Selling Process – 7 Steps in the sales process explained in depth

Selling Process – Steps

  • Prospecting and Qualifying
  • Preparation / Pre-approach
  • Approach
  • Presentation
  • Overcoming objections
  • Closing the sale
  • Follow up

Step 1: Prospecting and Qualifying

A salesperson does complete research before planning any sale. Research is essential to recognise the people or companies who could potentially be intrigued by the product. This step is the foundational step for the rest of the sales process.

This step is called prospecting. A lead is a potential buyer. A qualified lead who is willing, ready, and able to buy the product is a prospect.

Step 2: Pre-Approach

In the next step, a salesman’s job is to find out the needs, preferences, behaviour, problems, etc. of the prospect. There are chances that, according to the particular requirements of a customer, the product may need to be altered. After attaining sufficient information about the customers’ wishes, a salesman must develop his plan of sales interview or presentation.

It is crucial that the sales presentation should be in alignment with the needs of the prospect. The presentation should enable the salesman to take care of the prospect smoothly through the entire buying process (during the sales talk).

Step 3: Approach

The next step, when the salesman comes in contact with the prospect face-to-face with the prospect is called approach.

The approach has two parts

  • Getting an interview
  • The first contact

For this, he/she can make use of telephone, introduction or reference of another customer and his/her business card. The salesman should have the ability to catch the attention of the prospect and get them interested in the product. It’s incredibly crucial to avoid being dismissed before the salesman can present the product.

Three Standard Methods of Approach

1. Premium Approach

A salesman presents the potential client with a gift at the very beginning of the interaction.

2. The Question Approach

In order to get the prospect interested, the salesman should ask a question.

3. The Product Approach

The prospect is given a free trial or a sample of the product so that they can evaluate and review the service.

Step 4: Presentation

The buying process of the customer is very closely related to the sales presentation. The interest of a prospect can be increased through smart and lively sales talk with a proper demonstration by the salesman.

Many times a sales demonstration takes the help of visual aids. This is quite a common phenomenon for capital goods or machinery. It is important that the salesman find out customers reactions after correctly explaining the product features and anticipated benefits. The customer should be satisfied by the end of the presentation.

Step 5: Objections

The prospect could, at any stage of the sales interview, try to delay or resist a purchase.An objection must be taken as a hint of how the mind of the prospect is operating.

An intelligent salesman should welcome an objection, understand it correctly and avoid it tactfully without bickering with the customer.

Step 6: Close

The act of getting the consent from the prospect to buy the product is called the close. All the efforts that a salesman takes come together and present it as the pinnacle of the entire sales process. It is vital for a salesman to be alert and identify the right moment to close the deal.

The right moment can be identified by watching every sign of the prospect and their will to buy and then applying “the close”. Unless and until the product is in the hands of a happy customer, the sale is never considered complete. Depending on the kind of business, a salesman might try one of these two closing strategies.

1. Extra inducement close

In order to seal the deal, the salesman offers something extra to attract them, For example, a discount or a free month of service.

2. Urgency

A feeling of urgency is produced by stating that time is of the essence. For instance, “the price will be going up after this month” or “we only have six spots left”.

Step 7: The Follow-up

Follow-up is the contact with the customer after a sale is obtained. After obtaining the order, the salesman arranges for dispatch and delivery, facilitate grant of credit, reassure the customer that it’s a wise purchase decision and minimise dissatisfaction if there is any.

In order to maintain goodwill salesman should get in touch with the customer. The follow-up is a crucial part that makes sure that the customer is satisfied, that customer can be retained. It can also be used as a prospect for new customers.

Example – Sale Process [B2B Sales]

Example – Sales Process for Boeing & Airbus [Aircraft Manufacturer] – B2B Sales

Boeing or Airbus can be approached by a passenger airline company (customer) with a set of requirements and ask them to provide specific quotes. After starting a bidding war for the newly launched aircraft by Boeing or Airbus whichever airline offers the best deal wins. Based on what aircraft have been procured in the past, Boeing or Airbus can offer the airline a reasonable proposition that could be interesting to them.

Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, is the world’s biggest event. It is committed to the aircraft interiors industry, connectivity, in-flight entertainment, and passenger services.

This is where Airbus showcased its latest cabin innovations in 2019. Airbus displayed the mock-ups for the latest, most advanced, full-scale Airspace cabin – the A320. It depicted how the aircraft offers the best cabin experience in any small single-aisle aircraft. The ‘Day & Night’ premium concept was also featured for the A350 XWB.

There was also a mock-up of A320 Upgrade Services. The highlight of all was that Virtual Reality Gears let visitors experience all aircraft cabins. Sometimes a Sales Presentations by Boeing and Airbus can stretch up to 3-5 days. For sales pitches and demonstrations, A team on behalf of the airlines (prospective customers), are flown down to Boeing or Airbus manufacturing location.