The 7 Different Stages of the Sales Process
Sales reps follow a step-by-step process to connect with potential clients, close deals, and generate referrals for their brands. This sales process (or “sales cycle”) looks different depending on the company. Many sales organizations generate potential leads via online research and phone calls, while others employ the traditional door-to-door knocking method.
That said, every successful sales company achieves the same primary goals throughout their sales process. Below, Poised describes the seven essential stages in the sales process and lists a few tips for boosting your sales strategy.
What Are the 7 Stages in the Sales Process?
Every sales team has different needs, so the details of your sales methodology may differ from other companies. But every successful sales rep accomplishes these seven stages at some point throughout the sales process:
You can’t sell anything until you first have a client or prospective client. The first stage of the sales cycle is identifying potential clients and ensuring you have a firm grasp on the product or service you’re trying to sell.
Make sure you and your marketing team can answer these questions during the prospecting phase before moving on to the next stage.
- What distinguishes your product or service from that of your competitors?
- What problem does your product or service solve for potential leads?
- How can your product or service improve the life of your potential customers?
- What are the potential pain points that you’ll encounter during the different parts of the sales process?
- What is your current conversion rate (how many leads have become customers so far?)
Once you’ve identified a prospective client, it’s time to prepare for initial contact. For a sales professional, this means researching your market and learning any information you can about your product or service and how its sales funnel works.
Start creating a stellar sales presentation and personalize it to address the potential customer’s specific needs. This may look like creating a buyer persona that you apply to every step of the sales process. You’ll use this buyer persona for qualifying leads, promoting your products on social media, and every other aspect of lead generation.
The more thoroughly you prepare, the more likely you will advance through the remaining stages of the sales process and find more qualified leads.
Keep in mind that you’ll be more equipped to navigate a prospect’s objections and decision-makers and distinguish your company from your rivals if you maintain a deep understanding of the prospect’s needs and concerns.
OK, you’re well prepared to meet your potential customer.
Now, it’s time to initiate contact and use what you know about an effective sales process to convince a lead to buy. This stage is sometimes called outreach.
The “approach“ is either a cold call or a meeting that occurs over the phone, face-to-face, or via a video call. Here are three of the most common approach methods to learn:
- Question approach: opening the call or meeting with a question to pique the potential client’s interest
- Premium approach: beginning the interaction by offering the prospect a gift
- Product approach: providing the prospect with a free trial or sample they can review
The best method often depends on your and your prospect’s schedule and preferred form of communication. It’s best to practice and become comfortable with various approaches so you’re prepared for anything.
The presentation stage is where you prove to your prospective client that your product or service solves their problem or meets their needs. Many sales reps use a presentation tool to deliver their sales pitch, but it isn’t always necessary for success. Just listen to the potential customer’s needs and present your content accordingly.
5. Handling Objections
As discussed, actively listening to your potential customer’s concerns is paramount to the sales cycle. This is the phase where you hear out the prospect and answer any concerns or questions they may have. Many sales people also quit the process at this point, but keep in mind that most successful sales run through at least five follow-ups before completion.
Learn how to handle objections and help prospective clients feel comfortable choosing your product or service. Mastering this stage will help you establish your reputation as an effective salesperson.
The roadmap of the customer journey is always meant to end with success, which is often called the closing.
The closing is the part of the sales pipeline when your potential customer decides to make the purchase. You can go with the alternative choice closing technique, which involves assuming the sale and offering the potential customer a choice of payment options.
You can create a sense of urgency by putting time restraints on the deal or suggesting limiting availability. Or, you can offer a discount or other incentive to close the deal or speed up the buying process.
7. The Follow-Up
Don’t stop after closing the sale. This step of the sales process involves maintaining contact with your new customer for potential repeat business and referrals. Customer retention is much less expensive than customer acquisition, so commit to the follow-up stage and work hard at nurturing the relationship. That way, you’ll get new sales without having to find new leads.
This sales process step often involves writing follow-up emails using a pre-made template. You can manage the cadence of these emails using a customer relationship management (CRM) program. You can also find other ways to automate your follow-ups, such as texting, Linkedin messages, and more.
How Can Poised Improve Your Sales Strategy?
Now that you have a better understanding of the typical sales process, what can you do to improve your strategy? While there are many ways your sales team can plan and execute more effectively, using Poised is one of the best steps to take toward better sales communication.
Build Better Rapport With Stronger Communication
You probably know that delivering a well-prepared, impactful sales pitch does wonders for generating leads and closing deals. But effective communication can also help you build rapport with potential customers and team members.
The Poised communication coach provides many features and plans for strengthening your communication skills, and by extension, your workplace performance. You’ll get real-time and long-term feedback on various metrics, such as confidence, competence, and empathy.
Get Real-Time Feedback on Your Body Language
Poised not only gives you feedback on your verbal performance — it provides real-time tips to tweak your body language. The communication coach will notify you if you need to increase eye contact or portray more openness, among many other things.
Make Video Sales Calls More Effective
Poised can help you enhance your communication in countless ways — and improve customer relationships along the way. Take advantage of real-time feedback and long-term analysis to become the most effective salesperson around. People will be coming to you for advice on their sales calls!
Become a Stronger Salesperson With Poised
The sales process involves many complexities, but if you devote time and energy into preparing for your sales calls, you can succeed with minimal hitches. Add Poised to the mix, and your performance will reach new heights. Our communication coach is helping sales reps everywhere close more deals.