Understanding Sales Process:
Nothing Happens Until Someone Sells Something
“…the fact is, everybody (Vice Presidents, Operations Managers, HR Directors, IT people, Customer Service Representatives, Marketing people, Accounting people, Receptionists … everybody) can stay at home until somebody makes a sale.” ~ Peter Drucker
Nothing happens until someone sells something. Understanding sales process, and the essential skills needed to succeed, will give your business and sales team the competitive advantage.
Uniformly recognised as the 5 core sales skills of any sales position, mastering these 5 basic rules will ensure you and your company have many prosperous years ahead, and improve sales skills.
1. Understanding Sales Process: Business Skills
If you want to give your company credibility, core business skills are a must. Master the basics – appropriate dress, confidence and etiquette will help you stand out. Self-management and professionalism are the unspoken skills of sales.
The ability to problem solve, exercise judgement and make decisions in the interests of the customer, whilst delivering a benefit to the business, must be polished. The inability to do so will not only reflect poorly on your salespeople, but on the company as a whole. Reputation is everything when it comes to selling.
2. Understanding Sales Process: Customer Contact
Your first impression with the customer needs to be the right one. A firm handshake and friendly smile will start you off on the right foot, but initiating conversation and building a relationship are what it is all about. It is important to encourage the customer to do all the talking. Let them tell you about their needs or concerns. Keep them talking by asking probing “what” “when” “how” and “why” questions.
This approach allows you to spot opportunities, so you can create a strategy around their needs to execute the sale. Subconsciously, the more you let them talk, the more they will start to trust you.
3. Understanding Sales Process: Engaging the Customer
Once you have built a trustworthy rapport with the customer, you can start to truly understand their needs. Not only will this better enable you to match those needs to your company’s products or services, but will also require you to illustrate some of your expertise of the industry.
Knowledge of what your competition can offer is critical, as well as challenging customer assumptions, as this will override any doubt the customer has in their mind about your product or service. Be sure you are up to speed with your own products, as there is nothing more embarrassing than the customer knowing more about your product than you do.
4. Understanding Sales Process: Negotiating and Closing
After coming this far, there are certain obstacles that could turn your carefully crafted sale into a crashing crescendo. Not being prepared for the final push could make the entire process worthless. The primary objective here is to establish and reiterate the value of your product/service to the customer. This will entail putting your listening hat on, overcoming objections, influencing expectations and negotiating. Most importantly however, you need to demonstrate how your product will help YOUR CLIENT solve THEIR problems.
You must think through as many scenarios as possible as to why the customer might not sign the deal. Prepare a response. When all is said and done, and you have made your final pitch, remember: the first person to speak, loses. Make sure it isn’t you!
5. Understanding Sales Process: Admin BackUp
The other silent skill of sales, but just as equally important to the sales process, is your backroom administration. Ensure that proper systems have been implemented to monitor outgoing proposals, accounts, leads etc. It is vital that you have black and white metrics toward achieving your targets. Scheduling follow-ups and call-backs to existing customers and prospects will keep the revenue stream flowing. Poor paperwork management will start to filter out to your sales people, making them look unprepared, and unprofessional. Remember – failing to plan is planning to fail!
Follow these simple tips to improve sales performance. After all, nothing happens until someone sells something, regardless of the size of the business.