Let us start with an important tip: Sales success is all about taking one step at a time.
With over 30 years sales and sales management experience, Jo Collins’s goal is to share practical sales insights that will help and support business owners in creating a sales process and develop sales skills. This sales process will also become your sales checklist for pre and post client engagements. With a step by step guide you will be able to self-audit each sales call. Repeat what you are doing well and put a plan in place to improve the areas that you have identified for development.
As you master each step, your sales confidence will grow in seven manageable steps.
Step 1: Preparation
‘Fail to prepare and you are preparing to fail.’
There are many variables during the sales process that sometimes are beyond our control. However, the preparation step is completely within your control, and sets the foundation of all your customer conversations. Being prepared will give you the confidence and set you apart as someone that is interested and invested. The effort invested in preparation is designed to arm you with information, but also position you as someone that is interested and invested in establishing a relationship based on learning and helping first.
Step 2: Connection
The key to connection is conversation, and the secret of conversation is asking questions. The quality of information you receive depends on the quality of your questions. You have invested time in preparing and now you can have a conversation with this new potential customer. Let us stress here, that this is not the time to sell your product or service. This part in the sales process is about getting to know your customer, building a connection – listen more than you speak; find a common ground; be interested in their challenges and opportunities.
Step 3: Interest
People buy from people they know, like and trust. In a recent survey of B2B decision makers, 68% of those surveyed said they wanted a sales professional to listen to them. That is an incredible statistic and would leave you to believe that buyers are being sold to rather than anyone understanding their business needs and situation. Stand out from the crowd, be a terrific listener, and the easiest way to listen to anyone is present and ask questions.
Step 4: Qualifying
The first part of the qualifying process is to accept that not every customer will be a good fit for you or your business. As part of your qualifying process, you need to determine the following:
- Do they have the budget to invest in your product or service?
- Are you engaging with all decision makers?
- Have you asked questions to understand the problems that they need help with?
- Have you established a timeline?
Step 5: Handling Objections
Jo believes that customer objections are an important part in the sales process. At the time you may begin to think the opportunity is at rise. However, try and reframe your thinking on objections. The customer has expressed a concern, they need more information to help them decide. This is a time for pause and a considered response to the objection you have heard. Avoid jumping in with a response, instead remain calm and not defensive, meet the objection with a question to find out more and restate the objection to make sure you understood it.
Step 6: Closing
Often people skip this part of the sales process and say things like ‘I will leave it with you.’ However, it is best to look at closing as the next step in starting a relationship with this client, so rather than closing you are focussed on opening. Jo also holds the view that to hear no is a good thing, at least then you know where you stand, and you can invest time elsewhere tat will give you the results you deserve.
Step 7: Follow up
After every customer engagement, regardless of whether they buy or no, you should have a follow up process in place. Always stay in touch with prospects, so that you are in their mind, and they are ready, you will get that sale. So, keep in touch with everyone, constantly add value and continue to build on relationships.
In collaboration with County Wexford Chamber Skillnet, Jo is delivering a 6-hour workshop run over 4 days, aimed at showing salespeople how to create and execute a sales plan, to include sales skills and insights that will improve results. his workshop is for ambitious salespeople and business owners, which have a growth mindset and that want a structure and process to improve sales.
To find out more about the workshop and to book your place click here. The investment is only €130 per person and the reward is business growth is you implement the key steps taught in the workshop.
Effective salespeople focus on the principles of good communication, listening, and exploring ways to help their customers. Plus, they will always have clear objectives for each meeting.