What are the sales stages?
What are the stages in selling a product or service? how to sell this product? Here’s a simple method for optimizing every key selling point. The profiles of good salespeople are different, but the stages of a sale have the advantage of being the same for all sales reps, with only the sales pitch changing. […]
What are the stages in selling a product or service? how to sell this product? Here’s a simple method for optimizing every key selling point. The profiles of good salespeople are different, but the stages of a sale have the advantage of being the same for all sales reps, with only the sales pitch changing.
Sales stages: planning
How do you prioritize your customers and plan your visits?
Make a list of your customers, analyze them, then classify them into A, B, C and D priorities according to their importance and potential. Then put them in a file or CRM so you can plan your visits, prioritizing the customers who can bring you the most. The file can be made up of simple cardboard sheets, an Excel spreadsheet or more sophisticated software such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics ! Unfortunately, the best-known Customer Relationship Management systems have functions that are more useful for analyzing results by the marketing department than for sales efficiency. A word of advice: choose the simplest ones!
Prospecting, canvassing, making appointments
If you don’t keep looking for new customers, you’ll end up losing your customer base naturally, which is said to take from 4 to 7 years: bankruptcy, death, relocation, customer service error, loss to the competition, and so on.
Even if many salespeople are reluctant to do so, it’s important to prospect, either by knocking on prospects’ doors or by telephone. I recommend that you prospect with a well-honed phone call script, and this can’t be improvised.
Contacting the customer
Identify the decision-maker and meet with him or her. There’s no point talking to non-decision-makers, unless they’re prescribers or users of your products.
The first four seconds of your contact are decisive, because there’s only one chance to make a good first impression. Making contact is the first step in the AIDA system, which is also used by marketers: Attention, Interest, Desire, Purchase.
The easiest way to sell is to understand the customer’s needs, both stated and unspoken, so that you can fulfill your advisory role. If you want to go further, you need to understand the customer’s real business issues and objectives, so you can show how your products or services are the best way to develop their business and better satisfy their own customers. Psychological discovery of the customer enables you to adapt your sales pitch to the customer’s deepest motivations. The best-known system for this is the SONCAS method: Security, Pride, Novelty, Convenience, Money, Sympathy.
Rephrasing allows you to check that you’ve understood your customer’s needs, and reassures them that you’ve understood their business and their needs.
The solution can be broken down into 3 distinct elements: the features of the solution, the general benefits it provides, and the specific benefits the customer can derive. As this linear argumentation system is rather difficult for the customer to implement, I have developed a model whose demonstration aims to prove that the solution’s features will enable the customer to achieve his objectives, which are in fact his benefits.
Objections can occur at any stage of the sale, but by convention they are usually placed after the solution, as this is often when they are raised by the customer. The response phases are first to listen to the objection, understand the customer, respond, then check if he’s satisfied. Techniques can range from answering, to asking questions, to not wanting to answer. Dealing with difficult customers requires specific techniques.
Closing the sale
Ideally, you don’t have to close a sale and let the customer buy, but some people hesitate and it’s a good idea to help them choose your solution, otherwise they might think twice and buy elsewhere, even though you’ve done the work. Certain techniques can be used to show customers that, if they think they’re taking a risk by buying, they’re taking an even greater risk if they don’t buy. There are several techniques to suit different sales and customer personalities.
Most representatives have negotiating latitude. The aim of the sale is to create the desire for an exchange, while the negotiation determines the terms of this exchange, i.e. price, delivery conditions, after-sales service, payment terms and conditions.
It’s a well-known fact that regular customers are the most profitable, and that’s why you should try to keep track of them. This is even possible in supermarkets, thanks to loyalty programs, or web shopping boutiques.
In conclusion, follow the sales steps and you’ll already be multiplying your chances of success.