Here is the one common element with all of the sales training clients in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria that I work with. They all want to convert prospects into customers. How do we convert potential buyers into confirmed clients? Here is the best way to do this.
The Sales Cycle
To convert prospects into customers, we need to understand the Sales Cycle of your business. Many businesses require a longer sales cycle than a single call. If we are buying anything other than a necessity or impulse purchase, we require time to go through all the steps of due diligence to make sure we make the right buying decision. This holds true whether we are buying a new camera, car, house or even a business purchase.
A pushy Salesperson attempting a corny closing technique is not going to get a sale from a sophisticated buyer. With the amount of research available on-line, every buyer is now educated and aware of your product and its competitive landscape. Even if your product has great reviews and a fair price point, buyers will walk away from you if have a reputation of being The Closer. Knowing that careful thought and planning goes into a major buying decision, let’s break this down.
What is the Sales Cycle of your Product or Service?
Break down all the steps required from the first encounter with a potential customer. This is where your relationship starts. What happens after that? Write down each step chronologically in your Sales Cycle that eventually leads to a Confirmed Sale.
Professional Services to Business Owners
Many of us (me included!) provide products and services to business owners and decision makers. This process typically requires a longer Sales Cycle. At minimum, this might require a week or two. In many cases, you might need to establish a long-term relationship with a client for many months before they wish to proceed.
All Professional Salespeople can tell great stories of working with a client for even a year or two before getting the green light. That makes your work even more rewarding when the sale is finally made!
What’s the First Step?
Prospecting and reaching out to new potential customers is done through a variety of different ways. Cold calling by phone, walk-in, and email may work for you. Asking existing clients for referrals, networking and using LinkedIn all can be very beneficial. Find the ways that work best for you based on your product or service and ideal customer profile.
You now have your first step in your Sales Cycle.
What’s the Second Step?
For professional services to business owners, it’s A Meeting with the Potential Customer. If you’re smart, you aren’t yapping about how great your product or service is. You are focusing on the client through a Customer Needs Analysis. The best way to do this is Face to Face, as all Professional Salespeople realize. However, geographical boundaries may make this tough.
While you may converse on email, your first meeting may be on the phone. More client discussions are happening via web-conferencing. About 85% of my training sessions and client calls are done on Go To Meeting. The technology that exists currently is astounding, so check it out and consider it when possible.
This is the Second Step in the sales cycle.
What’s the Third Step?
I call it Engagement. That’s the best word to describe it. You and the potential client are engaged in discussing the possibilities of doing business together. After you have captured the client’s needs, you are attempting to offer solutions to either making them money or saving them money in most cases.
Engagement can easily be made of many steps based on your findings in the Customer Needs Analysis. It can include further meetings with people involved in the buying decision. Talking with the product development people or the staff that might actually be using your product or service are necessary steps that you need to address. These actions need to be counted as separate steps in the Sales Cycle should you find them typically standard occurrences.
Write down this third step to continue your Sales Cycle.
The Last Step in your Sales Cycle
This leads to The Purchase. Your hard work and diligence have paid off and you are completing the sale. Your job is done! No, not at all. Your work has just started in many respects. You have landed a new client. Here are the questions to ask yourself.
How do I ensure that everyone on my product team delivers on the commitments I have made?
How do I continue to give my client the same great service level that I provided while enticing them?
How do I turn this customer into one of my largest ones?
How do I ensure that I will get a renewal on our agreement?
How will I turn them into one of my leading advocates?
How and when will I ask them for referrals?
Get it? Your job has just started. Hey, now you’re earning a commission. Before you working with this client for free based on faith. You would love to see this happen more often!
Why is The Sales Cycle important?
You want to be able to track every component of The Sales Cycle. By doing this, you are developing your Sales Funnel by knowing where each of your potential clients is in the process of completing a sale. You want to be able to monitor where a client might stall in the process and address it to move it forward.
You will also be able to see where you are strong in the Sales Cycle and where you could use some improvement. This is easily done by tracking your new business development on an Excel spreadsheet. The system I have worked out is not complex and doesn’t require you to be an Excel wizard.
By the Numbers
As a Professional Salesperson, you will be able to track each step of The Sales Cycle by the numbers. You will be doing what I call Top Down Sales Strategy. All of the Professional Salespeople I work with now use this strategy.
It’s as if you will be seeing your daily efforts from a helicopter hundreds of feet in the air to make observations and adjustments to improve your ability to work with more clients for more dollars. You will win sales by design not default. You will be working harder at working smarter!
Should any Professional Salesperson or company be interested in discussing our training services, please email me at dave @prosalesguy.ca.
Dave Warawa PROSALESGUY
PROSALESGUY TRAINING offers Group and Individual Sales Training, Sales Management Mentoring and Consultation, and Business Consulting Services in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. Training can be done on site or via web conferencing.