Introduction to the Selling Process
The selling process is a set of activities which comprise firstly of identifying and contacting the prospect, carrying out sufficient research to identify id the product or service being offered is suitable to them. Following on from here, the salesperson then needs to contact the prospect, get a meeting with them, and sell the product. Following on from here, the salesperson needs to conduct thorough account management to ensure that they keep the customer and continue to add value with their product or service.
Below are the selling activities undertaken by professional salespeople:
- Generating Sales Leads
- Qualifying the Lead
- Making Initial Contact
- Preparing for the Sales Meeting
- The Sales Meeting
- Handling Buyer Resistance.
- Closing the Sale
- Account Maintenance
It should be noted that while we present these activities in an order that is suggestive of a step-by-step approach (i.e., one activity must be carried out before the next), in many selling situations this will not be the case. For example, a buyer for a large retailer may have observed a salesperson’s product being used while visiting a competitor’s store. The buyer, anxious to obtain the product for use in her own stores, contacts the salesperson immediately upon returning to the office. After addressing a few questions from the salesperson confirming the buyer’s status at the retail company and without much prodding by the salesperson, the buyer places an order and agrees to meet the salesperson for lunch the next day.
In our example, only activities #2 – Qualifying the Lead, #7 – Closing the Sale and #8 – Account Maintenance are carried out in order to obtain the sale and to begin building a long-term relationship.
Additionally, salespeople often find circumstances in which all activities are required but the order these are carried out may be disrupted. For instance, salespeople are often confronted with a buyer who is resistant to making a purchase even before the salesperson has made a presentation (e.g., “I don’t think I’m interested in what you’re selling”). This will likely force the salesperson to adjust his or her selling process. In this example it will require the salesperson to address the buyer’s resistance before beginning to present the product.