According to Ron Willingham, the author of Integrity Selling, there are six steps in the sales process and if you follow these steps, you will always make a sale. You know what, he’s right. Every new sales representative at our company starts with a review of Integrity Selling. And the best part is that integrity is the single most important character trait to be a successful salesperson.
Let’s take a look at the six steps . . .
1. Approach – this step creates the foundation for a solid relationship and so your first impression must be positive. Did you know that people make 11 decisions about you in the first 7 seconds of contact? Although this is hard to believe, I conducted an interview this week and I knew that I was not going to hire the candidate as we shook hands for the first time.
2. Interview – this is the most important step in the process; the step where you ask questions to your prospect in order to discover a need, opportunity or want. Remember, you have two ears and one mouth so use them in that proportion. Questions are the key to ascertaining whether or not your product or service can help a prospect. And listening is critical – you should spend at least 80% of your time in this step just listening.
3. Demonstrate – now it’s your turn to show how your product or service can solve a problem, increase their sales, reduce expenses, and so on. Make sure to establish value before discussing price. Prepare a well thought out proposal if your product or service requires a major investment.
4. Validate – it’s important to validate your offering by extolling the benefits, not just the features. Every product or service should have tangible benefits that satisfy a psychological motive which can include profit, pride, pleasure or peace. The benefit of a gym membership is not the facilities, the exercise machines or the location. The benefits are weight loss which means improved health, confidence, more energy and so on.
5. Negotiate – this step is important because most sales are not just consummated as presented. There are always concerns and objections. However, it is important to achieve a win win scenario. A good negotiation includes give and take. Always try to maintain your price and add value.
6. Close – this step is simply asking for the order when the time is right. So when is the time right? When you have followed the first five steps in the process. Closing is an attitude and if you truly believe that your product or service will benefit the buyer, you have a professional obligation to make the sale.
So follow the steps and you will sell.