What is the most important make or break step in the sales process?
My sales process fluctuates in how effective it is and it's hard to know which parts are going wrong. What is the most important step in the sales process to make sure I get right every time?
Definitely the follow up. So many professional do not follow up and loose out on so many sales. If a customer does not say no that means you need to continue to follow up.
Agree on the input below and it is interesting that you use the word "process". Process is the 'how' you best choreograph the interaction with prospective clients. And effective, consistent sales process makes for a more repeatable and scaleable result.
I would have you consider the question, "What is of greatest value to this prospect?" Asking questions to discern that, and then meeting them where THEY are within your process will allow the relationship to unfold and clearly offer your prospect insight into 'What is in it for them" by being in relationship with you. It no longer becomes 'selling' but a journey toward how you will create value together.
As everybody mentioned each step of the process is important. It is like a puzzle if one piece is missing, it does (usually) not work. One step, I find is often not done properly is the discovery phase. To define the decision making structure of the prospect and the actual decision maker(s). Not doing it correctly you can be talking, and making presentations, to people who in the end have little say in the final decision (as I called it, barking up at the wrong tree). You can never completely avoid it but not taking any short cut during the discovery phase, greatly improves your odds.
There is no single "step" in the sales process that is more important than the rest. Each step is just as important as the next step. Assuming that each step is well-defined and carried out properly, consider what you know about your specific lead, prospect, or customer to decipher why the sales step did not produce the effect it is supposed to. Remember, customers are people and people are different and there is no sales strategy that works for all kinds of customers. For each customer where the sales was effective, there is an underlying reason OUTSIDE your sales strategy. The same goes for every ineffective sales. You must devise a way to easily discover these so you can find a way to address them.
The make or break step is prospecting. Even the worst sales person can succeed with enough prospects. Filling the pipeline keeps the revenue flowing while you perfect the other steps.
the sales process works on the AIDA model ie Attention , Interest, Desire and Action.The most crucial part in the sales process is the conversion of the potential customer from Attention to Interest.The initial presentation, the pitch that is made and the quality of conversation in the initial meeting is vital.Once interest is aroused, a series of follow up meetings would be required to convert interest to desire and desire to action.
Great question that goes to the heart of building a business. While there is lots of good advice that has been provided, I have some suggestions that have not been considered:
1. Is your target audience clearly defined or are you trying to be all things to all people? The idea is to understand the characteristics and the reasons why clients have bought from you in the past and refine your prospect list to people with similar characteristics.
2. Is your message clear, concise, captivating and consistent? If your message isn't clear they won't follow your argument. If your message is verbose, you'll lose them. If it isn't capitivating you won't grab their attention. If it isn't consistent they won't be able to follow you.
3. Is your benefit immediate? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The same is true from the buyer's perspective; an immediate benefit far outweighs a future benefit.
4. Are you passionate about your product? If you're not excited about your product, why should your prospect be motivated to buy?
5. Always be closing. If you don't ask, you don't get. But do it in a way where you lead them to the conclusion.
If you are interested in learning more, contact me.
Thomas. I don't know what you are trying to sell and to whom but I will tell you I believe it is all decided in the first 5 minutes. Try if you can to ascertain what type of people the decision makers are. Sell to them the way they would sell to you. So you have to know your products, their value, and the benefits to your potential clients. Be aware of their reactions and respond with knowledge and confidence to build their trust in you.
The first one, otherwise you don't get a second one. Not to be facetious, the point is having a plan for behavior is the "most important." You can make or blow a deal at any stage so why focus on the weak point of the bridge instead of the length you have to cross and you have to take every step.
The most important part of the sales process is at the very beginning when you sit down and find out what their needs and desires are.
Unless you do this properly your close will be weak and ineffective. You can't just assume you know what is important to your prospect you have to dig a little and really find out how your product or service will help them.
Once you know that you will be able to use that information to close the sale.
You may be surprised at the reason they want your product or service but knowing gives you the building blocks to help them!
In my opinion, it starts from the UPS (Unique Selling Proposition), if you blow that, then there is a 90% chance of the deal being blown. What is your UPS?
I'm a market researcher and strategist, not a sales/marketing person. The most effective method I know is to ASK what customers really want and WHY. The three most effective questions to ask:
1. What are your biggest pain points and how much are they costing you?
2. How much money does your solution save or earn your customers?
3. How do your competitors' solutions compare financially?
Unless you get answers to these questions, you'll be flying blind. A hint: Customers will often provide a comparison list for #3 since they usually evaluate solutions.
In sales, the defining moment will ALWAYS be the ask. That's the make-or-break moment every time - and the direct answer to your question.
HOWEVER - Keep in mind that the ask by itself won't close a deal. If you have crappy service, slow response times, and poor understanding of what you're selling - the perfect pitch can't save you.
Hi S. Thomas,
Great question. Without knowing what process you are using it would be pretty hard to determine where you are strong and where you need to improve.
Where do you feel consistently strong and at what point(s) do you sense you are weakest?
Although I'm kind of a sales person as well, I hate the word "sale", hence, the typical sales people.
You can not be good for everyone, but if you really try to solve the customer's problem, not just doing sales for the sales, he/she will feel it. Thus, there will stay only those customers who really matter and who stay loyal to you and your product for many years ahead. And this is actually much more important than hunting for new and new leads every day while loosing the previous ones.
My advice may only seem that simle, but solving the customer's problem means understanding it fully and doing everything you can to do this. It's not that easy. When you really start doing this, you'll see the difference.
As for the other sales techniques, rules etc. there is plenty info and books in the Internet, you just need to google it. Good luck!
The answer to your last question is TRUST, which starts at first contact.
The fluctuation process comes from not having a measurable, repeatable sale process
Know what your product can do for the customer.
Show them the money...By that, the $$$ savings there are many ways this is highlighted. Efficiency, reduction of time, ease of application, long lasting etc etc.
Show the customer that you are interested in them and their pain points.
NEVER SELL THEM.
Do your homework. on the company, or the typical consumer.
Tell them as it is.
Remember people like to do business with people they like.
For me the FIRST STEP is the most important. also the preparation for that first step. Build a strong foundation and you can build upon it.
Build a weak foundation and it all goes to slush.
Wow! There is a question!
Ultimately every customer is different so the make or break will be different for each of them.
Your style needs to adapt to the clients needs and the customer needs to be at the heart of everything that you do.
The whole sales process is important and if you make good processes habit and maintain high standards it will go right most of the time.
If you look after the processes results will look after themselves.
AIDA is a good start. Attention - get the customers attention. Interest - gain the customers interest. D - get them to make a decision and A - get them to take action.
However AIDA does not take into account the most important element which is in the middle. You need to get to understand the customers needs through open question techniques.
The most common mistake is focusing on the word "sales". Educate them, know your product, passionately believe in it, and make sure you are communicating with your target market.
Process is possibly the 'key' word here.
Make sure you have an actual process and follow it.
If you do that you will start to see where you are falling over within the process, which gives you something to change.
Never be afraid to ask why you didn't get a sale too. This will help you figure it out but it can also give you another chance with that customer.
Also remember, you can't win them all, even though we would love to. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to win a sale because you are being used to squeeze and existing supplier.
Chin Up though because attitude makes a big difference to a buyer!