When I say ‘sales process’ does that make you think of pushy, aggressive sales people who have their own inflexible approach that never bends regardless of your needs as a customer? If it does, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone because I know it implies that for a lot of people!
But it absolutely doesn’t have to mean that. I’m a huge believer that every business should have a sales process because it’s actually the best way to make sure your prospects get exactly what they need. Yes, it helps you to organise yourself and your business and to keep much better track of prospects. But it also means that you provide those prospects with the right information they need to be able to make a truly informed buying decision.
Let me explain …
A sales process is simply a blueprint of the way you work when you’re at your very best. Have you ever had one of those conversations with a prospect where you knew you’d absolutely nailed it? And just wished that you’d recorded it so you could make sure you repeated it next time round? Well that’s exactly what a sales process will do for you. It also takes away so much of the uncertainty and unpredictability from your sales activity.
How often do you have really promising conversations with people you are convinced will become your customer only for things to somehow fizzle out and leave you unsure why? And then you find yourself uncertain whether to call again, email again, send over some more information, leave them some more time to think, or just back off altogether? Those moments of uncertainty are probably responsible for more lost sales in business than anything else. Because the truth is that most people procrastinate about whether to follow up again and about how to follow up, until they hit a point where they’re convinced they’ve left it too long and now they’re too embarrassed to follow up. So they do nothing. And they lose the sale!
You can overcome all of that by starting to create your own sales process. That process should have clear steps for the basic things like how and when to follow up with people. And the way to define what those steps and timescales should be is to work out what’s already working for you. Do you get a more positive response from people if you follow up the next day or after 3 days or even 7 days? Capture what works best for you and then model it, tweak it, refine it each time you practice it. This will eliminate all that uncertainty about how and when to follow up and mean that a lot less of those juicy prospects will slip through your fingers!
Other areas to think about as part of your sales process are things like:
- the way you close an initial phone call that arranges a meeting so that the prospect knows what to expect at the meeting
- Information to send to a prospect before any meetings – should you send them things like a company overview, a page of testimonials, an introduction video, or a hints and tips guide you’ve written?
- the way you open a meeting to position how you’d like to structure that meeting so that you convey yourself as professional, confident and well organised
- the questions you ask during a meeting that will show customers you’re truly interested, will unearth the crucial information you need from them, and will also allow you to prove your credibility without having to shout about it
- how you ask for the sale at the end of every meeting in a way that feels natural to you and doesn’t sound salesy but always gives the customer the opportunity to buy. Having a process for that stops you forgetting to ask and then not knowing what to do afterwards!
- your process for welcoming a new customer once they give you the go ahead so that you make them feel valued and enthusiastic about their decision to buy from you
All a sales process is, is the template for you at your very best. It removes the uncertainty for you, eliminates all those forgotten follow-ups, and proves to your prospects that you’re great at what you do and professional with it.
Have I won you over yet?
If you’re thinking that everything I say is starting to make some sense but you still feel as though you’re not sure where to start then have a look at my Facebook page to find out when my next 1 day Sales Skills workshop is, or send me a message and let’s book in a call.