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Thursday, 27 August 2009

5 stages to a sales call - Are there more?

My thanks to Robert Middleton for bringing this to my attention, Robert as many of you know runs a very successful online business called Action Plan Marketing; find him at http://actionplan.com/. Specifically, having read my article on "The 5 stages of a sales call" Robert asks about 3 other stages in the sales process Desired Future, Challenges in Getting There, Present Your Services and then close.

Finding your prospects desired future is key to making successful sales, this is an essential part of the qualification process. Your questioning should try to uncover both your prospects personal & business aspirations. This is particularly relevant for senior staff and especially business owners, as their business aspirations will tend to be subservient to their personal aspirations. The better you are at uncovering personal needs and wants the more sales you'll close.

Highlighting the challenges in getting there is also part of the qualification process, since you're attempting to get your prospect to uncover all the problems he faces and most importantly get him to talk about the consequences of not overcoming them. You must however concentrate on areas where you product provides a solution therefore increasing the value of your offering. Only once you are sure you've uncovered all his obstacles do you venture to offer a solution. If you go in too early you devalue what you're selling.

Present your Services fits neatly between the qualification stage and the close in my model. It is nevertheless an important point to only present your services when you're clear what problems the prospect has. You solution should be couched squarely at you prospects specific needs starting with what you think is the most important. This way you get you prospects buy in early and so making the close easier.

I see the first two as an essential part of the qualification process, but recognise that they are an excellent aide memoir in getting sales people to focus on particular groups of questions as they progress through a sales call.

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