If you’re a contractor, consultant, coach or any other type of professional service provider, there is usually a significant investment involved in working with you. Selling higher value products and services isn’t like selling a pack of gum; you need to build the relationship and instill trust before the prospective client will reconsider signing that big contract. And all the marketing in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t have great sales process.
Follow these 7 steps to develop a sales process that will naturally lead your prospects down the path to closing the deal.
- Your first meeting/conversation – Your job at this stage is simple: you listen. Think of yourself as a reporter and learn how to ask the right questions that get the prospect thinking – and talking – about the problem they’re trying to solve or need they want fulfilled.
- Reiterate their problem or need in their words – Once you’ve “Interviewed” the potential client and have a good understanding of what they need, repeat it back to them. “So if I understand you correctly, you’re challenged with __________ and it’s becoming an issue because _______, so you’re looking for _________”. Sometimes it may be unclear at first how they want you to help them, so ask, “And how do you see me helping with that?” This question is powerful, because the prospect then begins to sell themselves on hiring you!
- Present your process: The next step is to get buy-in from the prospect. Spend a few minutes explaining how you work (your process), how you will solve their problem or need, and what the expected result will be. Then close by asking, “does that sound like what you’re looking for?” Or, “How does that sound to you?”
- Agree to a next step: Once they say, “yes, that is exactly what I need”, you can move on to the next step: the proposal. But first you have to get agreement from the prospect, “Ok, so I will work up a personalized plan for you and put together a proposal, what day can you meet again?”
- The proposal stage: NEVER EVER EMAIL A PROPOSAL! I have experimented with this for years. Mailing a proposal almost NEVER results in a sale. So make sure you get a meeting and present the proposal in person and that your proposal presentation process is polished and professional.
- The proposal itself: I like to do mine in PowerPoint, so I can keep the prospect engaged in my process. We don’t want to hand them a document so they can shuffle right to the price (which they always do). In your proposal restate their challenge, the pain their challenge is causing, how you can help them solve that challenge, your process (detailed), your expected results and finally, the investment (never the “cost”).
- Agree to a next step: In a perfect world, once you deliver the proposal the prospect will excitedly ask, “Great when do we get started!”. That almost never happens. Once you deliver the investment, stop talking. No matter how long the silence is, let the prospect be the first to speak. Otherwise you start to explain, rationalize or barter. DON’T! The prospect is mulling it over and deciding if it’s worth the investment. Let them mull. Let them sit with it. Their next question will tell you where they are and what your next steps should be. Answer their questions and then ask for the next step: maybe it’s an information gathering meeting, an audit, delivering more detail – or a start date! Whatever it is, get a commitment to a next step, never ever leave it at: “Ok, I’ll give you chance to think it over and you can call me if you have questions.” This is too big a big risk.
Follow these 7 steps are you are almost guaranteed to sell more and increase your average sale. If you have any questions about how to develop a successful sales process, contact us!