Sales can be a complicated and tough process for entrepreneurs and business owners. It has been often said that most business problems are sales problems. Dave Crenshaw’s 3 Step Sales Process successfully attempts to simplify the Sales Process for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The 3 Step sales process is broken down into 3 stages as follows:
The first stage in a sales process, according to Dave Crenshaw, is the Explore Stage. Here, the most important objective is to get to know what it is the customer wants most. At this stage, the sales person takes time to get to know customer needs and especially their wants. It is critical to note that most people buy what they want rather than what they need because it’s more about emotion.
At the explore stage, a sales person must:
Find out what it is the customer wants the most
Ask a lot of questions to find out what they need vs. what they want
Ask second-level questions i.e. question the answers a customer provides. This will be a source of rich information that will help you better understand what a customer really wants
Take notes to remember the details of what the customer wants. This is will be useful for the next stage of the sales process, Present. It also shows the customer that you are paying attention to details
Lastly, reinstate what the customer has told you. Summarise what they want and what they don’t want. This helps both you and the customer to be clear on expectations and needs awareness.
The second stage in the sales process is the Present stage. This is where the sales person shows the customer how his/her products or services matches what they want most. Here, we only focus on showing the customer how our product and service connects with their wants, needs and expectations as discovered from the Explore Stage.
At the Present stage, a sales person must:
Keep the Presentation Brief: Entrepreneurs and sales people often have the temptation to talk too much. Presentation should focus only on how your product and service meets the wants and needs of the customer. Anything else, will most likely complicated the sales process
Avoid Free Consulting: this is where you give away too much information because you know too much. Again, only share with them what they need to know about how your product and service meets what they want. This is very important.
Get Money Out Of The Way: give your price at the beginning of your presentation. Research shows that most clients spend the most of the time during a presentation not listening to what you are saying because they are wondering how much it costs. Put them at ease by talking about money early in your presentation
Engage Them: make sure you’re not just speaking but engaging customers. Ask questions, show samples, give them the opportunity to experience the product/service how it works, feels and looks. Also, give them the opportunity to ask questions to create an engaging and interactive experience
Stay Away From Extra Information: This happens when you start talking about product/service features, or extra things that have nothing to do with what the customer wants. This gives the customer the opportunity to change their minds and lengthens the sales process. Focus only on what the customer wants
Use a Little Humour: a little bit of laughter goes a long way to helping people trust you and be more comfortable with you
Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues: communication is just 10% verbal and 90% non-verbal. Observe your customers body language, tonality, how they sit, if they’re leaning forward and paying attention or if they’re focused or distracted. If you see they’re not fully engaged in the presentation, you can always pause and ask a question to get them engaged.
Stop When You Finish: when you are done with your presentation, stop talking. Give time for the customer/client to digest your presentation and to ask questions. It’s important you don’t try fill up the silence by saying something else. This takes us to the next and final stage is the sales process, the Act Stage.
The Act stage is about helping the customer move forward with the sales process. Sales is really about helping people take action to getting what they want most. Oftentimes, we hear sales people talking about ‘closing the deal.’ In this situation, you want to get the customer to close the deal themselves.
The Act Stage teaches us that the sales person’s job is to help the customer make a decision. The key is to put them in a position of power to say yes or no. In an ideal situation, when you know the customer wants to do business with you, you simply ask “how do we proceed?”
In most situations, the customer will hesitate a little bit. They are not going to be 100% ready to buy yet and this is a normal occurrence. At this point, the salesperson must ask exploring questions, e.g. “On a scale of 0 – 10, how close is our product/service to what you want?” For any response less than 8, it’s advisable to ask more questions and possibly go back to the Explore Stage.
In a situation, where the customer is vague and non-committal, i.e. not ready to buy/commit, you might ask a question like: “It’s seems like you are not ready to move ahead. Is that correct?” Then ask questions about what their response. You could also ask: “Are you comfortable with telling me no?”
At the Act stage, a sales person must:
Be Okay with NO. Sometimes, letting the prospect/customer know that you’re okay with NO puts them at ease and helps them trust you more. Most sales people always push for a YES and are afraid of clients saying NO. Remember, the sales person job is to help the customer make a decision. Sales is occasionally about rejection so be bold to ask questions.
Fix a Date. Once you have helped the customer figured out what their next action step is, you’ll want to determine a specific date and time when they are going to complete that action, e.g. Thursday, 12 noon.
Show urgency but not desperation. Create natural and understandable urgency. People are more likely to make a decision if there’s a little bit of urgency. Be careful not to pressurize them unnecessarily
Follow up. This is where time management skills are crucial. You have to create reminders to keep you on schedule and stay professional. Missing appointments and failing to follow up can adversely affect your sales performance.
It is also important that you deliver on whatever it is that you promised the client and that you also follow up on whatever they tell you that they will give to you. Following through is critical in sales especially at the point of action.
Dave Crenshaw recommends that you follow up until you get a NO. He says “push for a NO not a YES.” The trick is that many prospects and customers have been waiting and wanting to do business that offers products and services that meets their wants or needs. The Sales Person must always see his/her job as helping customers turn their wants into action.