Does every company need a sales process?
How essential is a sales process to a company? One might ask how essential is water to a fish, or oxygen to a human being? For an organisation to prosper and thrive, a sales process is essential. Without an organised sales process, salespeople tend to be unfocused, and haphazard in the way that they work. Successful salespeople firstly have an organised sales process and secondly they have to stick to it!
Before a salesperson is let loose on the public, product knowledge, systems knowledge, and company knowledge have to be in place. We wouldn’t be comfortable with a brain surgeon that did not have good solid product knowledge (anatomy of the brain,) equally well, salespeople need to have this knowledge before approaching customers. Knowledge is the ammunition that we need to be able to sell effectively.
Prospecting is finding customers to sell to. A salesperson that is not face-to-face with a customer is actually unemployed. During this phase of the sales process salespeople need to find those elusive things called customers. Where do we find customers? Under trees, under rocks and all those other strange places that customers tend to hide.
- Time and territory management.
We all only have a set amount of time in which to achieve results. It stands to reason then, that we need to plan and prioritise which customers to see and when. If a sales person is able to see more customers, while obviously keeping the call quality at the same level, sales figures must go up.
- The approach phase.
This is the part of the sales process where the salesperson makes direct contact with the customer. Either face-to-face or phone to phone, this is a critical part of the sale process during which time the customer makes decisions like: like – don’t like, trust – don’t trust, and many similar decisions.
In the approach phase the salesperson needs to do a needs analysis. That is to determine what are the needs and the desires of the customer so that they can set out to meet those needs with a product or service.
- The presentation.
This is the part of the sales process that many salespeople call “the sale.” This is now where the salesperson shows off the product or service and presents the features and benefits in such a way that the customer understands the “WIIFM.” That is What’s In It For Me. Customers buy the benefits that a product or service is going to give them, so successful salespeople learn to sell the sizzle not the steak. That is to sell the benefits as opposed to the features to allow the customer to understand fully what they will get out of owning the product or service.
- Closing the sale.
This is the part of the sale, where we separate the men from the boys or the ladies from the little girls. This is the time that we ask for commitment. A salesperson who calls on customers and just does a presentation, but does not close the sale has a special name. We do not call them salespeople, we call them professional visitors. Closing the sale is one area that salespeople need extensive training to make sure that they do the job properly.
The problem is that salespeople are afraid of rejection, and for that reason don’t close the sale. But the bottom line is, that if you don’t ask for the order you’re not going to get it.
- After sales follow up.
After closing the sale and delivering the product or service, the salesperson has not yet completed the job. The more we do to spoil our customers after the sale has been completed, the less we have to do at point number one – prospecting. If we service and look after our customers after the sale has taken place, they will tell their family and friends and will keep coming back to us again and again.
I was once asked the question “When should I tell my wife that I love her?” The answer is “Before someone else does!” While this is true in relationships, it is equally true with customers. When should we tell our customers that we love them? Before our competitor does.
Follow a logical sales process, and the results will be improved sales, more satisfied customers and more commission at the end of the month.
If you can actually count your money, then you’re not really a rich man. Paul Getty