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Steps in the Sales Process

Steps in the Sales Process

Steps in the Sales Process

Understanding the basics of the actual sales process, and customizing them for your business, are critical in building customer relationships.

Whatever your setting, and whether you sell a product or service, the following steps are the ones you should use:

  1. Know your product or service. Before you even have a preliminary conversation with a prospect, it is essential that you clearly understand what attributes make your product or service unique or desirable, and why people should want what you have to offer.
  2. Make initial contact. The actual sales conversations with people in your target market begin when you start letting them get to know you, and vice versa.
  3. Exchange information. This step consists of meeting with your prospects, asking them questions, uncovering their needs, giving them information about your product or service, and determining how it might fill those stated needs. Don't be afraid to acknowledge gaps in your knowledge or understanding; such sincerity comes through in a positive way.
  4. Propose a solution. Once you have ascertained that there is a good fit between you and the prospect, you can propose how your product or service would specifically solve a problem or handle a need. By understanding the features and benefits of competing products or services, you can also prove at this point how what you offer is better.
  5. Confirm the sale. Rather than focusing on "closing the sale," a term that indicates the end of the process, confirming the sale means you are reviewing the customer's willingness and ability to make a commitment. It is a natural extension of a sales relationship built on a foundation of trust, respect and rapport.
  6. Deliver. Although actually delivering your product or service is not technically part of the sales process, it is a very critical step. If you don't deliver, you don't have a sale. In addition, during this step you have an excellent opportunity to continue to build trust and cement your relationship with your client.
  7. Follow up. This is the time to find out how your client likes your product or service. This stage provides an ideal chance to create repeat business or get referrals to new prospects. And if there is a problem, you have an opportunity to correct it.
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