What are the key attributes that differentiate a good salesperson versus a great salesperson? If we think of "selling" as a process which has steps to help guide a customer to reach a buying decision, then there must be elements of that process that can be influenced by the exceptional salesperson?
Some of which include:
- Guiding the customer through the process
- Listening to what the customers' needs are
- Focusing on problem-solving (which is achieved by actively listening)
- Focusing on the long-term game and that efforts now lead to repeat business down the track
Selling and closing the sale relies on creating an environment in which the customer feels comfortable and that they have established an authentic and relatable relationship with the sales professional.
Let's consider the 5 Steps Professional Salespeople use:
Reaching out to potential leads and prospects is critical in the sales process, you cannot expect leads to materialise and come to you. The experience salesperson has an established lead funnel which provides consistent new business for them. When reaching out its essential its done with the intent of providing value to the prospective customer, whether that be by giving information or some other way to establish credibility. The first stage of contact is about building rapport and guiding the client to want to work with you.
The most successful sales agents go out and cultivate new business, and the more they do it the better they get at identifying key leads and markets to focus.
At this stage, the professional salesperson deep dives and assess what the prospect needs, not what they are trying to sell them. You may have a range of solutions that suit the prospect, and this is the stage to really understand what they are looking for BEFORE offering a solution. Akin to a brainstorming session and enables you to continue from step 1 where you were building rapport and credibility.
Asking well considered and thought out questions shows the client you are interested and working in their best interests. A good sales agent understands questioning and probing is an important stage in the process helping to diagnose the situation and the likelihood of a fit between the client's needs and the product on offer.
Once you've established credibility and rapport and have a solid understanding of the customer's needs, the professional salesperson will go about offering a solution to the customer. This is achieved by developing a tailored presentation for the client that is specific to their requirements.
Experienced sales professionals are patient during this stage and will give their clients the time they need to assess and deliberate on the solution. They are open to questions and feedback as part of the decision process. Impatience or reluctant at this stage to discuss the details can derail the sales process.
The experience salesperson does not take negative feedback personally and instead takes it as an opportunity to engage with the client, to ask more questions and understand where the objections may be coming from before proceeding further in the process.
Once you've taken your client through the solution and covered off any feedback they have, the next step is to "close the deal" and get the customer to commit to the sale. Because this has been a linear process and both salesperson and client have worked together to reach the "commitment" stage, proceeding with the sale seems a logical conclusion.
If resistance occurs here, it may indicate lack of communication has happened in previous steps which is creeping doubt into the client's mind. The well-experienced sales professional will understand this and will use their skills and techniques in steps 1 to 3 to uncover all barriers before getting to the commitment stage.
Trying to close too early can have a detrimental impact on the sale process and experience professionals know when to initiate this step in the process. Potential clients are (subconsciously) looking for sales agents who are stable and reliable and can drive the process while gently controlling the conversion.
We've all heard the phrase "buyer's remorse" if however, the salesperson has achieved their goals in previous steps then a satisfied client is their result. Engagement with the customer continues well after the deal is signed. True professionals maintain client contact even after the ink is dry where they transition from sales agents to service agents seamlessly.
Professional salespeople understand the value of a satisfied customer.
Tools such as the FinxS Sales Competenceassess a sales professional's proficiency in 18 critical areas for selling success. By evaluating the sales professional strength and weaknesses can be a catalyst to work through a plan to increase selling success.
This can indicate as to where the sales professional needs growth to achieve optimal sales results covering areas such as prospecting, active listening, critical thinking and controlling the sales process.
Both individual and organisation equally benefit from these assessments it highlights to the individual where they are excelling and where they have development gaps, as well as enabling organisations to assess their workforce overall to decide future training requirements. It's also a useful resource during the recruitment process.
Now that you know the steps to follow when making a sale in my next blog I'll cover off how to approach the sales process based on the DISC behaviour style of your potential client.
Interested in becoming DISC Accredited? Visit our Talent Tools Accreditation Calendar
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