November 2014 Featured Article
Sales Process Made Easy – 5 Steps to Fool-Proof Sales
You probably also dread the idea of sales… cold-calling people to buy your product… pushing family and friends to check out your website… facing the dreaded “I'll think about it…”
Well, I am here today to dispel the notion that sales is awful and difficult. Sales is not only a necessity to success, but it actually can be easy!
Today I will show you the only way you should be conducting your sales process…
You'll discover the three things that you must have one of, before you end any sales meeting…
And ultimately learn the biggest secret to success that may even shock you…
So, without further ado, let's jump into the only five steps that you'll ever need to succeed at sales:
Step 1: Discover Your Prospect's Motivations
If this step seems obvious to you – congratulations! You are already ahead of your competition.
The image of the “classic salesman” implies that you must be aggressive, domineering, and bullheaded to succeed.
Not only are those traits unnecessary, they will actually prevent you from making sales.
What you need to do is figure out what motivates your prospect. This is not to be confused with you trying to motivate your prospect. Every single person in the world has dreams, hopes, fears, problems, and desires. It's up to you to unearth them.
The reality is that no one buys a product – they buy what the product will accomplish.
And this is where the secret of success comes in: you will only succeed if you are providing people with what they want. And to find out what they want, all you need to do is ask.
Not directly, of course, because your prospect won’t necessarily even know how to answer that. Ask your prospect what it is that they are looking for; what outcomes are important to them. What benefits they’d like to get from your product or service.
And don't be afraid to keep asking until you have all of the answers you need.
On a side note, I want to offer a word to the wise: do not be afraid that your product might not be right for someone. You are much better off admitting to that right away and steering the prospect in the right direction, than trying to force a sale that will make everyone unhappy.
Your good deed will guarantee that they will speak highly of you and your company to others down the road, possibly leading to more sales! Remember your goal should be to identify ideal clients who can really benefit from your products and services. That way you’ll get happy customers and likely referrals too.
Step 2: Summarize the Motivation
Listen carefully to everything that the prospect has said to you. Make sure to ask questions where you are unclear, and get them to elaborate where there is potential for more motivations to come out.
Once you have sufficiently exhausted all of the relevant information you think you can get, take a moment and summarize the important points in your mind.
And then tell them how they feel.
For example, as legendary sales trainer Harry Browne suggests:
“I think we can agree, then, that what's needed is a way to accomplish (repeat their desired outcomes), and to do it within the framework of what you're paying now. Is that correct?”
Or, “In other words, if we can just find a way to accomplish (the benefit they desire), then you'd be a in a position to (restate their goal/desired outcome). Isn't that the crux of it?”
If they say yes, then it is time to move on to step 3. If they don't seem to agree, then you need to go back and do more digging.
It is crucial that you clarify their motivations and confirm them with the prospect before presenting your product or service, or you risk completely losing their interest before you even finish.
After all, if what you are saying isn't connecting with their hopes, aspirations, or providing solutions for their fears, frustrations and problems, it means nothing to them. Remember its about them, not about you, so focus the conversations with that emphasis.
Step 3: Present Your Product or Service
Your goal is to present your products and services in a way that the only things you talk about are features, benefits, and outcomes that match what the prospect cares about.
Don't bring up anything that is irrelevant to what he or she just said!
You actually open up a whole new can of worms when you bring more options into play than are necessary. People will start to concern themselves about things they never thought of before, and possibly scare themselves out of the purchase.
Avoid this at all costs!
And don’t share to much detail and options and overwhelm your potential client. That will only confuse them and a confused mind never buys!
Step 3 is what the vast majority of salesmen lead a presentation with. I'm sure you have been in a situation where someone approaches you selling something, and as soon as you engage with them, they launch into a huge spiel that you couldn't care less about.
And more often than not, they don't get the sale.
By just going through steps 1 and 2 thoughtfully and carefully, and then using that information to guide your presentation, you will have no trouble holding your prospect's interest because the conversation is about them and what they care about, not you.
Step 4: Answering Questions
Disclaimer to this step: it's entirely on an “as-need” basis.
If you have done steps 1-3 effectively, then there should be very little need to spend time asking questions. This is especially true when dealing with a “warm” prospect, or a prospect that has come to you.
But sometimes you will have to face them no matter what, and here is what you should do…
When you ask questions you must listen to their concerns in full (don't dismiss or discount them, because if it's their concern, it's valid!). Then acknowledge the problem they are facing, and then offer an answer or suggestion.
Either go back to your facts, figures, and benefits and offer a suggestion geared towards their motivations, or you can try this very unique (and shockingly effective) method of responding to both questions and objections:
“I don't know about that, all I know is (insert testimonial)” e.g When I worked with Jim he grew his business by 30% in the first 6 months”. Make sure your testimonial is specific and demonstrates the benefits you provide and is relevant to the interests of your prospect.
Personally, I heard that technique from Dani Johnson. However, it was coined by the owner of a very successful multi-billion dollar weight loss company who trained all of his sales people to answer questions/objections only in that way. No matter what.
It worked well for him, so why not try it out for yourself? With either approach make it clear the benefits and outcomes you provide so its easy for your prospect to move forward with you.
Step 5: Close the Sale
If you have done all of the other steps properly, your prospect will basically close themselves.
It gets awkward and uncomfortable if you haven't done the right things up until now. It means that you are asking the prospect to do something they haven't yet decided to do and that’s when the conversation feels pushy and uncomfortable.
Remember to avoid this, step #1 is the most important in making the rest of the sale smooth.
The seller is not the only person who profits in a transaction – money is only a means to an end. The prospect is also gaining something of value and they need to clearly understand what that is.
If the buyer isn't initiating the close, ask a question: “May I go ahead then and arrange to have this delivered?” “Can I go ahead and schedule our discovery call?” “I may as well go ahead and write up the order now. Is that all right with you?”
You should only need one.
Last but not least, if the prospect still “needs to think about it” after all is said and done, it is up to you to figure out if that is the truth, or if they are just trying not to hurt your feelings.
If it is the truth, then set a date for them to get back to you. If they really aren't interested, you can try going through the steps again to uncover what you may have missed. But don't be afraid to let them go… it'll be much better for the both of you. Sometimes when you let them go, that’s when they turn around and pursue you, convincing themselves why they should move ahead with you.
You should never leave an interview without either an order, a definite no, or an understanding of when the prospect intends to make his decision and on what basis.
Get Out and Try it For Yourself
These steps really just skim the surface of the sales process, but just understanding this way of approaching things will improve your close rate by a mile.
You should try it out for yourself: call up a friend or family member you think might have an interest in what you sell and get to know them. Find out their motivations in life and see if you can tie your product or service to them in some way.
It will be good practice for you, and you may very well get a sale or even a referral out of it!