One of the most important keys to professional selling in the modern world is having a process. And every process is composed of steps that must be followed…
When it comes to your sales process, it’s critical to use a process whose steps fit into your professional world, into your way of selling.
In this video, I’m going to show you the top 3 sales process steps that can help you build your best sales process ever. Check it out:
Insight is the first step in the Sales Insights Method of selling. It’s the entry-point of every sales conversation, and the goal of this initial step is to bring real value to the prospect. Start the sales interaction by sharing insight that demonstrates that you know what’s going on in the prospect’s world. Then use that insight to engage the prospect in a conversation.
The best approach to this first sales process step is something called the Opening Play. The Opening Play is a quick introduction; the modern equivalent of the elevator pitch where you only have 25 seconds or so to engage the prospect in a conversation. What are you going to say?
Most salespeople open their sales conversations with an old-school, salesy routine. But the Opening Play is different. It should be scripted-out so that it’s the same every time, and it should be very simple. Think of your Opening Play as an introductory sentence that explains who you are and what you help your clients accomplish.
In a clear and concise way, a successful Opening Play demonstrates insight by quickly sharing the three most common challenges your clients face. This insight then engages the prospect in a real conversation.
That’s ultimately what a strong sales process is all about: Using insight to engage the prospect in a conversation. Before any other sales process steps, you simply must do this first.
If you’ve been following the Sales Insights Lab for long enough, then you already know that we don’t believe in persuading, pitching, or even trying to qualify prospects. Instead, our focus is on disqualifying.
The data shows that at least 50% of prospects that salespeople come across will not be a fit for their products or services. It doesn’t matter what you sell. And so, when it comes to the best sales process steps to implement, disqualification is absolutely critical.
The second step in any strong sales process must be to disqualify, so that you can avoid wasting valuable time and energy on the 50% of prospects who are not a fit. The faster you can determine that someone’s not a fit and move on, the more time you’ll have for prospects who are actually a fit. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, most salespeople come across anyone with a pulse and immediately try to pitch, persuade, and convince them to buy. This means that they spend all of their time equally across 100% of the people they get in front of. Not surprisingly, they get really mixed results.
Disqualification is all about asking effective questions to determine fit. With this sales process step, you immediately create real value by separating yourself from the hordes of other salespeople who pitch and persuade right out of the gate.
The traditional sales approach might use the term present, but we prefer to use the term solve— because this third sales process step is not about the presentation. It’s not about your PowerPoint slide deck. It’s not about your fancy persuasive pitch. It’s about demonstrating, after you’ve gone through the disqualification process, that you can actually solve the prospect’s problems.
The best way to approach the solve step of your sales process is to use case studies. Case studies are the single most effective way to connect your prospects’ problems directly to client problems that you’ve already solved. This builds a tangible bridge from where prospects are to where they want to go. That’s really what the solve phase is all about.
While sharing your case studies, be sure to ask for feedback, making it a two-way conversation as opposed to a one-way monologue. In fact, you should be asking questions throughout, letting your prospects actually drive the presentation. The traditional sales model expects that the salesperson does almost all the talking during the presentation phase of the sale. But our approach to this proven sales process step focuses instead on getting the prospect to drive that phase of the sale.
This is why the focus is on solving and not presenting. Remember, it’s not about your presentation. It’s just about enabling the prospect to determine what matters most to them, and hearing their questions and concerns.
While we’ve already covered the top three sales process steps that can help you build your best sales process ever, there’s still one more piece I want to share with you. This final step—let’s call it step 3.5—connects everything together and makes it a repeatable process. You really can’t skip it. I call this step next because it’s all about having next steps in place.
In today’s selling world, very few salespeople find themselves in a true one-call close situation. Oftentimes, there are multiple meetings leading up to a sale. And so, next steps are absolutely essential, because they act as an unbroken chain of connection through all those meetings and steps that lead to the close.
This means no follow-up; we are not in the business of following up on our prospects. We’re not chasing them. Instead, we are truly next step obsessed. Every time we’re in a meeting, we’re scheduling an appointment for the next meeting. We always have that next step in place.
And ultimately, next steps are the close. We don’t have to use some fancy, aggressive closing technique. Instead, just send out a calendar invite at each step in the sale, make sure the prospect accepts it, and hold the sale together, step by step. If this means that the sale requires three long conversations, as opposed to just one, I don’t care. We don’t need to use high-pressure sales tactics that are going to force our prospects to buy today. Instead, we want to hold the conversation together with those next steps, time and time again.
Think of next steps as a series of small closes that ultimately lead to closing the deal. Do it right, and there’s never any need for a big pushy close at the end—because you’ll go into that last conversation knowing it’s a done deal.
So there you have it. Now you know 3 sales process steps to build your best sales process ever. Which of these sales process steps are you going to implement into your approach? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below to join the conversation.
More Essential Sales Process Steps…
Do you ever find yourself in a selling situation where things just start to fall apart…and you’re not sure why?
This happens to salespeople all day long—and the reason is virtually always that they’re lacking the right sales process.
When you’re not using the right sales process, problems come up, and things start to fall apart. That’s why, in this video, I’m going to show you the absolute best sales process ever.
What we’re going to focus on here all comes from the Sales Insights method, which is our proprietary sales process we’ve developed from the best data on what’s working in sales today. So without further ado, let’s dive right in:
4. Insight opens the door.
The first step in the absolute best sales process is insight. Insight, in this context, means demonstrating that you know what’s going on in the prospect’s world. Can you bring some value to the table to get them to lower their guard, and ultimately start the conversation?
Starting your sales process with insight is the best way to avoid what most salespeople are doing today: They’re either immediately pitching and selling their product or service, which is disastrous, or they’re starting off with probing questions. With both of these approaches, prospects think to themselves “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t know who you are. I have no idea. Why should I answer these questions?”
Insight solves these issues, because it allows salespeople to come into the conversation with real value. As a salesperson, you actually have the ultimate bird’s-eye view of what’s going on in your prospects’ lives. You talk to so many people who are just like them, in similar situations, every day. So bringing that insight into the conversation early on will get the prospect to open up more quickly and start a conversation with you.
5. Disqualification makes more sales.
The next step in the best sales process is disqualification. Chances are, if you’ve been in sales for a little while, you’ve probably been taught that you need to persuade or convince prospects to do business with you. Or maybe, if you’re a little savvier and you’ve listened to some sales trainers, you’ve learned that you want to qualify prospects. Well, I want you to forget all that. Throw it out the door. Instead, what you actually want to be doing is disqualifying prospects.
Disqualification requires using a doctor’s mindset. Once you’ve demonstrated an insight to engage prospects in a conversation, it’s time to ask a systematic set of questions to really determine whether they’re a fit. (And by the way, if they’re not a fit, that’s cool, too. That’s what disqualification is all about.)
The point of sales is not to enter the conversation trying to lead the prospect to a specific place. Rather, you should view it as taking the prospect through a process to determine whether this is someone you should be spending your time with.
After all, the data shows that top-performing salespeople are spending the highest percentage of their time with qualified prospects. And the only way to get in front of qualified prospects is to first disqualify the people who are not a fit. That’s the most important piece of this step in the best sales process ever: being comfortable with the idea that you’re not a fit for everyone, and not everyone is a fit for you.
Once you start to follow your improved sales process, you’ll begin to free up your time and focus all of your energy on the right people. They’re going to see so much more value in what you do because of the process you’ve taken them through.
6. Solve their challenges.
So, we’ve established that the best sales process begins with insight and then moves on to disqualification. The third step in the process is to solve their challenges once we’ve determined they’re a fit. You’ll notice that I don’t say that you’re going to present. Instead, you want to be solving.
And what solving really means is demonstrating that you can provide the solution to the challenges that the prospect has talked about.
Solving isn’t about presenting features and benefits. It’s about connecting the dots between where prospects are and where they want to go, and demonstrating that you can provide the bridge to help get them there. When you demonstrate that you can solve their challenges, that’s when powerful things happen.
This isn’t some fancy, smooth-talking pitch, but rather just a conversation demonstrating that you are the solution to the challenges they’ve discussed. That’s it.
7. Be next-step-obsessed.
Sales fall apart when next steps are not established. Period. Our research shows that top-performing reps are completely obsessed with establishing next steps at every stage of the sale. There are very few selling situations that are truly one-call closes. They do exist, but for the most part, there are multiple steps to most sales, and that’s okay.
Every time you’re near the end of a sales conversation, you must be establishing the next step. This is a place where you’ve got to be really strong and firm. Be next-step-obsessed. That’s what matters.
You’re not going to close the sale, you’re going to establish that next step. Make it clear, put it in your calendar, and make sure it’s in your prospect’s calendar. That way, you’re constantly holding the sale on track so things don’t slip through the cracks.
8. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Now that you’ve got an overview of the absolute best sales process ever, all that’s left is to do it over and over again until it becomes second-nature to you. Rinse, wash, repeat. That’s the power of having a sales process in the first place—now you know exactly what you’re going to be doing at every stage of the sale, and you can do it over and over and over again.
Because you know what? Sales is redundant. Good selling is doing the same thing over and over and over again. As soon as you start to let go of the process and decide to kind of wing it, things start to fall apart. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Even More Keys to a Great Sales Process…
Did you know that buyers rate 65% of salespeople as average or poor?
If you fall into that two-thirds majority of salespeople, you’ll find it difficult to build rapport with hard-to-impress buyers who hear from countless salespeople each week.
In fact, without a proven sales process, capturing and keeping the attention of a high-level prospect can be nearly impossible.
On the other hand, with even a simple 3-step sales process as your guide, you can connect with more prospects and close more sales than ever before.
Of course, you don’t just want to pull a 3-step sales process out of thin air.
I’ve personally worked with thousands of salespeople and found a proven method shared by the most successful salespeople across industries.
In this video and article, I’m going to share the perfect 3-step sales process that has worked time and time again and can help you close more sales—and bigger sales—than ever before.
I’ve met with top salespeople across a wide variety of industries, and I’ve found that high-performing salespeople share a lot in common.
One of the strongest commonalities among top salespeople is that they all use a consistent and predictable sales process.
In many cases, this is a simple 3-step sales process that is easy to remember and follow but works nearly every time.
On the other hand, average salespeople who are struggling to keep up are simply winging it.
Their process changes from one prospect to the next.
This disorganized approach takes more time and effort than a simple, proven process yet yields far less in profits!
We all need a 3-step sales process in order to excel; it keeps us focused and on track.
Plus, a 3-step sales process will ensure we give each prospect a stellar sales experience that leads them to invest in our product or service.
Read on to learn more about the perfect 3-step sales process I’ve seen lead countless salespeople to success in sales.
9. Build connections of trust with prospects.
In order for you to make a new sale, there must be a connection of trust. Building that connection is the first step of the 3-step sales process.
This goes deeper than merely building rapport.
First, you need the prospect to feel that you’re similar to him or her.
Even your body language comes into play here—a whopping 81% of buyers prefer to talk to someone with their same mannerisms.
Mirror the body language you see in your prospect, then look for things to connect over that you have in common.
To put it simply, prospects must feel like they’re someone you truly relate to and understand.
Second, the prospect needs to feel that you care about their situation.
Ask questions about their deepest challenges, then practice active listening.
When prospects see that you’re working to build a solution to their biggest problems—rather than simply pushing a product or service on them—they’ll be more likely to listen to you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you.
Once you’ve accomplished that, then you’ve created a true connection of trust with the prospect, and you’re ready to move on to the second step in the 3-step sales process.
10. Learn to disqualify prospects.
Now, this is probably language that you’re not used to hearing in a selling situation, but you have to learn to disqualify prospects.
The second step in the 3-step sales process may sound counterintuitive but it will save you a lot of time and really help you crush your sales goals.
My challenge to you is to stop chasing around prospects with a fancy sales pitch; they just don’t care.
Instead, start asking truly value-based questions to learn about their key challenges and goals.
For instance, try asking, “What is the most important objective that you would like to accomplish this year?” or “What are some of the biggest challenges that you’re consistently facing?”
If their answers reveal that they either aren’t facing or aren’t prioritizing the problems you’re equipped to solve, then they’re not a fit.
Instead of wasting your time trying to make them a fit—only to walk away without a sale—disqualify them on the front end.
By being willing to actually disqualify anyone who’s not a fit, you’re ultimately putting yourself into a position of being the selector.
It’s amazing how prospects will respond to this.
When you begin signaling to a prospect that they may not be a fit, it’s going to raise your value in their eyes and also lead them to trust you more.
If they start to see you as more valuable, they may even encourage you to stick it out with them.
If that’s the case, you’re ready to move on to the final step of the 3-step sales process.
If not, you’ve now freed up your time to move on to a well-qualified prospect and start the 3-step sales process over again.
11. Give a case study presentation.
Canned presentations simply don’t get it done anymore.
If you’re giving the same features and benefits presentation to every prospect, then your sales meetings will be about as engaging as reading a high school textbook.
Case study presentations, on the other hand, keep prospects interested by telling a story of how you’ve already solved the problems they’re facing with other customers.
Set yourself apart from the competition by catering your presentation to the prospect.
Share examples of how you’ve helped other clients in similar situations accomplish their goals.
Have a few different examples ready to share, and when it comes time to actually present your solution, present only to the prospect’s challenges—nothing more.
This final step in the 3-step sales process will set you up to close more sales; all that will be left to do is write a proposal and get them to sign on the dotted line!
Conclusion: Crush Sales Goals with a 3-Step Sales Process
There are two basic ways to crush your sales goals—by closing more sales and by closing bigger sales.
A proven 3-step sales process can help you do both.
By having a blueprint to follow, you’ll stay on track with each prospect to close more deals.
You’ll also earn the trust of highly qualified prospects at big companies and ultimately close bigger sales.
The first step of a perfect 3-step sales process is to establish a true connection of trust with prospects.
Mirror body language and work to figure out what you have in common with prospects.
It’s also important to ask thoughtful questions and really listen until you understand what’s going on in the prospect’s world.
Prospects can tell when you’re faking interest or empathy, but if you really care about helping them solve their biggest problems, your authenticity will shine through and help you earn their trust.
Once you establish that trust, you are ready for the second step of the 3-step sales process—qualifying the prospect.
Rather than trying to sell your product or service to anyone and everyone, be willing to disqualify someone who’s a bad fit.
Prospects will begin to see you as a trusted expert, and you’ll also stop wasting time on bad fits who are only going to throw a bunch of objections at you when you get to the close.
If a prospect is qualified for what you have to offer, you’re ready to move onto the final step of the 3-step sales process.
A case study presentation is crucial if you want to engage prospects and close sales.
Quality prospects hear canned, one-size-fits-all presentations all the time.
If you can cater your presentation to their needs and tell a story of how you’ve solved the problems they’re facing for other customers, you’ll stand out from the crowd and close more sales.
This 3-step sales process may sound simple, but it works.
Superstar salespeople use it over and over to crush their sales goals and rise to the top of their industry.
So now you know the perfect 3-step sales process to generate an enormous increase in your sales and closing ratios.
Which of these three steps did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comments section, and I’ll respond to every comment I possibly can.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.