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March 14, 2022

Are you looking to learn the ins and outs of sales? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the full sales cycle, from prospecting to closing. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced salesperson, there’s something here for everyone.

Seven stages of the full sales cycle

Scenario 1 Your product is being presented to executives at a technology company in your best suit and a convincing smiling face. You’ve spent weeks researching the problems of the company and creating a compelling argument about how your product solves them. Now you have your slides ready and can close the sale to make thousands of dollars for your business.

Scenario 2 After moving across the country between your sophomore and junior years of college, you are now at the front door to a suburban home. You have documentation about home security ready and waiting for you when you knock on the door. You win $200, and you don’t have to eat ramen the next year.

These two sales reps have more in common than you might think. No matter which sales strategy your company uses to close deals, all companies use the same basic stages. These stages make up the entire sales cycle.

A sales cycle is a series of events or phases that occur during the sale of a product, or service. Although this article will concentrate on the seven major stages of sales cycle management each sale and every interaction with a customer will be unique.

1. Identify prospects

You must first have a customer or potential customer before you can sell something. Sales prospecting is the first step in any sales cycle. It requires a deep understanding of the product or service you want to sell.

You should answer key questions about your product during the prospecting stage.

  • What is your product capable of that no other product can?
  • What problem or issue can your product solve or overcome?

You will discover your potential customers by thinking about their pain points and how your product or service will benefit their lives and businesses.

Lead generation is another way to prospect for customers. Your website may have a place where interested parties can enter their email addresses to find out more. Once you have their information, it’s time to get in touch with them.

2. Contact prospects

Once you have identified your prospects, the next step in your sales efforts is to make contact. The type of prospect you are contacting will determine which communication channel you choose. Sometimes a phone call is the best way to contact a prospect. Other times, an email or a more traditional sales letter may be the best option. This stage is not the time to give your full sales presentation. You are just trying to establish contact with potential clients to set up a formal meeting.

3. Qualify leads

This stage of the sales process will allow you to vet the client as thoroughly as possible. Although this process can be initiated at the contact stage, the majority of qualifying occurs during the first contact.

This stage will save time and money, as you should only pitch qualified leads. It is important for sales reps to determine if your prospects are decision makers and if they are interested in purchasing your product. If your prospect isn’t in a position to make purchases or make decisions, ask politely to include a manager.

4. Pitch your product

Let’s say you have identified a potential customer and initiated contact with them. Now it’s time for you to show what you have to offer.

This stage is crucial and requires the most preparation in a short sales cycle. Your goal should be to present your products or services in a way that solves a customer’s problem. You should be able to show how your product will help improve your customer’s day-to-day operations and how your company does this better than anyone else.

Remember that you are also selling yourself during the presentation. Things like body language, mannerisms, and even appearance can all influence a sale.

5. Manage and respond to customer objections

At this stage of sales cycle management, your job is to overcome objections and manage them. Even the most enthusiastic prospects may have doubts or objections. The price is too high, terms are too restrictive, or the contract is too long.

Ask for context when they object. Is their hesitancy due to an interaction or issue in the past? Do they still have reservations about a bad business deal? Listen to the client’s concerns and communicate your understanding to them. Reframe your pitch to address those concerns.

Consider repackaging the information in a per-day breakdown if the price is troubling. If your software service costs $200 per month, you could reposition it as “just under $6 per day.” This is less than what a fancy nonfat extra shot vanilla latte usually costs.

6. Close the deal

The moment of truth has arrived. It’s time for the deal to be sealed. There are many ways to close a deal. All of them depend on how the previous stages were handled.

Your job as a salesperson is to get to know your prospect and then tailor your closing style to suit their needs. Direct closing can be used if you feel you have built a trusting relationship with your prospect. “OK, let’s get the paperwork done and we’ll pick a delivery date. Sound good?”

For a prospect who is less enthusiastic or tentative, a soft, more nuanced approach is needed. You have already established the reasons why this prospect or company needs your product. Now, remind them of your main points and why they agreed to meet with you.

It is important to remember, even if a sale doesn’t close at the first meeting it doesn’t necessarily mean that the sales cycle has ended. Some products, like large machines or complex software, can take weeks for them to sell. The sales cycle continues until a sale or prospect is lost.

7. Ask for post-sale referrals

Sales reps should ask for referrals right after closing a sale. Your new customer will (hopefully!) be excited about their purchase and will likely recommend you to others. Your new customer will be (hopefully!) excited about their purchase and likely to recommend you to other customers. Ask your customer if any of their friends or colleagues might be interested in the product/service. You can ask your customers for referrals as your business relationship grows.

It is important to remember the uniqueness of every sales cycle and that no two sales cycles will be alike. The sales cycle stages can be short or long but they all follow the same seven stages. Learning and practicing the sales cycle can help increase sales and revenue growth.

Conclusion

We hope this guide has helped you learn more about the full sales cycle. Remember, it’s important to be prepared for every step of the process, so make sure you practice and hone your skills regularly. Good luck in all your sales endeavors!

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