P5M3 Your Selling Process

Remember what I said in the Buying Cycle, the customers buying process and your selling process should be two sides of the same coin.

The more they meet, the easier it will be to sell.

The more they cash, the tougher it is to sell.

Sales & Marketing Funnel

You are selling a product or service that may have a wide range of potential customers.

If you are an accountant, then you can do the accounts and tax for 99% of all small businesses. It’s just the very large and very specialised companies that are beyond you.

It’s usual to think in terms of a hierarchy.

  • Your Universe of potential customers – everyone who could buy. You’d reach through your search marketing since it is uneconomic to reach out to everyone.
  • Your Target Market customers – these are customers who you specifically want to attract and your outreach marketing will be aimed at these consumers and customers.
  • Your Suspects – are people you think fit a tighter definition of your target customer or who you have reached out to via a targeted outreach campaign e.g, the 500 businesses you sent a sales letter, the 7,000 pet shops who subscribe to a trade magazine.
  • Your Prospects are people who have raised their hand and said “I’m interested. Please tell me more.”
  • Finally your Customers are those who decide to buy.

Record Leads In Register

  • For every new enquiry – whoever takes the call
  • Contact details
  • Name & position
  • Telephone number
  • Email
  • Website
  • Where they heard about you
  • What they want – see Qualifying
  • Follow up

How Tight Is Your Niche?

  • How tightly you have defined your niche and how well you have positioned yourself will determine some of your conversion success.
  • “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous” (Peter Drucker)
  • But the better your selling skills, the higher your lead conversion.
  • “The most important thing is not which system you use. The most important thing is you have a system!” (Zig Ziglar)

Your Lead Conversion Rate

It’s time to delve deeper into your lead conversion rate.

It’s a simple concept:

Number of new customers divided by the number of new prospects

but a lengthy selling cycle between first contact and signing the deal can make it swing around.

If you do well on lead attraction and bring more prospects into your sales funnel, your lead conversion rate may drop until the sales cycle catches up.

Read: Lead Conversion Rate

Sales Pipeline

If you do have a length sales cycle, the sales pipeline is a very useful way to measure your progress from the initial contact through to order.

It involves putting a value on each enquiry based on its value, its stage in the selling process and the probability that it will turn into an order.

Read: Sales Pipeline

The sales pipeline helps to monitor progress… or lack of it… and also acts as an early warning for future business.

What To Do – Lead Conversion Measures

  • Calculate lead conversion rates
  • By month, rolling 12 months, by product, by salesperson
  • August 1%,5%,13%,15%,15%,15%
  • Nov’     3%,8%,16%,19%,19%,20%
  • Calculate success rates along the pipeline
  • Define and calculate your sales pipeline value (include or exclude order book)

Find Your Selling Process

  • Generic consultative sales process
  • Many very good sales systems
  • New Game of Selling, Sandler Sales, SPIN, Peter Thomson, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy
  • Model your winners – what do they say, how, why, when – or study how people sell to you
    • Best prospector
    • Best closer
    • Best relationship builder

Sales Process

  • Qualify the lead
  • Build rapport
  • Investigate
  • Propose
  • Clarify the offer/handle objections
  • Close/contract…even “open the relationship”
  • Follow up
  • Stick, Future Orders, Referrals
  • Get Paid

What To Do On Your Lead Conversion and Pipeline Statistics

  • Decide how to measure your lead conversion rates and put it into action
  • Decide if you will measure sales pipeline – only for high value, long order cycles
  • Look at stages in your selling and identify where the big conversion losses happen
  • What is the cost of each stage – time & money
  • Danger of no-hopers – feels good but no money in spending time with people who won’t buy

Step 1 Qualifying (Before Visit)

Selling is the process which converts customer interest into money but it can be hugely expensive in terms of time, energy and money.

That’s why you need a qualifying process to make sure you focus your attention on those customers who fit your target market and are likely to buy.

Read: Qualifying

Questions Customers Ask Before They Buy

  • Will this give me what I want?
  • Can I trust the salesperson? Are they interested in what’s best for me or just making the sale?
  • Is it worth the time, energy and money for a big search?
  • Can I get a better deal elsewhere?
  • What will other people say if I buy?

Customer Opportunity Analysis

I haven’t seen this idea anywhere else but being intentional in what you do is a consistent theme throughout the Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity.

I believe that if you know where you want to go with a customer, you can plot a way to get there.

The way you should deal with a customer who will spend £20,000 with you for the next ten years and can connect you to many other people is a very different prospect to someone who might buy £200 once.

Read: Customer Opportunity Analysis

Step 2 – Building Rapport

The second step is to get to know the customer better.

Build up trust between you so the customer will share more of the truth about the problem that needs to be solved.

Read: Building Rapport

DISC Personality Types

Have you noticed how you click with some people and not others.

In fact some people may drive you crazy with the way they ramble on or ignore any social niceties and cut straight to the choice.

It’s what happens when two personality styles clash… and if you want to get in rapport with more people, you need to learn to adjust your style to ft with your buyer.

Read: DISC Personality Types

Set The Agenda

  • Agenda – look professional – gently take control
  • Objective of meeting – time limits
  • Background
  • Easy to talk about
  • Look for patterns
  • Clarify who’s who
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Next Steps

Step 3 Investigate Needs

If you are going to distinguish yourself from the stereotype salesman who pushes products and services at people, regardless of what they want, then you will need to excel in this area.

The more you understand your prospective customer before you present your solution, the more you can make sure it fits like a glove.

You find out your customer’s needs by asking questions and listening carefully to the answers for what’s said… and what’s not said.

Read: Investigating Needs With Questions

Sales Process Action Steps 1-3

This is such a long module and its contents is so important, I want you to do the exercises as we go along.

  • Design your qualification/opportunity sheet
  • Practice building rapport with family & friends
  • Write down language patterns, body language
  • Are they towards or away from motivated
  • Be aware of how you naturally match & mirror
  • Try leading and see how they respond
  • Find your standard questions, write down,  practice, test and improve

Step 4 Propose the Solution

As you learnt in the section on SPIN Questions, the novice sales person hears the customer share a problem and immediately says “I can fix that” and begins to present the solution.

Unfortunately knowing the customer has a problem isn’t enough to get the sale, you need to understand the implications and the potential rewards for fixing it.

Only then can you move forward to present your solution.

Read: Propose the Solution

If relevant to you read: Sales Presentations To Groups and Written Proposals

Step 5 Clarify The Offer

You’ve asked lots of questions, listened carefully and you’ve presented what you believe to be a great solution – and you believe in your heart that your competitors can’t come close – so why isn’t the customer buying?

First communication is a two way process – what you mean to say may not be what the customer understands you to say.

Let’s go through that a little slower and see the gaps:

  • What you mean to say
  • What you say
  • What your customer hears
  • What your customer understands
  • What your customer believes

Ever talked to a computer geek or car mechanic and only understood one in three words and had no idea of what the overall message means?

Or listened to your accountant or bank manager as they express concern about how leveraged your business is and you must reduce your gearing to 2:1 by the end of the year and there should be the potential in your Quick ratio without having to inject more equity?

Second, you took the time to ask lots of questions to find the right solution to present. Isn’t it inevitable that your customer is going to want to check to make sure you understood what he or she said… that you really have catered for the exact needs and wants?

Third you may have said something that raises a red flag to the customer.

“What do you mean 6 to 8 weeks delivery? I need them by the end of next week and I’ve got two quotes on my desk from your competitors who promise to send them 2 to 3 days after order.”

Fourth, you may have the best product and you may be offering the best price… but it’s even better for the buyer if you knock an extra 10% off. Be prepared for a little price haggling because it’s often seen as part of the game.

It’s time to…

Read: Clarify the offer and handle objections

Step 6 Closing The Sale

OK it’s time to get the order.

Yes if you’ve done everything right and you have a competitive product at a good price, the customer should be taking the initiative but they can be scared of making the decision.

So ask for the order.

Read: Closing The Sale

Step 7 Follow Up

What a relief when you win the order and you get the high from succeeding.

The sales process doesn’t end there, whether you are the business owner or the sales representative, you need to make sure the order sticks.

And that you’ve set up the next order.

Read: Follow Up

Win / Loss Analysis

You can learn a lot from doing a win/loss analysis and especially with the high value customers right in the bullseye of your target market.

If you won the order, find out what clinched the deal.

If you didn’t win, find out why not.

Read: Win Loss Analysis

Step 8 Getting Paid

This is a step I really like – guess the inner accountant is coming out again.

Read: Getting Paid

Sales Process Action Steps 4-8

Identify & practice your features, advantages & benefits and links to common problems
Practice setting the buying criteria & uniqueness
Be comfortable with the financial payback
Identify common objectives practice responses
Practice reading the buying signals and closing / asking for the order
Have clear responsibility for payment
Establish a win/loss analysis process – follow the money

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