Article #79, March, 2009
Make Your Sales Process Easy for You AND for Your Prospects!
Are you making your sales process harder than it needs to be? Many small businesses over-complicate their process unnecessarily. Here are some steps to make it much easier for you - and for your prospects!
The first thing you need to do is to identify what you are selling. This may sound ridiculous, but you are selling more than you realize. Most business owners who are selling services and many product sellers offer a free consultation or demonstration as the first step. So, the first thing you are selling is the appointment for the meeting.
If this is you, you need to spell out the process you use to sell the appointment. Here are some examples:
- Networking - you need to have both a short and a long intro, questions you ask to show interest and to qualify the prospect, benefit statements to explain why your target would want to meet with you, a script for closing the sale (of the appt) and your calendar.
- Giving a Talk - Your topic needs to relate to your service/product; I suggest you ask the attendees to complete an evaluation where you offer your free consultation as a gift for attending your talk, then call everyone after to set up the appointments.
- Website - offer the demonstration on your website with a form for interested prospects to complete; call everyone right away to set up the appointment.
The appointment is your sales meeting. Booking it should be treated with the same level of seriousness and professionalism as closing the sale in the actual sales meeting.
Then when you get to the meeting, you need to again be prepared. You need an agenda for the meeting. This agenda shows professionalism and keeps you on track. You want to stay focused and not go off on tangents in your conversation so you don't run out of time.
The basic agenda should include gathering information, telling them how you operate, telling them how you can solve their problems and closing the sale. Be sure to gather information from the prospect with good questions and then give them some help, then and there. If you are strategic, the prospect will tell you their problems and their needs voluntarily - all the information you need to close the sale later in the meeting.
Closing the sale is much easier than most people realize! Make sure you have anticipated their objections during the meeting so you don't encounter them during the closing process. For example, if it is typical for your prospects to say you are too expensive, you need to make sure you demonstrate the value of your service during the meeting. If they cannot afford it, that's another story. If you are willing to offer payment plans or barter, be prepared with those responses.
Once you feel you have clearly demonstrated how you can solve their problems, ask for the sale. Here are a couple of my most popular closing questions:
"How would you like to move forward?" - and - "I would love to work with you. Would you like to work with me?"
The key is to be quiet after you ask. Don't offer a discount or continue explaining anything - just smile, look them in the eye and wait.
Obviously there is so much more to sales than one article can cover, but this information has helped countless small business owners, especially women. Keep track of what works best for you and what doesn't work at all and keep going!