What exactly is selling, and this thing called the sales process?

Selling is a process that involves persuading or convincing someone to buy your product, service or idea.  One of the key word here is process.  If we looked up this word, we will find many different meanings. There is one definition, however, that stands out as being the “right one” to use.

A process is an organized series of actions directed to some end. Again, a process is an organized series of actions directed to some end. For the “sales process”, our end is a sale.   The common wisdom held among experts, gurus and masters is that if anyone understands and completely knows the process involved in any activity, he or she can be successful in that activity.  By the same token, without knowing the process of an activity, you’re involved in; you’re destined for uncertainty, confusion and poor performance. These same points hold true for the sales process. If you know the exact process for selling and can apply it correctly, you will succeed.

Thus, the sales process” is the systematic, repeatable series of steps that map out and track all interactions with a prospect from the first point of engagement all the way through to the sale, and finally the delivery of the product. Many sales experts refer to this process as the “road to the sale”.  This phrase is used because it outlines a map, a road-map, of all the steps we take to arrive at a sale, our destination.  It is also because the “sales process” is that singular pathway we should take each and every time we desire to get to a sale.

Now the steps that make up a specific “sales process” will vary from industry to industry, company to company and product to product.  There are, however, some common steps that are inherent in just about every “road to the sale”.  These broad steps include:

The approach (can be buyer initiated or salesperson initiated);

The intro, greeting and/or pitch;

The discovery or needs analysis;

The selection, the design and the presentation of the product that best fits the needs, wants and requirements under-covered during the previous step;

The trial close;

The sales order;

The negotiation;

The overcoming of barriers and obstacles;

The agreement and exchange;

The delivery and service;

Again, while the particular steps of a specific “sales process” will vary, the steps listed above are some of the broad steps that are inherent in just about every sales process. Of course, some companies and processes might have more steps; while others might consolidate steps.  Moreover, it is possible to have a sales process that is simple and thus happening in a single engagement (often referred to as a one-call close); Or you might have a much more complex sales process where these steps unfold over a series of calls, a number of engagements, lasting anywhere from days, to months and yes even years. Whichever is the case, it is very important to know your sales process and to follow it to the letter so that you can predict with a high degree of certainty the likelihood of closing a deal.

In closing, it is very important that when creating and following your “road to the sale”, you should keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind like:

Do have a process; Don’t take a random approach;

Do commit the process to memory; be able to recite it forwards and backwards;

Do know the purpose and benefit of each step;

Do not miss a step; Your ability to be successful depends upon your ability to follow the steps precisely;

Do not take short cuts;

Don’t let a buyer talk you out of a step;

Don’t jump ahead; for example don’t begin to discuss price before settling on a product;

Don’t be too mechanical in following the process, it should be fluid and smooth;

Do approach and execute each step from the mode of service;

Always, always, always follow each step, no matter what, even if you think that it is a slam dunk.


Christopher Bass | Founder | www.academyofappliedselling.com

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