Sales With a
5-Step Sales Process
Facilitating the buying process can be very straightforward and
fairly uncomplicated. Yet most professionals have no idea what it
takes to guide a potential client through a decision making process.
They are completely lost when it comes to effective follow-up and unsure
how to best get prospects to take the “next step”.
If they are lucky to get
to a face-to-face meeting, they “show-up and throw-up.” They spew
all there is to know about their product or service and leave the
meeting hoping for a favorable decision sometime in the near future.
consists of a few phone-calls that go somewhat like this: “Hi,
remember me? We met last week? Anyway, I just wanted to know if you’ve
made a decision yet? No? Oh, OK, I’ll call again…” Soon they discover
their prospect got stuck in a “12-month meeting” (every time they call
over the next 12 months the prospect is in a meeting). Sounds familiar?
What’s missing is clear,
consistent and easy to duplicate sales process. In a nutshell sales
process is a sequence of steps that predictably moves potential clients
along the decision-making path.
While your unique process
will be based on the type of product or service you are selling and who
the buyer is, here is a simple five step model that’s guaranteed to
help you close more deals.
STEP ONE: Generate Leads
The number one reason
most promotional efforts don’t get the desired results is trying to make
a sale too soon. Advertising should be designed to generate leads
- inquiries about your product or service from qualified prospects – not
to get an order!
Generating leads is
relatively easy - there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to get
potential clients to contact you. Speaking, publishing articles,
referral systems, press releases, internet marketing, networking, print
ads and direct mail are just a few ways that work well for attracting
prospects interested in your professional services.
STEP TWO: Pre-qualify
Your promotional efforts
are bound to create some responses from tire-kickers. Unless you have
unlimited resources (namely money and time) to follow-up with people
that will never make a purchase or create a referral – you want to
eliminate the least ideal “prospects” right from the get-go.
The best way to
separate lookie-loos from genuine prospects is to ask them to invest
a small amount of effort or money before they can receive more
information. Have prospects fill-out a short questionnaire or request a
small fee to cover your expenses of giving them additional information
and only the serious candidates will move to the next step.
STEP THREE: Send
Depending on how you
generated the lead in the first place you may need to send out
“fulfillment package” – the information promised in your advertising
You can’t give someone a
“test drive” of your service – but you can illustrate your expertise
through the materials you send out. White papers, special reports,
articles, audio CDs and videos can give prospects a good insight into
your level of expertise and “whet their appetites” – compelling them to
ask how you can help them.
This is a critical
step but professionals often skip it altogether. I recommend that
you never meet with a prospect unless he or she had a chance to read a
special report or an article you wrote, listen to an audio-program you
created, participated in a teleclass you facilitated, or had a chance to
“experience you” in some other form.
This gives you a chance
to demonstrate your understanding of their problems, prove that you have
the know-how needed to provide an effective solution, and position you
as the expert who will not waste their time.
STEP FOUR: Get an
If you’ve done a good job
in the first three steps – this will be easy. Your best prospects will
actually look forward to meeting with you and exploring ways you can
While scheduling an
appointment you can further qualify the prospect’s level of interest and
determine if you want to invest your time in getting together with them.
However, avoid the pitfall of giving away too much information at
this point. Remember your goal as this point is just to get the prospect
to meet with you.
STEP FIVE: Face-to-Face
The content of your
in-person meeting depends on the service or product you are selling and
your target market. It could be a simple consultation that results in
closing the sale or an elaborate presentation designed to moved the
prospect to the next step in the process – like an “exploration meeting”
with the purchasing committee or an “in-depth needs assessment”.
This is obviously a
simplified model, but it identifies the five critical elements of the
selling process. There are countless variations and tactics you could
employ in each step, but each of those elements has only one
objective – to move prospect to the next step!
(c) 2004 Adam M. Urbanski
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Urbanski, the Marketing Mentor, helps Independent Service
Professionals and Small Business Owners attract more clients. For more
promotional tips and a FREE 32-page marketing guide go to
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