Putting a systematic approach in place to manage the sales process creates a higher chance of turning sales leads into customers. A sales process is a systematic and on-going process that a salesperson follows through to result in the closing of a sale. The sales process goes through the following stages:
Act on It Manage your sales process The process of selling could take quite long depending on the complexity of the solution, number of stakeholders, cost, sales volume and whether testing is needed. A sales process that helps to monitor key milestones and actions along the way helps to maintain morale and teamwork, and avoid losing customers through poor follow up. Use the editable template provided: Manage Your Sales Process
Tip Search for information Search on the Internet on how to manage an effective sales funnel for your business. Once you are familiar with the process, you can revise and standardise it using the best practices in your industry.
Use the promotion components described in the previous section to generate leads. The contacts that you receive through these efforts are called leads. Lead generation is a win-win for both the buyers and sellers. When buyers request information from sellers that offer the products or services, the sellers are given the opportunity to pitch their products or services to buyers who have interest in buying the products.
Ideas for Lead Generation
Tip Rental Lists You can develop your own in-house database of leads or as an alternative, buy or rent from companies specialising in this business. If you decide to purchase a mailing list, ensure that the broker is reliable. Discuss with them on how to define the search in order to get a quality list with a high percentage of prospects who are likely to be converted into customers.
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Sales leads are worthless if there is no follow up action to turn them into prospects. Good prospects are people who are likely to be interested in the product and are willing to make the purchase. Once you have captured sales leads, gather their profiles and build your mailing list. Start planning on how to approach these sales leads based on the products that interest them, the geographical area you are able to serve and the number of sales leads that you can effectively manage. A few scenarios are given to illustrate strategies on creating interest in sales leads.
You need to understand your prospects before making your sales calls. Look at your entire list of leads and prioritise the best leads, based on obvious or urgent need to use your product, sufficient financial ability and the role they play in the buying process. Invest time in researching on these prospects, thinking through your sales approach and planning your presentation. Gather as much background information as possible about your prospects. What information should you find out?
You begin to establish rapport with the prospect and manage to make an appointment to present your product to the decision makers. Uncover more about the needs of your prospects, follow through on their requests and win their final approval to buy your product. How do you make an impactful presentation?
If you are confident, you may prepare a sale proposal with adequate information to speed up the sales process if the sales presentation goes well. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t close the sales on the first sales call, but do request for a follow-up appointment or a time to call them again.
Tip Building sales relationships You need to spend time on every sales effort. Take enough time to understand the buyer’s needs, problems, challenges and concerns. Give the prospect full attention to uncover buying opportunities and how you can help the prospect to solve their problems, concerns, challenges and needs.
Learn how to respond to and overcome objections from prospects. With most sales attempts, the prospect may say things like “your price is too high”, “I am comfortable with my current suppliers”, “I don’t know much about your company” or “send me your product literature and I will get back to you”.
Some objections are genuine because the buyers want their concerns to be addressed before making purchases, while some are merely brush offs and they are unlikely to become customers. Your job is to learn to assess which ones you should focus your efforts on - listen to them and provide more information to reassure them.
How do you respond to objections?
Closing the sale and turning your prospect into your customer can be simple or complicated depending on the prospect’s requirement. In a B2B situation, you may have to prepare a formal proposal on the purchase of the product for your customer and follow up with an official contract. In a B2C situation, you may only need to prepare a simple one-page document to close the deal, if at all. To close sales, first give a summary of the benefits of your product, and then ask for the order from your customer. If your customer does not agree to the deal, offer a concession then ask for the order again.
At this point, you will hand-over the first order to support staff that will fulfil the order requirements. However, you will need to provide after-sales service and continue to serve, monitor, deliver promises and maintain the account to ensure that your customer is satisfied and continues his business with you.Developing and using effective selling skills can improve sales performance significantly. In the sales process, you have to observe your sales attitude to make sure the prospects are comfortable with sharing their challenges, problems and concerns.
With the appropriate attitude and skills, you can uncover your customers’ needs and provide the right solutions. You need to be patient yet persistent enough to follow through each step of the sales process in order to close sales. The consultative sales approach in personal selling is effective in winning and keeping customers. The consultative process emphasises on listening to the customer, gathering inputs, providing information, problem solving and negotiation, rather than manipulation. The sales team develops a customer-centric strategy and takes on various roles including advisors, problem analysers and solution providers to customers. They are perceived as partners with integrity who are able to present solutions that are relevant to the customers’ needs and are keen to build long-term relationships rather than reap short-term gains.