Why Salespeople Should Focus on the Steps, not the Close
The importance of the sales process is largely undisputed. However, salespeople don’t often focus the step that is in front of them, they focus on getting the close. The ABC’s of sales, always be closing, is good advice, but it’s a little outdated in today’s sales process steps focused world.
Working the Steps:
Part of being a quality salesperson means working through preset steps, designed specifically to move a qualified opportunity from lead to close. You might think of it as salespeople not really selling at all, but instead just earning the right to move to the next step in the sales process. Each step in the sales process is broken down into specific tasks that must be completed in order to finish the entire step. These steps are usually designed by the sales manager for use by the sales team, and should correspond with how the buyer chooses to go through their buying process.
Why The Customer Does Nothing:
In sales, there are three potential outcomes for any given sale. Either they buy from us, they buy from someone else, or they do nothing. Salespeople have a fairly good handle on what to do when they buy from us, or when they buy from someone else, but often get tripped up when the prospect does nothing. When the buyer does nothing, this could be because their buying process doesn’t line up with how the salesperson is going through the sales process. There is a tendency for salespeople to rush through the necessary tasks, and put too much pressure on the buyer to follow suit. This makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable. They’re not ready to move forward, they feel as if they were put in a difficult position, and so they just go quiet.
What To Do When The Customer Does Nothing:
In order to avoid a potential client going quiet on you, there are a few techniques salespeople can utilize. The first is to be very upfront and open about the steps in the sales process, and outline what they can expect. This opens up a discussion for the buyer to give specific feedback on how they like to make purchases. This also creates the opportunity for salespeople to add value throughout the sales process. Approaching the selling process with a conversation shows that you want to help the buyer, and that you are truly on their side. This creates a dynamic of reciprocity, and the customer wants to do something for you in return. It creates a win-win for both parties, because it takes the pressure off of you, takes the pressure off of them, and you can proceed through the process knowing you are both on the same page.
A Sprint, Not a Marathon:
Selling isn’t about sprinting to the end. You’d get exhausted, worn out, and be defeated by the time you get to the finish line. Selling is a marathon, you have to look after yourself and make sure that you are keeping a good pace that will actually get you to the end. The sales process steps help keep you at a steady pace, so you can make it to the close.