A good sales process will help you to sell more and convert more prospects into fee paying clients. 

A good sales process helps good sales people become better sales people. In fact all really good sales people use a sales process, they just keep it secret as they’d rather you believed in magic.

So, you know that a sales process is a series of steps that you will follow and that it will:

  1. Help you sell more
  2. Stop you losing track of prospects
  3. Making them more likely to buy, as you focus on the right thing at the right time
  4. Help you manage your sales staff more easily, so they sell more

Some key points about your sales process

  • It needs to be your process, not something generic
  • All your team will need to be able to follow the same process
  • It needs to consider how people buy, not just how you want to sell
  • The steps are about exchanges of commitment by both parties as they progress
  • You need to know every prospect is in the pipeline at all times

Ideas to help create your sales process

Your series of steps, each stage with a name that can be clearly written down, will help you sell more. Partly because when using it you’re helping prospects to the next stage, rather than focusing on the end sale.

  • Consider what people do when they buy. Typically steps like Problem recognition, understanding economic consequences, committing some form of funding, defining their decision criteria, evaluating alternatives and then selecting a supplier. How much do you think about their buying process?
  • What information can you give them depending on where they are in the cycle? It’s no good giving them information about solutions when they don’t realise they have a problem!
  • What do you need to know before they become a client? What information will ensure you know enough to decide which of your specialisms are most appropriate to them?
  • What sequence do you need the information in?
  • What do prospects  need to know before doing business with you?
  • What would make them feel really comfortable and know that you ARE THE person to help them.

Create a series of steps from this information. At each step the prospect should be committing to something and you should be doing a bit more.  An exchange of commitment could be as simple as an information exchange, as practical as agreeing diary time, or as complicated as signed letters of intent. You should be able to, if needed, outline the whole process so it would make sense to a prospect.

Think about how you’ll use it

  • You’ll not be proceeding to the next step unless the previous one had been completed, have a “test” to ensure that it has been. That could just be, did the commitments exchange in both ways for that step.
  • If you give things away in your process (free audit of prospects accounts etc) you should ensure it’s at the right place and you have the information/ commitment you need from the prospect before proceeding with it.

Interestingly sometimes I’ve stepped a prospect through a process in 7 months and sometimes one meeting – but the same sequence occurred.

You also need the discipline to follow it each time!

What other pieces would you include in a sales process for your firm?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

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