The close. It’s what those of us who work in sales seek out, bend over backwards to arrive at and lose sleep over when we miss it. However, too often in our heroic and epic efforts to close a deal, we lose sight of the sales process, a process that could help us close more sales. It’s like failing to see the forest for the trees.
Sales Process In-Depth
So let’s examine today whether you have a sales process and why having a well-defined sales process can boost your business.
Do you have a sales process? If you’re responding to this question with another question — “What is a sales process?” — then the answer is no. Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, we have one of those. It’s around here somewhere.” Or perhaps you know you have a sales process but you haven’t revisited it for a while, know it’s outdated and no one on your team uses it anymore anyway. Any of this sounding like you? Read on.
A sales process is a step-by-step process detailing how you approach a prospect and how you lead that prospect through a series of conversions ultimately resulting in a sale. A good sales process also includes reflection and analytics to find what steps work the best and which need more work.
Fidelity to the sales process leads to more sales because the process focuses on what actually works and not just whatever you think may work to close a deal. And in the effort to get that close, sales professionals have been known to make some odd missteps like pushing a hard sell at just the wrong moment.
The sales process will differ from organization to organization but should include some basic steps:
- Initial prospect contact.
- An evaluation of the prospect’s needs.
- A proposal to the prospect.
- Closing the sale.
- Delivery to the customer and follow-up.
- Evaluation of the process.
The best sales processes yield invaluable information to a sales team such as knowing exactly how many prospects you have at any stage in the process, how long prospects stay there and what information prospects need to move to the next step. A well-defined process can also help you find where and why a sale gets stuck or lost and will allow you to target that step, and not a less effective step.
Failing to use your sales process or thinking it doesn’t matter could take you farther and farther away from your ultimate goal: the close. Instead, keep your focus on the process and begin to see the forest, not just the trees.