For a buyer, the term "sales process" can conjure up unpleasant feelings. They might have had an unpleasant experience with a provider that makes them not want to deal with another salesperson ever again. Or they were put through a process that was cumbersome and ineffective.
You can reverse that sentiment, however, if you follow these three tips. If done right, you'll create a positive experience for your buyer during and after the sales process that pays dividends.
You'll also cultivate loyalty and make the customer feel as though they had a great need for the service in which they invested and that it solved a problem they truly had. Heck, the buyer might even feel the sales process was a little bit fun.
3 Tips to Improve the Sales Process
1. Talk Less and Listen More
Think of sales as therapy. You're trying to figure out what the customer's pain points are and then help them understand how your service can alleviate those pain points. It's impossible for your team to follow that philosophy if they don't put listening above talking. Not only will listening allow your reps to make a better pitch, but it will also make the experience a better one for the client. After all, everyone loves to be listened to.
In your trainings, sales meetings, and coaching, make sure the team talks less, focuses on short questions, and pays attention to what their buyers need. Ensure that they take notes, ask add-on or clarifying questions, and expand upon what the customer says. The important thing is that they listen to the customer and get a true understanding of their needs.
2. Practice the Sales Golden Rule: Do What You Said You Were Going to Do Exactly the Way You Said You'd Do It
Everyone knows that a salesperson who over-promises and under-delivers will endlessly frustrate clients, but there's a flipside to that concept. Consistently under-promising and over-delivering, though an excellent idea in theory, also can erode your relationship with clients. Trust is built through consistent relationships over time, and your clients want to know they can trust you to deliver to their expectations every time.
Train your team to tell your customer what they plan to do and then deliver that promise exactly as they said they would. Consistency and reliability are so valuable in today's sales process that this strategy will build the highest level of trust in your team and assure your client that your process works.
3. Worry About the Buyer, Not His Wallet
We've all been in the buyer's role and had that nagging feeling that something isn't quite right in a sales process. We feel the person selling to us is focused only on the endgame of making the sale, without considering whether that sale is right for us.
To prevent your customers from feeling like that, make sure you, your company, and your sales team focus on caring for the buyer. Ultimately, your salespeople need to care first about solving the customer's problems and about the challenges the customer is facing. Their first priority should be improving the customer's situation, not making the sale.
When a sales rep takes on this attitude, it elevates their relationship with the customer, and the customer has a memorable, fun experience that they will want to repeat.
Find the Sales Process Sweet Spot
For every sales process, there's a sweet spot when you identify a client's needs, deliver on your promises, and essentially master the art of becoming a trusted advisor, making for a pleasant sales process and a happy and loyal client.
The diagram below can help you visualize the steps to mastery of the sales process. There are three essential areas you need to work on. Note: One does not work without the other.
At Intersection #1, you're listening and delivering, but you haven't necessarily made the buyer understand that your job is to make their life easier, not to sell a service.
At Intersection #2, you're delivering on your promises and you've shown the buyer you care, but you haven't necessarily taken the time to listen to what the buyer needs. It's important to ensure that you're not only delivering as promised, but also fulfilling a need for the client.
At Intersection #3, empty promises might be made. You're listening and you're caring, but if you don't deliver precisely as you said you would, it's all for nothing.
Intersection #4 is your sales sweet spot. At that point, you've mastered each of these skills and are acting in a way that puts the client first, helps you to completely understand their needs, and delivers the service exactly as you said you would. If you can achieve this, you've mastered the art of a memorable—and pleasant—sales process.