In this post, I want to discuss fundamental sales principles and how to improve sales success. That has not been tried with product sales, so I don’t know how it works. This strategy works best in software or technology. But I’ve had fantastic success applying this approach in software for the past seven years. If you have been successful in sales for some time, this approach is nothing new, and you are already familiar with it.
I am a sales manager for a software business specializing in developing software for the gambling sector, primarily for casinos, lotteries, and sports betting. I have an MBA. By choosing which leads to pursue and which to ignore, I have used this technique to gain new clients, collect leads, maximize my time, and raise my closing rate. This strategy is helpful for long-term sales because the typical sales cycle in the organization where I am currently employed is around a year or more. In industries like retail, where sales often happen throughout the day, perhaps this is not the ideal approach.
The selling procedure
Let me start by saying that I think of sales activity as a process. Adhering to these basic guidelines boost your chances of making the sale. Although nothing in sales is inevitable, I am confident that if you follow these essential procedures, your chances of closing a transaction will rise.
Sales activity is a process that must be managed with some degree of project management expertise. It may take a while to carry out your plan of action, and you may need to repeat some of the steps until the desired outcome has been obtained, but it is a process, not a naturally occurring talent that can either be acquired or not. Everyone can sell – with tremendous success – they need to follow a simple method that logically advances the prospect from a slight interest in your solution to a willingness to give you money for the service. You are not selling anything if potential customers are not eager to exchange their cash for your answer. The steps in this method demonstrate how to get your prospect to the point where they want to pay you money.
The fundamentals: identifying potential
Each salesperson needs to be skilled in gathering potential customers. You won’t be successful in selling anything if you can’t capture the interest of potential clients. Hence, finding clients is the first step. Why do you do this? You should conduct some study to identify the businesses where you would like to offer your goods or services, depending on your market.
Create a list of potential clients.
Compile a list of your second-best clients.
Research the clients of your rivals and compile a list.
A list of customers is a collection of names and contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses. Sending emails to addresses like “email@example.com” or anything similar is not a good idea. This is not going to help you at all. You must compile a thorough list of 100 businesses and their contacts. In my experience, I always aim for marketing and sales executives, preferably at the C level or higher. I’ve never contacted the technical department when selling technology or in the software industry. Of course, this isn’t true in every circumstance, but from my experience, the technical department will typically reject you immediately. Why? Because, from an operational sense, they will likely see every new piece of technology or software as adding work and causing more issues. They will therefore reject you, but the sales and marketing teams are constantly interested in learning how to boost sales or address other potential problems.
In this sales strategy, it’s essential to pinpoint the issue your product or solution resolves. Spend much time determining the problems this product resolves for your current customers. Find out the original purpose for creating this item or solution if you don’t already know it. Create a message (or email) to your potential consumers using the information from this source. This letter is meant to increase interest in your service or product.
Make sure you format the letter as follows:
Mention three issues that some of your clients (from similar companies) had.
Describe how you resolved this issue.
Offer to get the same issues resolved in their business.
You must be inventive in this situation to come up with challenges to solve. Locate a few clients willing to explain why they initially purchased from you. Which issues did you fix for them? My best judgment is that similar businesses have problems that must be resolved. Include these info in your letter.
Making the sales lead eligible
Verify that the businesses on your list fit your marketing requirements. Don’t waste time pursuing leads you know you won’t be able to close due to legal, environmental, political, financial, or other conditions to become a customer. If the motivations are economic, the prospect must, among other things, have a particular annual turnover. Make sure you are familiar with the firm in question. Research it online, read its newsletter, become an expert in their goods and services, and attempt to comprehend how they operate. What I refer to as prospect qualification occurs here. To ensure I am investing my time in worthwhile possibilities, I make some drastic cutbacks to my list.
Once you’ve finished, send your letter in manageable portions, no more than 10 or 15. And be sure to give EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM a call as a follow-up! Make a call to them. You need to call, visit, or do something else to get the prospects to come to you; the letter alone won’t do it. You have to find a way to contact that person.
Ensuring that you comprehend the issue
Now that your letter has been delivered, you have scheduled a meeting or placed the prospect on the phone. Leave PowerPoint at home, please. Powerpoint salespeople never succeed in closing any deals. Conversations are the first step in the sales process. Gaining as much knowledge about your client as possible is this interaction’s goal. If the client looks concerned, you may start by giving a brief overview of your business and its services in general (using PowerPoint), but be careful not to spend the entire hour you have with them talking. You want to get the potential customer to speak. Asking questions is the only foolproof approach to accomplish it. This is when your research into the business comes into play; you should create a list of inquiries about the enterprise or the circumstance and ensure you fully comprehend the issue they are facing. This is not the place to make a sale; refrain from doing so. Listen and make inquiries. Do you know why salespeople have one mouth but two ears, a man asked me.
Since you have the gift of the gap, I’m sure you obtained the sales position. However, you should listen and take in the information at this step. Prospects will tell you a lot, including how to market their business. The people in sales and marketing are always beneficial.
Make sure the solution corresponds to the issue.
This phase is currently a rinse-and-repeat. It would be best if you learned as much as you can about their company and, more significantly, about their issue. You must eventually find a solution to this puzzle. Yet, you must make sure that their problem is acknowledged and identified. The potential customer must recognize this issue. Once he has completed that or created a list of a few difficulties, you may begin applying your solution to address each one individually. If I can show you how to address this problem, will you consider our solution? It should be the line of dialogue. The idea is to get him to agree to investigate your solution further and give you a chance to show that it solves his problem. This process might involve several meetings.
Get it in writing as well. Record all decisions made during the meeting or chat in the minutes you create after the initial encounter, particularly when the prospect acknowledged his issue and agreed to investigate your solution in more detail. This might also need a few meetings and phone calls, depending on how complicated the situation is. I’ve had prospects where it took months to figure out the issue and ensure the proposed remedy would work.
You now return to your team and include them in providing evidence that your solution can address the prospect’s issue. Creating a schedule similar to an evaluation period is a brilliant idea here. Work up this schedule with the potential client; it will go into effect if you approve.
Well, so here we are:
The issue has been located
The issue’s resolution has been discovered.
Now he wants to know how much it costs. This stage is usually a little challenging, but I’ve discovered a fantastic approach to avoid the awkward “give and pray” trap I used to fall into. Yet, you need one more thing from them before offering them the figures: access to the decision-makers.
How to reach decision-makers
They won’t receive the price unless you get to personally give it to the person or group that makes the final judgment. To maintain control over the sales process, this is essential. Remember that you lose control of the process when you give them the numbers. How do you contact the people who make the decisions? Once more, you inquire, “Are you the one who makes the decision?” If the answer is no, asking whether you could personally present the offer is appropriate since you are the most qualified.
When you reach the decision-makers, check if they recognize and acknowledge the issue. If they don’t, your solution won’t help them, resulting in no sales.
How to present a proposition they cannot refuse
I always utilize the technique I learned from the book Solution Selling when creating the offer: sit down with your prospect in a pre-proposal meeting and come up with the proposal together. Display the figures and the terms of your offer to him. Inform him you are reviewing the request and would like his input on a few issues. Afterward, you discuss a few things while showing him the offer’s draft. He will alter the offer frequently, practically permanently. He might remove something, lower the price, or do anything else. Here, it would be best if you were firm and did not back down on touchy subjects.
finalizing the sale
You now present the offer. It’s a deal that can’t be beaten. It is a solution to the business’s main issue and will increase its revenue. It would be fantastic if you could create a return on investment strategy, but it is not always possible in practice. You now meet with the decision-makers and deliver your argument and the offer they assisted in developing. If they participated in its creation, they probably would accept it.
Now that you have that signature, please give it to legal so they can draft the contract.
This is essentially how I close every sale. If you do these actions, I’m confident your no-sale job will become a successful streak where you close every month, earning you the sales commission. I also advise you to read more about this topic on Entrepreneur.com if interested.
Sales manager for fourteen years, Aegir Saevarsson.
Read also: How to Incorporate a Business in the State of Washington