Dissect a Selling Process to Improve Sales Effectiveness
In a recent article, Dissect the Buying Process to Improve Sales Effectiveness, an example of a buying process was outlined. Just as there is a step-by-step buying process, there is also a step-by-step selling process. By understanding the different stages that a prospect goes through and the different stages that a seller goes through, you can work then align the two processes to improve sales effectiveness.
Below are some examples of main steps in a typical selling process:
1. Farmer: It may be common to believe that the selling process starts when the prospect admits a need and interest in buying, but it actually starts way before that and this occurs in the Farmer stage. This stage starts when you call a prospect and they say they are not interested, not looking to change, or do not have money. At this point, it is time to farm and this involves planting seeds that can grow into interest and into an opportunity. An example of activities in this stage are introduction conversations, check in calls, emails dripping information to the prospect like news articles, events, reports, etc.
2. Student: As a prospect begins to acknowledge that there could be a benefit from making a change, it is time to progress to the Student stage of the process. This is where the focus is on learning about the prospect. Typical things to learn about are what is working, what is not working, what is the impact of not making any changes, what are the benefits of making improvements, what is the decision making process, etc.
3. Doctor: After you have collected information and learned about the prospect, you can progress to the Doctor stage, which involves sharing ideas about cause of their challenges and potential directions that could go to drive positive results. A good tactic at this stage is to share stories on how you have seen prospects in similar situations drive positive results.
4. Architect: If you get the prospect’s acknowledgement of challenges, agreement of pursuing improvements, and interest in working with you to determine the right solution, then you can progress to the Architect mode. In this stage, you will work directly with the prospect to design what “good” or the “ideal solution” looks like. For sales effectiveness, it is key for the prospect is involved as much as possible in this stage.
5. Coach: As the prospect begins to consider your solution, they are likely to compare it with other options. At this point, you will want to progress to the Coach stage, which involves you being a coach to the prospect by helping them to consider all of the factors to consider. Being as unbiased at this point will help to build rapport and credibility and drive sales effectiveness.
6. Therapist: It is likely that as the prospect gets closer to making the commitment, they could experience fear from the risks of not making the right decision. At this point, it can be helpful to be play the role of Therapist and be there for the prospect and help them deal with any anxiety from buying.
7. Negotiator: As the process evolves toward a commitment and transaction, the selling process will move on to the Negotiator stage and this is fairly self-explanatory.
8. Teacher: The selling process does not stop after the purchase is made. The last stage is Teacher and this is where you will work to teach the prospect on what they have bought and how to best use it. Your goal in this stage is to help them get the most out of what they have purchased so, not only do they come back to you to purchase again, but they also refer their friends and family, which will have a great bonus effect on sales effectiveness.
It is important to understand these stages so that you can align with the prospect’s buying process and drive sales effectiveness.