Seven steps to sales success

When your business makes a sale, lots of different departments come together to process the transaction. Accounting inputs the numbers to make sure the proper records are collected and invoicing is completed. Logistics and shipping arrangements for the movement of the product, using resources like to make sure it gets to the customer efficiently and safely.

While the business surrounding the sales process is complex and multifaceted, sales itself is no simple task. To implement a strong sales process, it is best to get back to basics and follow the seven steps for sales success.

Step One: Get Ready to Listen

When you’re making a sale, you are trying to create a solution for a customer’s perceived problem. It’s not about all the wonderful things your product or service can do that matters; it’s what problem it solves for your customer. It can be tempting to start your conversation with a detailed presentation about your product. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, the best thing you can do is listen. Make a quick elevator pitch introducing yourself and your product, then ask the customer to talk about their challenges.

Step Two: Cater Your Offering

By listening to your potential customer’s challenges in step one, you’ll be able to tweak the way you present your product to cater to their challenges. Rather than a generic sounding pitch, you can highlight how you can help with the problems they have specifically listed. Not only does this approach make your product sound more appealing, your willingness to listen effectively will impress the potential customer.

Step Three: Get Buy-In

Before moving on to some of the details about the logistics and financials of the sale, you need to get confirmation that the customer is with you so far. After you’ve identified the solutions to their problem, confirm that you have their interest. At this time, they may ask questions forcing you to redirect the conversation to hone in on their concerns. Keep the client talking as well: this should be a conversation, not a monologue.

Step Four: Prove Your Worth

After hearing all about how your product can help, your potential customer may want to know who your product has helped. Depending on the confidentiality policies within your company and with your clientele, you may not be able to identify customers during your discussion. However, you can provide stats and figures from past sales to prove your credibility. Send samples if applicable. Commit to what you’re offering and then follow through.

Step Five: Financials and Logistics

Once you have gotten through the first few steps, you can then get into cost and shipping details. If there are any contracts that require signing or information required on the customer’s part, now is the time to explain these in detail. Don’t worry about sounding patronizing. In a detailed process, it is beneficial to simplify things into easy-to-understand steps and terms.

Step Six: Identify Next Steps

The best way to close a meeting is by clarifying the path going forward and reiterating action items. If anything is required of your customer, state those once more in bullet point form. Then, confirm the steps you will be taking on your end to make sure the sale goes through. If your client requires more information or samples before proceeding with the sale, be prepared to work through the steps again.

Step Seven: Ask for Your Customer’s Business

When you go for a job interview, the best way to end things is by expressing your continued interest in the job. The same applies when closing a sale. If you ask for the sale and a customer says no, they might require more information. If you ask and your client says yes, you can stop presenting the product or service.

Sales are the driving force of a business. Keep practicing your sales process to strengthen your skills!