- What’s the next action a visitor to our website will take?
- Who receives the email or web enquiries?
- Who mainly answers the telephone?
- Who attends the networking events on behalf of the business?
- How do we present solutions or proposals?
Whatever the answers to these questions, they are all part of your sales process.
Every business is different, so it’s important to map the customer journeys that are appropriate for you. They must also be achievable, authentic, and aligned with your culture and values. Nevertheless, there are some basic principles that need to be followed, so ensure that you define separate processes for:
- Telephone enquires
- E-mail enquiries
- Making prospecting calls
- Appointments (Face-to-face or video meetings)
- Presenting solutions
Your Basic Sales Structure
Below, is a basic sales structure that you can follow for all calls and meetings. This can be for all face-to-face or video meetings.
Step One: Prospecting Specifics
- Know who your customer is or who you want as a customer
- Do your research on them before making contact
- Don’t give up, but don’t pester
If you’re the one making the call or scheduling the meeting, you need to be sure its really going to be worth your time. Is this individual or business really the right kind of customer for you? Are they going to be receptive to what you’re providing? Make sure your prospects are a good match before you reach out. By taking the time to define who your ideal customer is you can save yourself a lot of time and energy down the line.
Once you know who you’re looking for, you need to know the prospect fits the bill. Take a look at their website, their LinkedIn profile and build a picture of who they are, what they need and how you can help them.
Step Two: Plan
- Set a call objective – What do you want from the call?
- Think about what’s in it for the customer – Why should they meet/listen to you
- Think of good, open questions to ask the customer – Show interest in them and their business
- Practice your questions
Prospecting potential clients is the most difficult part of the sales process, so you ought to practice your approach and opening statement where possible. You have a micro-second to grab the other person’s attention and if your introduction does not show interest in them, you have lost the momentum.
The key to successful selling is asking great questions of the customer, regarding them and their situation. By really listening to the answers, you will be in a better position to think about their pain points, and the next direction of the conversation. Good questions also allow you to lead the conversation and ensure you gain information you need. This information will be vital for converting the prospect to a sale.
HOW AND WHAT – these are two of the most effective words in the English language, especially when handling incoming calls or emails so try to ensure you use plenty of these open-ended questions.
The key to becoming effective at this is to practice – use role-play with a friend, colleague, or family member.
Step Three: Listen
- Listen to every answer the customer makes
- Listen as twice as much as you speak
You can only make a sale when you’ve developed a detailed conversation with the customer, and you can’t do that until you make a connection. Connections and relationships take time and effort – don’t rush as small steps work best.
The same also applies to incoming phone calls or emails to your business, yet you already have a connection – they have approached you! All you need to do is ‘open them up’ and that means asking good questions.
Step Four: Present Proposals/Offers
If you’ve done everything properly, you will likely have got to the point of needing to prepare a proposal for the client. This allows you to reflect on everything that the customer told you during your meetings in relation to what they need or want from you and your business.
Always book an appointment to present your offer or proposal.
For maximum impact, present your proposal physically. This could be either face-to-face or over a video call. You can summarise what was discussed at your meetings, showing the client that you have listened and understood them and their needs. It also reminds them of their needs and wants!
By presenting your proposal, it allows for any misunderstandings to be cleared up or, perhaps, for the client to add further requirements. More importantly, it avoids them only looking at the price.
…don’t waste your time and effort!
If you send your proposals by email or post, you may end up throwing away a valuable sales opportunity without even realising.
Step Five: Follow Up
- For every call where you get to speak to a person, follow up with a summary email
- Suggest next steps
- Make Three Follow Up Contacts:
…wait – be patient…if you hear nothing, follow-up again in three months.
The most difficult question you will ever ask is the FIRST. Listen to their answer and that should provide you with your second question.