Any good sales person has to know the sales process off by heart, it is the holy grail of sales. You start by generating leads, qualify them through research, before pitching to leads and closing a deal- sounds simple, or at least it should be.
However, the sales funnel should only be used for just that, your sales process not the customers. Where salespeople fall down is thinking that this method is how your buyers go through the experience.
This is a flawed approach because the way that every customer interacts with your product will be unique so a rigid funnel simply doesn’t work. Rather than working through a checklist, you should try and put yourself in your customer’s shoes: what do you think when you’re buying?
This is always the most effective approach because buying is the focus for sales.
The Buying Process
The typical stages that you go through when buying something are usually initial interest, followed by research, reference and analysis before you make the final decision.
Everyone goes through this stage at different speeds. For example, you might have an urgent need for the product which could make the decision in a few minutes. However, when it comes to business decisions it often takes more time to compare other products on the market, consider the value of what you’re offering and determine if there are the funds to make the purchase.
Your role as a sales person is to provide customers with as much information as possible at the pitching stage. If you have followed the sales funnel, you will have researched this prospective company and highlighted areas where your product can genuinely add value to their company.
But don’t expect to hear back within a week. When you’re selling to anyone, especially larger companies, the process becomes convoluted because the analysis, research and final decision have to go through a number of people before the purchase is approved.
Understanding that it could take a few weeks before the CEO approves the sale will ensure that you’re not pressuring to close a deal before the buyer is ready.
When a buyer has made their analysis and is ready to make the purchase, you should be able to read the signs. Whether that’s more questions or simply a positive tone on the follow-up call, now is the time to apply the pressure and secure that deal.
The key to making a successful sale is to read your prospects body language, react to what they’re saying and give them the space to know that your product is the right fit for them.