How can you build a sales process that takes your prospects from potential to reality?

Written by: James White


What are the steps that you’ve got to put in place in order to move your prospects through the process with you to become a customer?

I am going to share with you the 8 things that I believe are critical in moving prospects through a sales process and putting in place a structure that will get you brilliant sales results.

UNDERSTAND THE BUYER'S JOURNEY

Often I work with business owners and salespeople who think they can get people from 1-5 from the first call to a sale.

The reality is that sometimes it can happen, sometimes you can run across a six-lane motorway and get from one side to the other. But the likelihood is if you try it you will get run over. Therefore I don’t recommend you do it in sales either. You need to have a process in order to move your prospects through so they get on a journey with you, in order to do business with you in time.

It takes 7 hours of content over 11 interactions across 4 medias for someone to trust you enough to want to work with you.

What are the key things you’ve got to consider when it comes to the sales process and putting in place the right actions at the right time to get the right results?

You have to understand that there is a buyers journey for your prospects and the reality is if you sell B2B, the journey has changed.

Over the years I have talked to salespeople who used to work 30 years ago and they could go up and meet someone for the first time and do business with them. That doesn’t work the same way now. The buying journey has changed.  The internet and social media have made so many things available for people to access and view and therefore they now are in a different stage when they want to purchase a service.

Make sure you understand the buying journey your prospect is on and understand that there are steps in their process.  Make sure you have the right materials and resources to use at the right time.

One thing I encourage you to do is to think about how you would want to buy your service.

What would be the steps that you would go on?

Map this journey out and spend a bit of time with a notepad or whiteboard to map out this journey that your clients and prospects are going through and then think about it from their perspective.

What would be the concerns they would have?

Put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and then great things will start to happen.

MINI WINS

You might be wondering what I mean by mini wins. The key thing in the stage process is not to move someone from one to five straight away but to move them from one to maybe one and a half. Before they get to two.

Small wins, small improvements, small adjustments, and small commitments on a regular basis are going to move someone through the process and it doesn’t matter necessarily how long it takes. Although we want to shorten this process as much as we can, the key thing is that the person that’s here becomes a customer at the end of it.

The key things I look out for when it comes to mini wins are:

  • People downloading resources
  • Clicking on links that you have sent them
  • Replying back to emails
  • Responding to your calls
  • Agreeing to a meeting

We have to understand in sales that we’re not going to get the big win straight away. A football team doesn’t win a game by scoring a goal in the first five minutes they know they’ve got to carry on and keep doing the work in order to get the result they haven’t won the game at 1-0 at halftime, it takes another 45 minutes before they can get the win.

Sales is no different, keep on looking out to build mini wins over a period of time and we can get the right results in place.

YOU NEED GREAT CONTENT

You need to have great content in order to be able to engage at different stages in the sales process.

The content that you might need at stage 1 for someone that’s never even heard about you might be something inquisitive and fun, but the content that you need at stage 3-4 of your customer journey should be more oriented around case studies or guides of how you’ve implemented your service.

The reality is you cannot win sales in a business-to-business situation now successfully without great content and materials. You’ve got to work out what are the problems and challenges for your audience.

What are the things your prospects struggle with?  And what can you provide in your videos, posts, guides, documents and blogs, that can really help to create insight and value for them?

The best salespeople and companies are educators.  They create content that solves the challenges and issues of their audience. You have to create great content to share your expertise in the market and help in that buying journey process and if you don’t have the right materials for the right stage in the process you will face challenges.

Make sure you have content the whole way through the customer journey that addresses the challenges of your audience and really gives them value and you can be on a great step to making that sales process work for you.

HOW MANY STEPS DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR PROCESS?

If you’re selling jet planes, five steps in the process probably isn’t enough.  In most B2B service-based businesses, between 3 and 5 steps in the process is enough to be able to move a prospect from where they know very little about you, to becoming a customer.

What I mean by step in the process, is a specific step that you can measure to see if they’ve moved to that next stage and you can see what is takes to make that happen and what phrases, what words, what content, what material did you use so that you can then also start to measure results.

In sales, we have to engage with a number of people and we’re not going to bring everyone through that process we’re simply not going to bring everyone through but the reality is if we can know what it is that we’ve done at certain points then we can make small adjustments and small tweaks in order to get the right results. Ensure you identify the steps in the process. It might be for you a quiz or a download then a webinar then a call or a demo then a proposal. Whatever it looks like for you, it is important we know what they are.

If you want some help putting it together for your company, then reach out to me and my team and we can help you to create a customer journey for your business.

It’s important that you know what the steps are and how you will measure how successful each one is. Then you can start to see a trajectory change and a massive shift in the results that you get.

ASK GREAT QUESTIONS

If you have read my blogs or watched any of my videos, you will know how much I believe in needing to ask great questions at the right time in the right way.  This is essential when looking to move a prospect through the process.

The questions that we ask at different stages will be slightly different.

At stage 1 or 2 you might be asking questions to get to know who they are and what has brought them to you, questions to understand more about their situation.

At stage 3 your questions should be going into more depth as you have already built a rapport with them.

Questions are the tool that every business owner and salesperson can use to get brilliant results.

One of the best phrases that I use after I’ve understood  more about them and want to  progress things is this:  “How do you want to move forward?”

Most of the time they will then want me to talk about my solution and what I can do to help, which means I know I have got through to the next part of the process.

Knowing what steps and criteria are at each stage is vital. Know what questions you need to ask at each stage to move them forward. Do this and you can be on the path to brilliant sales success.

QUALIFY

Qualifying your leads is really important. I have created a video called BANT which is on my YouTube channel. View it here >>

Go check it out and see what questions you need to ask to qualify your prospects through the process.

Sometimes prospects that get to this stage who are excited about buying from us aren’t right for us because they maybe don’t value our service in the right way or the decision maker isn’t involved in the activity or they’re keen to do something but it isn’t a priority for the next few months.

We need to be in a position to qualify the leads that we have through the process. If you don’t you are likely to waste huge amounts of emotion that could get you down and get in the way of you getting the results you want, it’s going to hold you back and we want to know how when someone is right for us.

OBJECTIONS

You have got to the stage in the process where you are close to moving forward but there may be a few objections you need to deal with, such as:

  • Objections around the price.
  • Is this really going to work for them?
  • Comparing you against other providers.

Objections are critical and we’ve got to be able to learn to handle them in the right way. If we know how to handle them by actually asking the prospect what’s going on and getting inside their head. We can deal with the situation but if we just try and talk over the objection or if we just really think that the way we’re going to get what we want is by telling people how amazing we are, we could be in for a really sharp and nasty surprise.
Learn how to handle objections.

My biggest tip for you would be – Listen to what they’ve said and acknowledge their situation identify the issue they’ve said and try and respond with a question that opens up their mind and opens up what they are feeling so you can handle it.

Most objections can be overcome if you deal with them in the right way. You can then hopefully be in a position to close the deal and secure the business.

CLOSING

The final point in the process is the closing stage. There comes a point in the customer journey where they have got to know you, you have given them value. You have dealt with any objections around price and you now want to look to move things forward.

You can ask closing phrases such as:

  • Would you like to move forward?
  • When would you like to get started by?
  • What would it take for you to put your trust in us?
  • Shall we get started and make this plan happen?

Asking simple questions like these can enable us to close and when the prospect says yes we should, you know you have won the deal and suddenly you’ve moved them from someone who didn’t know you to a customer. You are letting them do the things that are right for them but shaping the sell in the right direction to ger the right result.

The sales process is all about following the journey and taking them through each step.

Put these steps in place and you’re going to win more business.

Do you need a scalable sales process?

If you’re interested to know more about how we can help you create a sales process and blueprint for your company get in contact with me and my team.

Book a free, no-obligation 15-min call to talk with a SBSA Mentor about your business and your current sales process (or lack thereof), and how this is impacting your growth.

If you’re a business owner who needs your company to sell consistently, you may be only a few tweaks away from sales success.

Let’s talk and find the next right thing you should be doing to get your sales back on track.

Publish date: 4 August 2022

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