The sales process is a series of events that the seller will go through with a customer to begin and close a sales transaction. The sales process applies no matter what product or service is being sold and is an essential part of any proper sales procedure.
Sales processes can vary in length, depending on the type of product sold, the sales process is subject to variation; It can be a long process or a short one, depending on the type of product, how much it costs, and who the potential customer is. Though there are different versions of the process, several common elements remain the same.
The stages are:
- Finding potential buyers qualifying
- Closing the sale
- Asking for referrals
Following an effective sales process is essential for sales professionals to be successful. If the requirements for each stage of the process is handled properly, it can reduce the number of barriers, known as objections, that can block a sale. For example, complaints can arise because the salesperson sells the product to the wrong market, not asking the right questions, or making presentations not geared toward customers’ needs.
Finding potential buyers
The first stage of the sales process is finding potential buyers. These also called prospecting. By taking the proper approach to this stage, sales professionals can save time and achieve greater market penetration. Inexperienced salespeople sometimes make the mistake of pursuing an overly broad customer base. It’s much more efficient to have a focused strategy that targets suitable customers rather than taking a scattershot approach.
This is where salespeople make sure that the targeted buyer needs the product and can afford it. Establishing this criterion early in the process can save a salesperson time. It’s often the case that the buyer doesn’t need the product or can’t afford it, or sometimes both. It’s up to the individual seller to discover this information by researching and asking the right questions.
This is when the seller tells the prospective buyer about the product’s merits. To achieve success at this stage, a seller needs to know the product and the customer. The more information a seller has on each, the better the presentation will be. The presentation stage can range from informal sales calls to very formal sales presentations made before representatives of the buying organization. The exhibition itself needs to be informative and demonstrative of the skill and intelligence of the seller. Above all, the production needs to convey the seller’s passion for the product. When giving a presentation, a salesperson should be enthusiastic, brief, and sincere.
This is when the sale is finalized, and the contract is signed. Every aspect of sales leads toward this point. Closing the deal is the goal, and the other stages of the sales cycle are designed to help achieve this outcome. Although none of them has proven to be 100% effective, there are hundreds of closing techniques. In addition, different circumstances require different approaches to closing a deal.
To close any sales deal, the seller needs to establish a rapport with the buyer. Once achieved, the seller can begin to build a working relationship. Then the salesperson must analyze the buyer’s organization or company to identify a problem or need to be solved or satisfied. The final aspect of closing is the most difficult for sales professionals and the most important – actually asking for the order.
Asking for referrals
The final stage in the sales process involves asking for referrals. These occur after sales have being made and when the buyer is satisfied with the product and how it was sold. The salesperson can ask the buyer to refer others to the selling organization. This process can generate excellent prospective buyers. In addition, the salesperson can ask the buyer for a positive testimony that can be featured on the seller’s website or promotional material.
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