If your goal is to have a successful business then turning leads into customers is an important part of attaining that goal. If you have taken the time and spent the money to create those leads then it makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity. According to the Harvard Business Review, a series of studies conducted by the Chally Group found that 39% of B2B customers made their purchase because of the skills of the salesperson and not the price, quality, or service features. After thirty years of doing sales in many different industries, I have come up with the eight basic steps that will work for any product or service.
There may be little tweaks to be made depending on the product or service but these eight steps will improve almost any salesperson’s closing percentage no matter how much experience they have. The eight steps are like signs with directions down a path. A path with no shortcuts and no cut corners. With a little practice, almost anyone can do it. And remember, all you are doing is helping a customer complete a decision they began before they even contacted you
Meet and greet. This is your one and only chance to make a good first impression. The first interaction can set the tone for the entire process. If you present yourself as a knowledgeable professional from the beginning you will gain the customer’s trust which will go a long way to earning a customer.
Sell yourself and your company. This is not so much a step as something you should be doing during the entire process.
Build rapport. In my opinion, this is the most important step especially if you are looking for long-term or repeat customers. Finding common ground will help the customer feel more relaxed and make it easier for them to make an informed decision.
Qualify and determine customers needs. This step is more about asking questions and listening. You must be able to adequately determine what product best fits their needs and if they have the resources to complete the sale. You are helping them select the product or service that best suits their needs.
Feature and benefits presentation. This is your chance to shine. Since you have been listening to what the customer needs you can now show them the features and how they will benefit them. Every feature has a benefit.
Demonstrate product or service. This is akin to the test drive when buying a new vehicle and the time to show off your product knowledge. It is time to have the customer touch and feel your product. If you are pitching a service then you need to show examples of your work.
Get a commitment. If you have followed the steps, in a perfect world, then this should be an easy transaction.
Follow up. If you have confidence in the product or service you are representing then you should have no problem with a courtesy call to thank them and make sure they are satisfied with their purchase. If you are not comfortable with making the follow-up call then you need to find something else to sell.
Once you and your staff master these steps your sales will improve. Every business owner should consider implementing these steps before raising the advertising budget. These are the basics and may need to be modified some to better fit your business model or product. If you are struggling with gaining new customers the first action to take is to think about the process. Before raising your advertising budget make sure that the opportunities you are getting are being handled the right way. Your sales will improve and you will be offering better customer service because the customer is being moved through the buying experience without your sales people being pushy. Basically, check your process before spending precious ad dollars so you do not waste them. Running a small business is hard enough without doing things the wrong way.