5 steps to create a successful sales process
“Everyone has doors that if we knock on can bring incredible blessings, but most of us never knock.”
Back in 1931, David Ogilvy dropped out of Oxford to become an apprentice chef in Paris. One year later, he left Paris and went back to his native land of Scotland and became a door-to-door sales rep for cooking stoves.
The man was BRILLIANT!
He was so good that his manager asked him to write a guide to selling the stoves for his coworkers. The manual has since been deemed the best sales instruction manual ever.
The tips in the manual can be summarised into three:
- Tell the person who opens the door frankly and briefly what you’re there for. It will get them on your side.
- Never get in the door on false pretences. No one likes a liar.
- Study the best time to call on folks.
Later on, Ogilvy’s brother showed the manual to his boss at the ad agency he was working at. The agency offered David a job. He worked six days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, for seven years. And it paid off. Every account the agency pitched, it won.
Eventually, Ogilvy founded his own ultra-successful agency. He’s now known as the father of advertising.
Today, the Ogilvy agency operates in 132 locations across 83 countries.
Lessons from Ogilvy’s story
What comes out clearly in Ogilvy’s success story is that for sales to actually work, it needs STRUCTURE. And I’d bet that every organisation needs its own structure, made for that organisation and its specific operations.
There are rules to the game, and if you follow the rules, success will follow.
When it comes to sales, the structure we’re talking about is a sales process.
What’s a sales process?
A sales process is a predetermined, defined sequence of steps taken to turn a potential lead into a customer.
It encompasses every step of the potential customer’s sales journey, from initial contact to the closed deal.
And, like I said, one organisation’s sales process can’t be EXACTLY the same as any other. They’re all unique to the organisation.
How to create a sales process
Creating a sales process is easier than it seems. It doesn’t have to be a tedious process, and if you do it right it’ll be WELL WORTH IT. Remember though – No one wants to think that they are going through your “sales process” so the most important thing to do is to systemise the process and humanise the interaction.
1. Establish your sales stages
Sales cycle stages are the steps that your customer needs to take to go from uninterested to customer. In some instances, like FMCG this may not be so relevant, but for most product and service based small businesses you’ll need to take any potential customer on a bit of a dance. In many instances, you’ll need to create sales stages that make sense for your business.
The general elements of the sales stages might include:
Prospecting is the process of identifying different potential customers.
It can be done through various Software, including Linkedin’s Sales Navigator.
Prospecting allows you to identify good-fit customers for your business. This means finding leads who truly need your product or service to solve their challenges and pain points.
b) Approach the potential customer
In this stage, you actually get to interact with the potential customer.
You may want to streamline your messaging, figure out what works and stick to it.
As advised by Ogilvy, always state what you want clearly, don’t lie. Because when the truth comes out – that you’re just trying to make a sale, your prospects will lose interest in you.
Go into the sale informed about your product. You should be able to answer all of the questions that come up. People will only believe in your product if you believe in it.
To qualify is to determine whether or not a prospect is a good fit for the product or service they’re selling.
Usually, salespeople have an ideal customer profile and compare the prospect’s characteristics to the profile. If the prospect is not a good fit, the salesperson won’t sell to them.
It’s kind of like the client avatar. It helps you to see who is a god fit for your business and who isn’t.
d) Pitch to the customer by persuading them to buy the product
Just as the name suggests, to pitch is to present your product to a customer.
It can be a script you go through on a call, a two-minute speech ,that you perfect for networking opportunities or the classic presentation in front of decision-makers.
One thing remains for a fact – stories sell.
You don’t want to just give the client statistics and data, you want to be relatable. And to do this, you want to first understand your customer – their likes and dislikes, and their preferences.
Your pitch should not start with the product but with the customer’s pain points.
e) Handle objections
When you approach people to buy your product, it’s likely that some of them will notify you that there are certain barriers preventing them from buying.
This could be along the lines of it being too expensive, or hard to use, or unnecessary.
While the information is useful for marketing, it can be turned around to close the deal.
Why? You, as the salesperson should already know most of the objections that may come about, and how to respond to them.
The best way to respond is to:
Don’t be defensive. Empathise with the customer and satisfy their concerns. And if the buyer isn’t ready, don’t try to force a commitment.
f) Close the deal
In this step, you either seal the deal or you lose it.
Here, you persuade the prospects to take the right action. It could go either way. They can say yes or no.
You want to address the customer’s minor questions or decisions about the product to eliminate all of their obstacles.
You might just want to directly ask for the sale in this stage.
If you feel the prospect’s questions are answered and they have an understanding of the solutions you provide, you should ask for the sale.
You want to have a powerful statement and reiterate what solution you are offering them.
g) Close the sales cycle
Closing a sales cycle simply means that you have gone through the process from start to finish.
Thank them for doing business with you.
If the sale didn’t pan out, you want to re-nurture them. You can do this by offering them free content from your team. You can also put them in an automation with email sequences to convince them that your company is the one for them.
In this stage you may also want to ask for referrals, which can help you to kickstart your sales cycle all over again.
As Dave Plunkett told us during his talk at Networking in… the best time to ask for referrals is to:
- Ask for them
- Make it easy
- Say thank you, and in the right way.
2. Determine who does what
If you’re working with a team, then you can assign each of the tasks above to different people. That way it’s easier and much faster to move forward.
Assigning tasks will also make people feel more responsible to complete their part of the process. This helps to avoid situations where some people are doing more than others, and still being celebrated for it.
3. State the goal of the sales stage
Each sales stage should have a goal. What are you trying to accomplish by doing what you’re doing?
For example, the goal of approaching a customer could be to engage with them and get them interested in your product or service.
Having a goal will help you see whether or not you’re successful. It will guide you and even help to make amends to the sales process in the event that something’s not quite working out.
4. Outline the tasks
In the tasks section, you’ll state the different things that need to be done in order to achieve that goal. If it’s prospecting for example, it might be a matter of accessing a bunch of contacts that seem viable for your product or service.
Break down how you aim to do that and the different procedures that will lead you to this goal.
It also helps to identify loopholes, such as when something isn’t done as it should be, or when one member of the team isn’t performing.
Through a sales process, you’ll be able to account and even monitor the work that’s being done.
A sales process is crucial to the success of your business. By outlining the nitty gritty of how to follow through with each step, you set yourself up for success. Remember not to copy and paste a sales process from a friend or a company, make your own.
The steps to create a sales process are:
- Establish your sales stages
- Determine who does what
- State the goal of the sales process
- Outline the tasks
As a little bonus, you can find a template that will help you create your very own sales process here.
We’re running a FREE Sales 101 class on 9th August from 12:30 to 13:30. Get your ticket here.
In this workshop we’ll be covering:
- Sales Process
- Reframing the Sale
- Awesome touch points
- Objection Handling
and much more…