The science behind sales success: A three-stage process

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Earlier in this series, you learned from John Asher that sales aptitude reflects 50 per cent of potential, and that it is important to build a sales pipeline that is appropriate for your sales cycle — and that means generally you won’t have more than 50 “prospects” in your active list. We also learned that you really need to know and understand your potential clients — ideally through relationships and connections (insiders) you know before the sales process even starts.

Now you are in the room with the person you wish would purchase your services. There’s an interesting point, not specifically outlined by Asher here, that I think to be important. Generally, if you follow the earlier guidelines, you’ll find it almost natural and inevitable to be successful because, if you have handled the previous stages properly, you will probably not blow it here.

Asher describes how first visual impressions are vitally important; you want a positive response, because that sets the stage for everything else. That means dressing appropriately for your environment; even checking on the dress code with your insider connection before making the call.

Then, the one-two-three process for selling begins:

  • Build rapport;
  • Perform a robust, disciplined needs analysis to understand the customer’s needs; and
  • Offer a solution that is a perfect fit.

Obviously, these stages, while scripted, cannot seem to come from a script. (I doubt too many people will build rapport with a robot.) The “needs analysis” suggests you should focus on listening and taking notes rather than pushing the potential client into your scripted presentation. However, I think if you have done your homework, you’ll have a good idea of the clients’ needs and your capacity to match them before you get started.

Certainly, you won’t just offer an “off the shelf” solution — well, it may be your standard product/service, but you’ll know how to identify its true value for your client.

The key here is preparation; you cannot really achieveĀ great results by banging on dozens of doors, calling cold, and expecting to make the level and quality of connections you need to succeed. When the long process of building your knowledge and setting the stage for the sales process to reach its final stage (the close), you’ll be so prepared that you won’t need to feel you are stressing for the big accomplishment.

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