The Sales Process - foundation of sales
Welcome back to our informative blog, where we discuss sales topics. This week, we want to make the sales process accessible to you. If you are an experienced salesperson, you may already know about it, but as you might know: “Repetitio est mater studiorum” which literally translates to “repetition is the mother of learning.” New students will face it in the lectures, as it is one of the basics you learn about. The process itself is structured in different stages.
During the identification, the salesperson searches for new possible prospects on different platforms, your network etc. In this step, too, it is important to work carefully and not simply classify every customer as a fit. The point of sales is to create value for the customer.
The right approach is important while contacting the prospect in the most suitable way possible. The contact channel must always be chosen consciously. For busy people, it might be better to arrange a meeting, as an email or a phone call are easier to forget. In general, personal visits always make better impressions, and it should always be adapted to the customer. So, try to find out as much data as possible about your counterpart, because any relevant information gives you the advantage in many areas of the sales process and can also gladly open new ways.
Problem, Need, Benefit definition
Of course, you can only find out the problems of your counterpart by knowing a lot about the situation of your counterpart. The easiest and most effective way to find this information is to converse and ask the right questions. Smart questions equal smart answers which lead to better results. These so-called SPIN questions (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff questions; we are going to highlight them in our next blog) are about stimulating the other person to think about their core needs.
After gaining knowledge about the needs and problems of the prospect with the help of the SPIN questions, the salesperson must customise the offer, which will be presented to the customer. In the personalisation of the offer, many factors play a role, for example, each seller must decide whether and how much discount he can give.
Tradeable negotiation & Objection handling
Objections by the customer can be handled in different ways. It is important to overcome them. Often, not just factors like the price are the pain points of the buyers. As a good salesperson, it is important to find out the pain point and thus create the best possible customised customer offer. Getting an agreement in the negotiation by using different possible factors. The seller and customer prioritise the tradeable beforehand but do not tell the other party.
Closing the deal
After reaching an agreement on the deal, closing the deal at the right time is a significant phase. Choosing the right phrases to seal a deal is also a crucial part of a sales process. The salesperson must first identify the decision maker. As soon as the seller finds out what the customer needs, he can offer a solution to this. Many salespeople are good at selling, but when it comes to closing, some show weaknesses. The closing must not be a topic of silence at the negotiation table. It is the task of a good salesperson to raise this issue without inhibitions and to guide the customer. Many customers even want to be led, because for most people it is easier to react than to act. However, a salesperson must keep the upper hand in every situation and act actively.
Terms of the delivery can be fixed in the closed deal. It needs to be on-time, otherwise some parts of the deal cannot be complied.
After Sales follow up
Again, it is about maintaining a good relationship with the customer, whether that means calling after a few days to see how the product is doing, evaluating the sales process, or having a meal together. The main principle here is that satisfied customers are more loyal and will come back. However, if a customer is not satisfied, it can be one of the best sources of learning. So, it is even more important to reach out and ask them for feedback.
In the end, it must be mentioned that this process is not merely perfect – depending on the industry or company, for example, some stages can still be added or omitted. This model is intended as a general guide for every salesperson. No sales process in real life is as black and white as in this model, it is important for every salesperson to implement creativity and to make their own sales process as colourful as possible, and thus also positively differentiate themselves from the competition.
Authors: Nguyet Huynh, Heinrich Herwig, Lee Sauer