Understanding The Fundamentals Of Selling
Generating leads is a vital part of the sales process. To help you get a better understanding of how to generate profitable sales leads, here are a few words to help you get a better understanding of the fundamental elements of selling.
Prospecting is essentially planning and researching. There are plenty of tried and tested clichés batted around warning you about the perils of not planning. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” is my favourite. But however worn out that saying is, it offers concrete advice.
The first stage in the selling process is research. Or prospecting.
This pre-sales research can be done from your desktop. It involves gathering as much information about your prospective client as possible. You can use search engines, news stories and social media to gather insight and background information on a prospect.
When prospecting, pay particular attention to how your product or service can provide a benefit to your potential customer.
Does it help them streamline a complicated process, saving them money?
Does it help them gain market share by doing something their competition doesn’t?
Once you’ve established how you can specifically help your prospect, the next part of the research stage is discovering who the key decision makers are. Make sure you aim for c-level and directors. It is far easier to be referred downwards than upwards.
Here’s an acronym to help with your prospecting:
M – Money. Does a budget for exist? Can you create a business case for one?
A – Authority. Who is the key decision maker? Who will sign off on your proposal?
N – Need. What specific business need are you helping to fix?
A – Action. As the sales person, what future actions can you prepare for now?
C – Is the deal competitive?
T – Create a series of time bound events, leading to the sale being closed.
Now you’re fully prepared with your business case, supporting facts and figures and an appointment with the relevant people within your prospect’s organisation, it’s show time.
The presentation really has three main functions.
- It provides you with an opportunity to learn more about your prospect’s business needs, in a face to face environment.
- It allows you to overcome initial objections immediately.
- You can establish a commitment from the client to move forward.
Be sure to keep your presentation concise, relevant and interesting. Focus the content on how your product or service provides the benefits you researched in the prospecting stage.
Also, your prospect will have questions. Lots of them. Prepare sound responses with facts and supporting documents ahead of time. So when you’re prospect says, “we’re looking to move our customer database over to web-based technology, how does that affect what you do?” you can be ready to say, “Yes, we knew you were thinking about this when we read your press release last month. Our product is already compatible with a web-based CRM, in fact we’ve already helped Company XYZ implement a web-based system and they’ve reduced customer complaints by 15%”.
No doubt you’ll agree, it sounds a lot more impressive than, “Erm. Not really sure. Can we get back to you on that?”
Picture the scene… After delivering a series of well oiled, faultless presentations, you’re given the good news that you’ve been selected and your prospect wants to proceed with your company.
It is time to prepare yourself for the next step in the sales process: negotiation.
To minimise the impact of giving aspects of your service away for nothing, try to identify areas your prospect will perceive as high value that you perceive as low value.
Where possible, if you are forced to give something away, get something in return.
Now the negotiations have been finalised and both you and your prospect are happy, closing the deal is the only thing remaining.
And considering all the hard work that’s gone into making a deal perfect for both parties, it should be relatively straightforward.
So here are 3 simple things you can do to help close your new deal:
- Stay in control. Make sure it is you driving the contact and next steps.
- Don’t let the conversation go quiet. Always have a ‘reason to call’ and keep momentum
- Invite the CEO to close the deal; they just love doing the final deal!