Six-step Sales Process

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The sales process is the dynamic approach a professional takes to finding prospects and closing deals. It is dynamic because it is constantly being updated and changed based on the professional's experience. But the six basic steps of a sales process remain intact, and having this basic framework to guide you can help increase your income and confidence.

Leads

  • Sales leads can come from lists purchased by the company, contacts that the sales professional makes during the course of her day or by cold calling on the phone or going door to door. Part of the leads step in the sales process is determining if leads qualify for initial contact. Develop a criteria for examining leads, and then collect the information you need to categorize them. For example, if you sell computers to business clients, then your criteria may include clients with a certain number of employees and a minimum annual revenue.

Initial Contact

  • When you make initial contact with a client, it is important to act professional right from the first phone call. The secretary or receptionist who answers your initial call is the key to speaking to a decision maker. Once you get to the decision maker, you have a very short amount of time to present your company and product. A script for your initial contact phone call is helpful. It will guide you toward the right questions to ask, and help gain enough customer interest to get a formal sales meeting.

Presenting Proposal

  • Develop a proposal that has value to the client based on information you gather from asking the client questions. Using a pre-written sales presentation that is the same for every client will not be effective. Formulate a proposal for each client based on what the client indicates her needs are.

Dealing with Objections

  • During the course of your presentation, the client will have questions and objections. This shows that the client is interested in your offering and is trying to figure out how your product fits into his business. Always listen to questions and objections, and use them to help create a more focused presentation. Objections are an opportunity to eliminate the obstacles to closing the sale.

Closing the Sale

  • Help the client see the benefit of your product throughout your proposal, and move the presentation to the close. Do not attempt to close the sale until you have dealt with all of the client's objections and questions. Create a sense of urgency for the client so that she feels as though she needs your product right now.

Ongoing Maintenance

  • Repeat business means recurring revenue and referrals for new clients. Follow up with the client a week after installation of the product to make sure the product is operating properly and that the client is happy. Discuss the client's future needs to help you prepare for new presentations, and get detailed referrals of new clients to call on.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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