As most sales professionals know; at the heart of every sales endeavor and at the heart of most businesses is the sales cycle. This is the process or cycle that takes place that results in sales and the success of a company. Understanding this sales cycle is extremely important for a sales representative. Here are five steps to understanding the sales cycle. Keep in mind that these steps are progressive and moving from one step to the next normally takes time depending on the readiness of your client.
Step One: Forming The Relationship
A great deal of the sales process relies on being able to provide your customer what they need or want; but before you can do that you need to figure out what those needs and wants are. The first step in the sales cycle involves getting the attention of your customer and helping them understand how your product or service can help them. This involves getting them to listen to you, but it also involves learning how to ask the right questions and listening to them. This first step involves qualifying the prospect. Some questions you will want to have answered include; Do they have the need for your service? Do they have the budget to afford your service? Are they the decision maker or are their other parties involved?
Step Two: Developing Interest
Once you have the attention of your client and have neutered the lead so that they are informed of who you are and what you are offering, start to identify exactly what their specific needs are. By asking questions and engaging in two-way conversations you will be able to determine their needs. Use this knowledge to figure out how your product or service can serve them to solve a problem or issue they are having. By now, you will also know what kind of prospect they are and you will learn how to sell them. You will learn if they require a great amount of detail, communication and personal interaction, or if they prefer direct facts that are straight to the point. During this stage you will talk about your product or service, explain how it benefits the customer and determine if they are still interested.
Step Three: Providing a Solution to The Problem
This step, also known as the conviction stage involves two things. You know their areas of pain, now you must convince them that your product or service will help ease that area of pain. You must also communicate to them that your company can provide them the best solution they are looking for. Although there are other companies out there, do not specifically bring up your competition unless they ask you. It is best sales practice to concentrate your time and efforts on what your company offers.
Step Four: Developing Desire
During this stage of the sales cycle; emotions often come into play and the customer should begin to emotionally buy into your company’s product or service. Begin to make your prospect feel as though your solution will resolve their problem. They will automatically form a desire for your company’s solution. However, just because they want your product or service it doesn’t necessarily mean they will buy; things like price may still get in the way.
Step Five: Placing the Order
The final stage in the sales cycle is when the customer decides to move forward with your business and place an order for a product or a service. Don’t be afraid to ask your client for the order, this is the reason you have been talking with him and he/she has been talking with you.
When you do make a sale, be sure to present your solutions like a true professional.
After you have built the relationship and made a sale, capitalize on it.