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Where are You Stuck in the Sales Process?
Blog / For Sales Pros / Jan 26, 2019 / Posted by Ruth van Vierzen / 1623 

Where are You Stuck in the Sales Process?

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Sales is as much about improving our sales process as it is about selling goods and services. A good sales professional is open to life long learning; willing to apply new tools and techniques; and regularly evaluates what’s working and what’s not.

As someone who does sales for my own services, I find it helpful to break the sales process down into 4 steps and evaluate each on a regular basis as part of my overall sales activity. It doesn’t take long to see which area(s) needs attention in order to eliminate roadblocks and increase my sales.

Below are the typical steps in the sales process. I’ve also provided some self-assessment questions to ask yourself. These questions will help you determine what might be holding you back if you’re not achieving your sales goals.

1. FILLING YOUR PIPELINE:

As sales professionals, we should ABP: Always Be Prospecting to fill our pipeline. Ideally, we always have something of value on hand to give to a prospect we meet either on purpose, like at a networking event, or unexpectedly, while getting the oil changed in our car.

When I say “something of value”, I don’t mean your business card. Have something memorable on hand to give to your target market. Industry reports or problem-solving handouts that speak to your prospects’ pain points are high-value items that build trust and credibility with prospects.

I like to use a combination of online and offline activities to build my list of prospects. Online activities include lead magnets for opt-ins, webinars and facebook advertising.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I prospecting enough?
  • Am I prospecting with purpose? (i.e. Do I regularly attend networking events with set goals?)
  • Am I using a variety of tools and tactics to build my list of prospects?
  • Am I qualifying prospects for efficient selling?

2. FOLLOWING UP:

This is the most commonly neglected step in the selling process. The majority of sales professionals follow up fewer than 4 times with a prospect. But most sales are completed within the 5th to 12th follow-up! Stop leaving sales on the table for other sales professionals to grab. If you don’t follow-up enough, you’re literally priming your prospect to buy from the next sales person who approaches them.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I following up AT LEAST 10 times with a prospect, if necessary?
  • Do I have a follow-up system in place?
  • Am I using a variety of methods to follow-up with my prospects?
  • Does my prospecting provide value to prospects or does it just focus on selling? (i.e. Do I lead with value?)

3. MAKING SALES PRESENTATIONS:

So now you’re at Step 3 in the sales process where you’ve been rewarded for your prospecting and follow-up efforts. If you’re not making enough sales presentations, then your prospecting and follow-up steps need more attention.

When evaluating your sales presentations, it’s important to assess not only how many you’re booking, but also, if the format of your presentations is meeting the needs of your prospect. Provide the information in the format the prospect prefers and that positions your product or service most effectively, not what is easiest for you. If a live demonstration is needed to close sales, what is the most effective way to show the live demo, especially if you can’t do a face-to-face meeting?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I getting to the sales appointment stage quickly enough?
  • Am I conducting the sales appointment in the appropriate forum (in-person, by telephone, by video)?
  • Am I meeting with the decision maker or wasting my time meeting with the wrong person?
  • Does my presentation speak to the prospects’ problems or focus solely on my product’s features and benefits?

4. CLOSING SALES:

Are your sales presentations leading to enough closed sales?

Regularly evaluating the presentation process is critical to improving it and closing more sales. If you don’t close the sale, go back to your prospect not long after and ask for honest feedback on why you didn’t get the sale. Obviously you’ll want to do this in a professional, polite manner.

I tell prospects I’m always looking to improve my sales process and welcome any feedback they will provide. Often times, you’ll discover that it wasn’t you; it was that the product or service didn’t meet their needs as well as a competitor’s. In this case, that’s feedback to send back to the appropriate department for consideration in future enhancements.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I trained/practiced enough to anticipate and handle objections effectively?
  • Does my presentation naturally lead to a decision or next step in the sales process?
  • Am I asking for the sale?

Honest self-assessments can feel…well…icky. (Yes, that’s an actual sales term.) It’s not comfortable to put ourselves under the microscope and examine what we may be doing wrong. However, evaluating the steps in your sales process is a worthwhile effort. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Over time, you’ll more quickly be able to identify problem areas and make necessary changes.

Sales is a dynamic process requiring regular attention and adjustments in response to your markets. But that’s also what makes it such an interesting profession.

    About Author

    Founder of REVSquared Business Growth Agency. An expert in business management and growth strategies with focus on guaranteed sales solutions, marketing, operations and a public speaker. Grab her free online course The Ultimate Follow-Up System and email series Grow Your Sales with Email Marketing.

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