successful sales process relies upon the set of steps and actions that sales teams perform to close more deals. Each organization has its own unique way to offer and sell products. It is based on customer needs, the market, and most importantly, on its objectives. One way or another, any enterprise pipeline geared towards generating sales will cover the steps mentioned above, so master them.