A balanced and consistent sales process is critical to the survival and growth of any business, agency, or corporation. The fact is a company can only go as far as their sales will take them. This means that, if a salesperson or team is unsuccessful you can bet that the company will be as well. There are many different approaches and views on what the ideal sales process is or looks like. However, if you are looking for the perfect approach, you better be the most patient person in the world because there is no such thing. There are only opinions, judgments, and past statistics to try and guide you in the right direction. So from my experiences, here is my opinion on what the ideal sales process looks like.
The Initial Call
The initial call is one of the most important parts of the sales process. This is where you want to plant that initial seed in their mind and let them know that you are here. It is important to be confident and speak clearly. Control the conversation and show them that you know what you are talking about. The best call is a smart call. So, be sure to know their company, industry, and speak their language. By doing so, this will increase the probability that the call will go well. Sales professionals will get a prospects voicemail the majority of the time, and it is important not to get discouraged when this happens. Even though you did not speak directly with the prospect, a good voicemail is still a step in the right direction and a chance to get your name and company name out there. Also, too many salespeople attempt to sell to the prospect on the initial call. This approach most likely will fail 9 times out of 10. In my experience, the initial call is all about trying to set-up a meeting.
The Follow-Up Email
The follow-up email is a big part of the sales process. However, some sales professionals still do not seem to understand exactly how to send a follow-up email correctly or just how beneficial it can be. What many salespeople do not realize is that even though they may have gotten a prospects voicemail on the initial call and have not heard a response since, this does not automatically mean that they are uninterested. Many prospects are more comfortable communicating with people they have never spoken to before via email instead of over the phone. Also, many prospects are extremely busy and email might be the quickest and most convenient form of communication. So, it is important to be thorough when sending a follow-up email to a prospect. Make sure to tailor each email to those prospects specific needs. The same generic email to every prospect is boring, ineffective, and quite frankly is plain lazy. In my experience, it is also best to send your follow-up emails first thing in the morning because that is when everyone checks all of their emails. By doing so, this will improve the chances of your email being read.
The Follow-Up Call
In my experience, the follow up call is the turning point in the sales process. If are lucky enough to get a hold of the prospect on the follow-up call, you can usually start to gauge how interested or disinterested the prospect is. At this point in the process, the prospect has most likely looked over the information that you have sent them and has a pretty good idea on if they are looking to acquire your company’s services or not.
The Meeting is the most important part of the sales process. This is where you separate the men from the boys. When a sales professional is lucky enough to get a meeting it is time to buckle down and prepare physically and mentally. Make sure to develop a presentation that briefly highlights your company’s services and how you can help the prospect address their major pain points. Also, too many sales people go into a meeting and continuously talk about their company and achievements. This is a big mistake! It is important that when you go into a meeting that it is conversational. You need to find out everything you can about that prospect and what their needs or struggles are. Then you can speak to how your company can help to address that need. In my experience, if you go to a meeting and you are talking more than the prospect is that is not a good sign. So, be confident and engage the prospect! Finally, be sure to ask the prospect what the next step is and always leave something behind (e.g. business card, folder, etc.)