If you are like me you’ve never been in sales or really had any formal sales training. When you go into business for yourself and you’re responsible for bringing on new clients this is a problem. You can be the most talented person in your industry, provide the best quality of services at the best price but if you don’t understand at least a basic sales process you may struggle.
Here’s what I learned about a sales cycle being a “non-sales” type. If you are reading this an want to improve in the area of sales, you’ll get a lot from this also and would enjoy any comments you’d like to add because hey, I’m still learning.
A Sales Cycle For Non-Sales Types
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First thing is to understand what sales is and what it is not. Sales is the exchange of money for a commodity that gives the recipient value. Sales is NOT convincing someone to buy what they don’t want. Now is the time you sigh a breath of relief…. This was a huge relief for me also, because most of us cringe at the word “sales” and have no interest in participating, I was like that. Until I found out this is one of the key skills you should develop as an entrepreneur from one of my mentors.
It usually has to do with the way we were treated by a salesperson who was pushy, or when we tried pushing someone else to buy something and the situation got ugly because of our wrong mindset of what sales really is. I know you probably consciously know this already, this is nothing new…but this is a subconscious belief that causes you to get nervous when you are in a real-life situation.
This is similar to what I believe stops us from believing we can be a leader when I wrote a guest post on Dan Black’s Leadership blog, The Premise Of Leadership, that we first believe we can be a leader to yourself then a few, then to the many. It starts with having the correct mindset.
Let’s cover the super-simple sales cycle.
1. Approach: Connect and build rapport.
As John Maxwell says, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. You’ve got to connect with people first before you can offer anything.
2. Qualify: Determine Needs
Have 4-5 pre-determined questions you will ask to uncover the needs of your target market. When you get into a conversation about what you do and what you offer you should be able to determine if they have any needs for what you have or a problem in their life you can solve. This important step cannot be missed.
3. Solution: Presentation or Conversation
Based on their need, set a scheduled time to have a conversation on how your business, product or service can provide a solution to their needs.
4. Decision: Sometimes referred to closing
Ask for a decision. If you ask for a decision too early before you determine a need you are being pushy. If you ask for a decision when you can solve their problem for a fair price in a win-win situation, you’re a problem solver, not a sales person. This is the goal, and how to remain a professional.
5. Answer Final Questions: Objections are just questions
There are 4 possible responses, 3 are acceptable and one is NOT acceptable.
Yes- they want to move forward
No- they have decided to not move forward
Need more info- find out what additional info they need and help to provide it
I need to think about it- Sometimes this is what they “think” is a polite way to say “no”, but for your sanity, you don’t want to be following up with a “NO Secret Agent”, then you could be perceived as pushy, and we don’t’ want that.
1. Find out what additional info they need to make an educated decision
2. Pull the mask off of the “No secret agent” and discover they really are not interested. Thank them for their time, let them know it’s okay that this isn’t for them and ask for a referral.
People who see you as a professional problem solver will give you referrals. Those that see you as a pushy person that will chase after them with a torch and pitchfork through the town trying to get their money will run from you like just as fast as you can chase them. Don’t do this.
That’s it! That’s the 5 steps to the simple sales cycle…wasn’t so bad right?
What did you learn here that you can ADD to what you are already doing?