Sales/Selling Process: Definition
The Sales or Selling process by definition is the set of series of steps a salesperson applies when he is trying to sell his offerings (products or services) to the customers which start first with finding and qualifying leads and ends with closing sales and retaining the customers.
Basically, the sales/selling process is of basic 7 steps which are a worldwide famous way of selling products. Most salespeople argue that these 7 steps are key to making more sales even more quickly and effectively.
Regardless of the products, sellers either individuals or organizations, retailers, or anyone these 7 steps best work when done effectively, however, it takes time. Though this process is also applied in the past days in the same way as is now it is now applied in the more improved ways in every step of the sales process (which we will discuss below).
The selling process outlines the basic rules of how a salesperson should make a sale. Here, we will understand in detail every step of the selling process, how to do effectively every step, make more sales, more profits, and retain customers.
The 7 Steps of the Selling/Sales Process
As I mentioned, the selling process teaches the very rules of selling to you as a salesperson first by helping you to find and qualify a prospect. And later preparing you to visit the prospects, presents the matter (products) influentially, overcome the objection – if any, close sales, and make customers obliged to come back to buy from you.
Understanding the deep of these 7 steps of the selling process and integrating them with your marketing knowledge is the best way you could be a successful seller which in turn, get you to get success in your sales journey.
Now, let’s talk about the steps individually,
The first and foundational step of the selling process is prospecting. It is an attempt to search for new potential customers and nurture them to make qualified.
It is the foundation of the selling process, the more accurately prospecting is done, the more sales you are likely to get. Qualifying lead is an unavoidable task a seller has to do in this sales prospecting step.
The basic objectives of prospecting are to find new customers as far as possible, reduce the gap of customers, try to multiply the sales of the company, retain the sales, promote promotional activities of the company, etc.
In the first step of prospecting, it can be done by searching for expected buyers, you can find them through referrals, articles in newspapers, trade journals, etc. Second, evaluate the prospects with the predetermined criteria of your company and qualify them, which is deciding the real worth of the activities you have done in finding and nurturing prospects.
As prospecting is a continual process, you can do it best by making plans & time to prospect (find potential customers), making it to action, and never stop doing prospecting. Moreover, these 18 techniques further help you to find new customers more quickly and effectively.
Pre-approach is the set of activities you can do as possible to make sure you are ready to meet the future buyer you have found in the prospecting step. Activities you undertake here are just before visiting the potential clients.
As it is preparing yourself, you have to choose the best approach to the first visit that likely helps you make first impressions good with the potential buyers. To make it good, it is necessary to obtain as far as possible more information about the potential buyers.
The information is a great way to understand who are the potential buyers, what are their needs, what types of products they prefer, what quality they prefer, what are their income level is, what are their spending habits, etc. After knowing much more about the prospects the seller is more likely to get friendly with them and make them friendly to him.
In addition, the activities to do in the pre-approach step are to get pre-call information about the prospects, develop sales call goals, develop a profile of customers based on their – needs, and wants, and develop strategies for upcoming steps of the selling process.
And, to make pre-approach more effective the following techniques can also be applied,
- Inquiries Technique
- Endless Chain Technique
- Center-Of-Influence Technique
- Public Exhibitions, Demonstrations, and, Trade Show Technique
- List of Prospects Technique
- Friends and Acquaintances Technique
Approach the third step, is when you first meet with the potential customers and communicate with them. It is when you are making a first impression on them.
In approach, as a seller, your goal must be to act friendly with potential buyers, make them free to tell their desires-needs, try to understand their real desire-pain points, etc. Here, you give a short intro to your offerings.
To make a good approach seller has to prepare himself, mistakes of the seller can cause a very bad impression on prospects’ mind, which a seller never want. Being dressed appropriately, a positive attitude, a smile, and confidence in expression can help sellers to get a positive impression on customers.
In addition, the seller should start with good opening talks, showing benefits to the prospect, gaining attention by drawing statements, and assuring he will never waste their time. And, the following methods are great for effective approaching.
- Introduction Method
- Referral Method
- Question Method
- Benefit Method
- Product Method
- Free Gifts or Sample Method
- Complement Method
- Survey Method
The sales presentation is when a seller presents his products/services to the prospects, explains the benefits of his products to them, tries to get attention, persuades, and creates a sense of desire in prospects’ minds to buy his offerings.
Starting a presentation by giving products sample or gifts can be a great way to get customers’ attention. Here, the main objective of the salesperson is to engage with the customers, make them understand every upside-down side of his products, solve their queries when they ask, and make a sale also.
Most of the sellers make engaging sales pitch and at the end of the sales presentation, they also close the sales. This is possible when dramatization is used in sales presentations and customers are highly interested, at the same time they are convinced.
Sales presentation needs to be highly engaging to convince prospects and urge them to buy the products. It can be made more effective by following courses.
- Be Prepared
- Controlling the Demonstration
- Using Sound Principles and Techniques
- Making Demonstration Simple, Brief, and Easily Understandable
- Getting Prospect’s Commitment
- Avoiding Distracting Activities
It is quite clear that when prospects are presented with products they come up with various questions, queries, and objections. Objection handling is the step when the seller attempts to handle different objections of the prospects that are stopping him from closing sales.
The main goal of the seller here is to clearly understand what are the customer’s objections, why they have objections, and genuinely step to handle such objections to convince them of his offer. The reasons for objections may be negative thinking of the customers, need for more information, no money to the customers, the aggressiveness of the seller, and so forth.
Able to handle customer objections mean the seller able is to close sales. Objections are just the seller is one step away from closing sales. The seller can make him prepared for handling objections effectively by following ways,
- Develop a Positive Attitude
- Anticipate Objections
- Forestall Objections
- Evaluate Objections
- Time the Answer
- Build Countering Skill
In addition, it is not enough just to be prepared, he should also study and apply these objection handling techniques to fully convince his prospects regardless of types or reasons of objections.
- Relax and Listen
- Agree and Counter
- Turn Objections into Reasons for Buying
- Ask Specific Questions
- Admit Valid Objections and Counter
- Postpone the Answer
- Deny the Objection
Closing A Sale
Through completing the above steps – prospecting to handling objections we have come so far to close a sale. It is the step of the selling process when a seller makes a sale.
It is considered the last step of the sales process, here the terms and conditions are agreed and the purchase of goods/services is done.
As it is the last step, it is also the most important step in the sales process. The rate of closing a sale is determined by the success of the above-mentioned steps, the mistakes of the seller in this step can also cause the withdrawal of customers’ desire to buy from his prodcut.
Closing sales also need to take careful steps. While closing sales the seller may opt for gift close, discount close, scarcity close, and other various techniques to close sales quickly listed below,
- Gifts Close
- Acceptance Close
- Summary Close
- Upcoming Events Close
- Trial Close
- Now or Never Close
- Sharp Angle Close
- Objection Close
- Options Close
- The 70/30 Close
- TakeAway Close
- Empathy Close
- Best Time Close
- Visualization Close
Most people think closing a sale is the last step of the sales/selling process but it is not a strategy for successful salespersons. The modern last step of the selling process is the follow-up, in fact, it never ends until the existence of the company.
Only closing a sale once may or may not influence the buyer to buy again from the same seller. The Follow-up is an effort made by the seller after closing a sale to know the satisfaction of the buyer to retain the customer and make future sales.
Follow-up is the best way to build a good relationship, short-long term with customers, increase the level of satisfaction, in addition, it makes customers feel they are valued and in turn, they also refer their ones to the seller, it increases the future sales and profit of the seller.
It is seen that the more effective sales follow-up is done, the more success it brings to the seller. It can also be done effectively to get more sales and customers by following techniques.
- Follow-Up In Time
- Making Calls
- Messaging and Emailing
- Ask Questions and Listen
- Act-On Commitment
- Make An Appointment
- Avoid Fear
- Talk of Next Steps
- Talk With Respect
- Provide Value
- Refer Them To A New Place
- Sends Personalized Emails
- Wish Them in Special Day
- Stay Reachable
- Be Consistent
- Never Stop Follow Up
Though the steps of the sales or selling process end, the journey of a seller never ends. He is always busy finding new customers and trying to sell them products. These are the selling’s basic rules and steps that best fit every seller regardless of the types and nature of sellers and products.