Sales Process Steps
by Ron Kurtus (revised 12 December 2019)
Every sale involves a process of several steps. Skipping a step or going out of order will typically result in a lost sale.The process of getting a person to purchase your product or service starts with preparing yourself for selling, qualifying the prospect, showing or demonstrating your wares, negotiating the sale, and making your exchange. Following these steps will greatly improve your sales percentage.
Questions you may have include:
- What are the five steps in making a sale?
- What is done in each step of the process?
- How do you tie this all together?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Five steps in making a sale
There are five basic steps in making a sale:
- Prepare to sell
- Meet and qualify the prospect
- Demonstrate product or service
- Negotiate the conditions of the sale
- Make the exchange and deliver goods
Each step must be taken and in the order listed.
Details on sales process steps
Each step in the process is explained below:
Before you start selling as a profession and before each sale, you need to prepare. You should certainly know all about what you are selling and how to sell. You also should know about your potential customers. Your attitude before selling is important. You need motivation, confidence, and enthusiasm.
2. Meet and qualify
Some companies use advertising to bring in potential customers or to get leads. Others require the sales staff to find prospects and arrange a demonstration. That step is not considered part of the sale process, since it is often done outside of the sales department.
Once the company has found suspected customers, the salesman must meet the person and qualify whether he or she is a prospect.
There are a number of ways you can arrange to get together with a prospect, depending on the business:
- A prospect may come into the company showroom
- There may be an appointment to meet, either at the prospect's office or yours
- You go to the office or home, unannounced (also called a cold-call)
Qualify the prospect
Qualifying is talking to the person to find out as much as you can about what the prospect wants, as well as interests and possible "hot buttons" that may influence a sale.
Some areas to ask about include:
- What model? Color? Style?
- Price range?
- Who is the decision-maker? (i.e. husband or wife?)
Qualifying typically follows the AIDA routine of get attention, find interest, find desire, initiate action.
(See Qualifying Prospect Who Comes into Showroom for more information.)
3. Demonstrate wares
Seldom is a sale made without some sort of demonstration of the product or service. Sometimes testimonials can replace a demonstration. The benefits of the product or service will convince the person that he or she wants it.
Note that sometimes people will ask for the "best price" before they have even had a demonstration of the product. You cannot start negotiating price before a person has been sold on the product. Usually these people are simply looking for a price-range that they can afford (which should have been handled in the qualifying section) or they aren't serious buyers at this time.
4. Negotiate the sale
Negotiation concerns convincing the prospect to become a customer and to buy the product or service. This is what is called "closing the sale" in many cases. Why we call it negotiating is because, if the price is right, the person will usually buy.
The is also the area where the person will raise objections and doubts about buying.
5. Make the exchange and deliver goods
Once the person agrees to terms, payment is often made and delivery of the product or service is arranged. The sale is usually complete. But sometimes the sale gets to this point and the person cannot get the financing. Other problems may occur at this juncture, so the deal isn't done until the money is in your hands.
Advantages of process
This process is a logical look at how people buy and the necessary steps involved. You are wasting your time if you demonstrate before qualifying or negotiate before demonstrating. But if you following the process in order, you are in a much better position to make a sale.
Selling involves a process of several steps that starts with preparing yourself for selling, then qualifying the prospect, showing or demonstrating your wares, negotiating the sale, and making your exchange. Following these steps will greatly improve your sales percentage.
Know how to sell
Resources and references
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Sales Process Steps