At a recent sales meeting here at Multi-Craft, our team was discussing the customer’s buying process. We ended up defining it as:
- Account Rep – the customer must first decide if they like the account representative and if they feel they can trust him/her.
- Organization – they then must feel that your company is a good match for them.
- Product/Service – next they’ll explore and determine if your products/services are a good solution for them.
- Cost – they will want to determine if your pricing is in line with the value you are offering.
- Buy – finally they will determine if it is the appropriate time for them to purchase.
Since your customers have a buying process, doesn’t it make sense for you to have a selling process? Though each company’s offerings may cause the process to be tweaked, I believe a basic sales process should contain the following:
- Planning – this includes researching their organization, business model, industry vertical, appropriate contacts and identifying your call objective. Obviously, we would all love to close the deal with the first telephone call we make, but realistically maybe the goal of the first call is just to get the call returned. Make sure you have a realistic goal for each contact with the target. What do you want to happen next?
- Questions – if you haven’t prepared good questions to ask your target, then you will likely end up talking far more than you should. The best meetings are those where you are listening the majority of the time and they are speaking. You will be unable to provide solutions if you don’t understand the problems. Good questions will help you uncover the problems.
- Presentation – know when to present your solutions, and it certainly isn’t in the first call. The presentation should be the solution to the problem that you previously agreed upon. Make sure your presentation skills are honed, as your target likely has choices for the companies they can work with. It’s your job to persuade them that you are the logical choice based upon the solution.
- Goals – your short-term goal may be to present a solution to a current problem and persuade them that you are the best choice. However, your long-term goal should be that you are viewed as the sole strategic resource in your field. To be looked at in that manner will require that you know their business as well as they do – and that you are always searching for things that will help them attain their goals.
- System – make sure that you have a strong organizational system that allows you to have one place where all of the information for your clients resides. Whether it’s a formal CRM system, or just a home-grown solution, having pertinent information at your fingertips will be critical in being that strategic resource.
Sales is not an easy way to earn a living and, at times, can be downright discouraging. Having the internal fortitude to “muscle on” when business is slow or you’ve just heard your fifth “no” in a row is important.
What motivates you? Motivation is internal as no one else can motivate you. Your employer can build an environment that is pleasant and supportive to work in, but they cannot motivate you to succeed. Why do you do what you do? What makes you get up in the morning? Knowing the answers to those questions can help you push through when times are tough.