Every sale closed-whether small or big-undergoes a sales cycle. A sales cycle represents all those stages which a sales person uses to mould a prospect into his customer. It is typically divided into six stages and is roughly of the same pattern for the sale of every product. These stages can sometimes overlap each other depending on the products or sales people’s mentality.
A sales cycle guides the sales person, showing him how to close a sale confidently. But do you think all sales people are aware of this sales cycle? Not necessarily, but there is a great need for every sales person to be aware of this sales cycle as it can help him achieve his goal of generating leads and closing the sale.
So, let’s discuss these stages of a sales cycle.
Sales Lead: Sales lead involves identifying those prospects that can be our customers at a later stage. This is considered as an entry point into the sales tunnel as this is the initial stage in the sales cycle. For generating sales leads, sales people should have complete knowledge about their products to better analyze their customers.
Interview and Qualify: After prospecting, sales personnel should take an appointment with their prospects and try to meet them and know their requirements. It is necessary at this stage to pose as many questions as possible to understand the prospect better. Then, they should qualify the prospects they have met on their own criteria. The idea behind this stage is to confirm that the prospect selected in the appointment stage has both the purchasing power to buy the product and the willingness to buy it. Once you know this, you won’t waste your time chasing a prospect who cannot afford to buy your product.
Presentation: This is an important stage of the sales process as the deal’s success or failure depends on the presentation of the sales person. A sales person should help the customer decide whether he can buy the product from him or his competitor. A sales person should be very clear and apt about his products or services. He should also show his prospective customer how best his products can address his needs as expressed by him in the appointment stage.
Overcome Objections: No sales person is accepted in his first attempt. The first order they receive is to either ‘get out’ or ‘stay out.’ The sales person should never take such rejections personally. Customers usually object to a sales person’s offers because of lack of trust in the product and the sales person. Even though a sales person may be turned down by customers, they should put all their efforts in answering any objections made frankly. Sales personnel should listen to customers carefully, understand their concerns and try to provide solutions until they have no more objections and then proceed to ask for an order.
Close the Sale: Closing a sale means taking an order. A sales person must be careful while answering any questions put by customers and closing the sale. He should ensure that the customer is satisfied with his approach.
Ask for Referrals: The sales cycle does not end with closing a sale. Even after the sale is closed, a sales person can ask them for referrals. These referrals can be used for the sales person’s future business. Many sales people neglect to ask for referrals without understanding its importance.
These critical stages will surely be useful to all sales people to know where they stand and how to proceed. They can also help them to close a sale and reach their targets. It doesn’t need much time but can give effective results, if strictly followed. These stages help a sales person identify his path reach his targets. It directs the sales person through the whole journey of finding a prospect, identifying his concerns, demonstrating his products, address objections, closing a sale and following them up.