What Are the 7 Steps to Selling?

2023-03-14

Sales is an essential part of many businesses. For as long as business has been around, people have been trying to perfect the sales process. This has resulted in the creation of many sales methodologies that use a variation of the seven basic steps of selling, which are the same across B2B and B2C companies alike. Understanding the best practices and steps involved in making effective sales can help companies increase their profits, improve their capabilities, and nurture better customer relationships. 

The sales process is an interaction between salespeople, either in-house or outsourced, and potential customers. The first few steps are focused on researching the needs and wants of the prospect, which is followed by presenting your solution and then addressing the concerns of the buyer. Finally, the deal is closed, and an ongoing relationship is formed. 

Here’s how those seven steps break down. 

Step one: prospecting

Every single sale starts with finding a prospect to buy. This is the stage where sales teams will need to identify target customers and audiences, as well as determine what need or want they have that can be fulfilled by the company. There is a lot of research involved at this point, which will allow sales teams to start compiling lists of leads or qualified prospects. 

This can help narrow your pool of potential buyers and determine whether your offerings meet the current needs of buyers. It’s a great way to screen based on what you’re selling or the needs of your buyers and to learn more about what they expect from a solution. 

Step two: preparation 

The second step is about getting prepared. Now that you have more information about potential customers, you will need to gather as much insight as you can to make the right approach in this step. You want to make sure that you have everything ready and gathered, including product information, pricing, competitor information, and other details. 

This is also where you want to collect information about your prospects so that you can tailor your sales presentation. Use the information that you have to prepare answers to potential questions and practice what you’re going to say to the prospects so that you are ready to engage effectively. 

Step three: approach

The approach is where you finally make a connection with a lead. This involves getting them to interact with you first, of course, either by establishing rapport or personalizing a meeting in some way. You can ask a lot of questions to get their input and get people involved, too. 

Find out what people are currently doing, what they could improve, and how your product or service could help in that regard. It’s also a good idea to find out whether they have heard anything about your product or company, specifically, so that you know where to begin in your presentation. 

Step four: presentation

Now that your sales team has established the prospect’s needs and wants, as well as what they want in a solution, you will be prepared to create and deliver your sales presentation or demonstration to show the prospects how your product or service can fulfill those needs or address the pain points they are having. 

Think about the type of presentation that would be most effective. This could involve a product demo, a tour, or another visual experience. It could also be a hands-on product lab experience that lets people see what kind of solutions you create and then design their own. This is where you want to apply all of your research and make sure that you’re delivering the best solution based on each prospect’s needs and wants. 

Step five: handling objections

There are naturally going to be objections, even to the best sales pitches. Therefore, you need to be prepared to handle them in advance. Do your homework and figure out what the common objections are. See where your competitors struggle to overcome those hurdles. Then, find a way that your sales team can address them effectively to give people peace of mind and get the sale. 

You might need to ask more questions to get to the bottom of someone’s concerns, or to tailor your pitch in a way that addresses their objections or qualms about the service or product that you offer. 

Step six: closing

At this point, your sales team has successfully convinced the prospect that your product or service can resolve their pain points and address their needs effectively. It’s important to clarify whether the lead actually wants to make a purchase and if they are ready for that commitment and investment. Make sure that they fully understand what they’re getting before you close the deal, too. 

This process may involve paperwork, contracts, or other steps. It may also just be a monetary exchange for the product or service, and then you’re done. In any case, you should make sure that your buyer understands this part of the process and what is expected of them. This is also a good place to upsell and remarket to those who are still on the fence. 

Step seven: follow-up 

The final step in the sales process is the follow-up stage. This is where you make sure that prospects have everything that they need, that the experience was what they wanted, and that there is nothing else that you can do for them at this exact moment. This not only reassures them that they can depend on you, but it helps you nurture that relationship so that you can cultivate future business with each completed sale. 

Reviews, ratings, and other logistics may also take place here. This stage is the one that will lead you back to the first step in the process, offering referrals, additional sales, and reviews that generate new business. 

While you’re selling, who is managing the leads?

When implementing a new sales process, you have a lot on your plate. However, you don’t want to let any of these leads get by. Enlist the assistance of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai and you’ll get a 24/7 answering service with support for outreach campaigns, lead intake, appointment scheduling, and more. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai. 

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Tags:
Outbound Calling
Sales Tips
Marketing Advice
Lead Generation
Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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