Monday, May 6, 2013

How Does Your Sale Flow?

Sales Flow.  We know it's important.  How do you develop one?  Let's get specific.

Sales Flow is the process used with the customer to result in the sale.  It's the difference between being a sales professional and being an order-taker.  (Professionals are in control of the process, and order-takers wait to be told what is being purchased.)  Sales flow always includes the same pieces, and what varies is the order.  What never varies is the sales professional stays in control of the conversation.

Omitting any of the pieces of the flow seriously damages your chance of getting the sale.  Even if the customer is chomping at the bit, desparate to buy.  If you don't get through the entire sales process you risk a buyers-remorse cancel, or worse, an unhappy customer who doesn't cancel - they just badmouth you for the length of the relationship.

So what's the flow?  These are the necessary pieces.

Interview - Probing Questions - Qualifying - Need Recognition
These are many words for basically the same thing.  You are questioning the customer about how they're meeting the product need right now, and how they've determined that it's time to talk to you.  Let's use the car salesman as an example.  "What are you driving now?"  "Is this car your primary vehicle?"  "What has you shopping for a vehicle today?"   "What's your dream car?" "What kind of driving do you do the most?" "Do you have anything in particular in mind?" It's particularly effective to combine this step with the "Excitement" step.

Establish Relationship
The reason a salesperson is involved in this sale is the product sells best in a relationship sale.  You need to create a positive relationship with each of your prospects.  Your personality needs to be involved - no robotic conversation here.  Notice everything about the customer that you can.  If they have a bumper sticker about fishing, ask them about fishing.  Let them be the expert.  Relate the attributes of the vehicles back to fishing.  Even if you personally hate fishing (or kids, or antiquing, or whatever they love) find questions that bridge the gap between their passion and your product.

Excitement - Drive - Desire - Urgency
A prospect who is not excited is unlikely to become a customer.  If you're selling cars and saying cars are a necessary evil in today's modern world, your chances of making the sale are much lower than if you're talking about the seat-of-the-pants thrill of feeling the car accellerate with just a flick of the gas pedal.  You need to generate excitement for using the product.  This is the difference between presenting features and benefits and creating urgency for the customer to buy.

Presentation and Disclosure
Features, benefits, and disclosures need to be presented consistently throughout the interaction.  (Features are important facts about the product or service being sold, usually ones unique to your particular product or service.  Benefits are advantages the customer will receive by purchasing your product or service.  Disclosure is making the customer aware of what most of us think of as "small print."  This is any agreement or assumption of liability between the parties involved in the sale.)  Weave the features and benefits through, touching on each one several times.  Touching on the disclosures only once, or providing them in writing instead of discussing them helps to keep the focus on the positive.  If the customer asks about the details of any disclosure, handle them as directed by your

Close the Sale
This is the part we all love!  The prospect becomes a customer, and commits to the purchase. This is the time to emphasize benefits.  Ask for the customer's business.  Thank them for their business.  Discuss things past the sale, like delivery dates or what the client will feel when they are in possession of the product.  This step also works well when woven through the entire sale process.  "Trial" closes keep your finger on the pulse of your prospect's excitement level.  Checking on what delivery date would be good, or what tow hitch fits well on this vehicle in the beginning or middle of the process can appear to be simple note-taking to the customer while subtly moving your sales agenda forward.

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