Closing a sale means convincing an individual or a group of individuals to purchase your product or service. The steps involved in such an endeavor vary uniquely depending on whom you are selling to and what you are selling them. One thing is for certain, every sale will eventually settle into a pattern, which is commonly referred to as a process. Once you can determine a process, you must evaluate it and then through reflection you must evolve the process to strengthen it.
Sales teams that develop processes and choose to continually improve them see drastic increases in the amount of sales they close. Here is how to structure a process, the most dependable sales closing tool.
1) Determine A Process
Some sales jobs already have processes in place before you start. If this is so, get to know them. Processes exist for a reason…because they reflect and recreate what has worked in the past. Talk to someone well acquainted with your company procedures or ask for any materials that may exist to introduce you to protocol. Other sales jobs may be void of processes. If this is so, take time to develop them, here’s how:
Watch & Document
Grab a notebook and start to observe closely the steps that naturally occur in the life or death of any sale. Write down as many as you see. There may be hundreds. For example:
- Made an initial phone call and left a detailed message
- Sent an email outlining our product and/or service
- Followed up email with a phone call
- Followed email with a second phone call
- Booked a meeting
- Prepared for the meeting
- Confirmed the meeting by both phone & email
- Attended the meeting
The more you document, the more you will see. Document the challenges along with the victories. Now you are ready for step two.
2) Evaluate Your Processes
Up until now you’ve been observing your steps and documenting them. Now it’s time to evaluate your work.
Spend some time thinking about your last sale. Outline the steps that were essential to the life of the sale. What worked? What didn’t work? Where was time wasted? Again, document your musings.
Speak With Your Customers
Customer feedback is an essential part of building strong business processes. After all, your job is about meeting your customer’s needs. Prepare a list of questions you might like to ask your customers. For example:
- What did you enjoy specifically about working with us?
- What could we have done better to value your time & meet your needs?
Ask Your Teammates
It is also wise to ask those who have worked with you on your recent sale for their feedback. They too will have reflected and may have insights to improve upon your processes and service to customers. Call a quick meeting with your co-workers to discuss your thoughts together.
3) Evolve Your Processes
By now, naturally, you are ready to make some changes to your processes. After your own personal reflection and the feedback, gathered from both your customers and your teammates, there will be exciting new developments to improve your existing processes.
Get Permission To Make Some Changes
Approach your boss or manager with your new findings. Let them know how you have gathered your information. Communicate how you would like to make improvements to a process and why you think they are necessary. Ask for support to move ahead with any new changes.
By the way, asking for permission to make changes to processes is, first of all, wise, and secondly, a great way to create buy in from your leaders.
Create A Process Manual
A manual or document outlining your continually evolving processes is of great value. Digital copies of the manual can be made for the entire sales team for anytime anywhere access. Encourage your co-workers to update the process manual with you. Once you are committed as a team to consistently improve your processes, you will begin to see the gaps disappear. The gaps represent the missing pieces to success. Your ever-evolving processes will grow stronger and stronger.
Lastly, work is full of processes. Some will only affect you and your performance, while other processes will affect everybody. No matter what, be committed to the continual evolution of every process. Keep notes to help you see clearly, take time to reflect on your work and performance and then implement change. Remember, sales teams that develop processes and choose to continually improve them see drastic increases in the amount of sales they close.
Why? Because they are prepared, consistent with what they offer, consistent in how they react and respond and they therefore have ample time to work on closing sales. Isn’t that what business is all about?