If you want to improve how you sell your product or service, a good first step is to figure out your own process. Without that, it’s guesswork and luck – you might improve what counts, or you might waste time and effort working on what doesn’t matter.
When you map out a process, you can see how it’s working. You can measure it. You can see what efforts lead to what results, and what’s wasted or inefficient. You can improve its efficiency, continually, so you get more sales for less work.
So how do you do that? It’s a process (of course!).
Start with defining your target audience – because defining it too widely leads to a lot of wasted time and frustration. Who are your best customers? How did you reach them? Why did they choose you? Most importantly, where will you find more like them? This is where interviewing your favorite customers is important, because they’ll tell you what value you bring. They can also tell you what they read, what associations or groups they’re in, how they look for products or services like yours. That’s what’s essential for the marketing part of selling.
What’s your plan to reach out to more like your best customers? How will you generate a list of the ones you most want to work with? What sort of outreach plan (advertising, social media, email campaigns, phone work, etc.) do you use? When you write it down, map it out, put it on your schedule and allocate resources (time, money, effort) to it, you can measure your returns to see how well your plans work.
What do you do at first contact? What are your goals and objectives in a first meeting or call? How will you achieve those objectives? How do you qualify that you’re talking to the right person about a real need they can do something about? How do you get introduced to the right person, if that’s not the first one you meet? By writing this down, you’ll be able to tell how well it’s working – and if it’s not working, how to change it.
The same goes for the rest of your sales process –
- What’s your follow-up after that first contact?
- How and when do you ask for their business?
- How do you handle objections or delays?
- How do you process the order when they say “Yes?”
- What do you do when they say “No?”
- How do you get back to them to verify satisfaction?
- How do you ask for referrals?
When you know and track how your sales process works, you can make it work better.