Whether you are a salesperson, a life coach or consultant, or a financial analyst, or a small business owner prospecting for your next deal, (it doesn’t matter whatever your designation is) if you approach your potential clients with a “show up and throw up,” cram it down their throats style of selling, there’s no faster way to get shown the door. If, however, you wish to create long-term relationships and create loyal customers, learning a detailed buying/selling process will help you.
There are specific steps you can follow to ensure you are connecting with your prospects in the right way and at the right time. In our experience we see salespeople try to close too early and skip steps in the Buying/Selling process. The following steps provide a solid foundation and secure checkpoints that will help you achieve your sales goals:
- Gaining Favorable Attention
- Discovering Wants & Needs
- Presenting Benefits & Consequences
- Getting Commitment
- Follow Up/Execution
Think of using traffic lights as a metaphor for moving from one stage to the next. If your prospect allows you to move on, then you have a green light. If not, then you must stay within that step until you receive the necessary permission. How do you know if you have received permission to move on? Very often the answer lies in body language, specifically the eyes and ears.
If you were to engage in casual conversation with the person next to you, how would you know how they are interested? By watching how they react during your conversation, of course. By paying attention to their body language, you would get a sense that they want to move on. You do this by watching and listening! Your job is to listen throughout this process. It’s critical that you listen during the first three stages, so you can do a credible job of presenting benefits and potential consequences. However, you must get permission to move on to the next step. If you are not sure, then just ask!
Another rule for mastering the Buying/Selling Process is that you need to start at the beginning of the process with each new meeting. People like to warm up to you before settling into intense discussions. It’s no different than stretching before exercising or working out. As a salesperson, you want to re-establish rapport before getting down to business. If your sale requires multiple meetings, always confirm the facts before proceeding.
Finally, you want to listen carefully to what they say, so you can tie back your benefits and strengths to their needs. They may ask you for some background or to get an understanding of your abilities before proceeding. Certainly be prepared to discuss your capabilities, but always tie it back to (items) issues they have discussed.
Are you ready to discuss the individual steps of the Buying/Selling Process? Well, you’ll have to wait for our next post!
In the meantime, learn more about how changes in recent years have affected people who make a living by selling with this interesting read: “Success in Sales”
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