June 11, 2012

The Sales Cycle – 8 Simple Steps to a Sale (Part 2)

My #1 priority at VietnamWorks was creating a highly trained, professional sales team.

In Part 1 you learned about the customer’s business, goals and — the biggie — the COST of problems standing between the customer and his goals.

Now it’s time to talk about the part of the sales cycle where you explain how you can help the customer reach his goals.

5. Solution
Restate the customer’s problem and the cost of not solving his problem. Then smile and say:

“I have good news — we can help you solve this problem and reach your goals.”

Explain how your product will solve one or more of the customer’s main problems and help him achieve his goals. Also explain how your solution is better than any others.

“A job posting on VietnamWorks will help you find that Operations Director better and faster than any other solution.  Not only do more than 70,000 job seekers visit our website each day, but we have won PC World magazine’s “Best Recuiting Website” for 4 years running.  More job seekers means more candidate choice for you, faster, which means you can hire a great Operations Director, open your new branches and achieve your profit growth goals faster.”

Use this time to address proactively any common objections, such as price.

“There are other solutions which are less expensive than VietnamWorks, but none that will solve your problem as well as VietnamWorks.”

The big idea during this step is that you combine i) the cost of not solving the problem with ii) evidence that your solution is best.  If the cost of not solving the problem is greater than the price of your product (and if you have a good product it will be) then it’s difficult for the customer not to buy.

6. Assume the Sale
Here’s a magic question: “Do you have any other questions or concerns?”

If the customer says “yes” then address the concern.   Then ask the question again.

“Do you have any other questions or concerns?”

When the customer says “no” you assume the sale.  

If you’ve i) established the cost of not solving the customer’s problem, ii) proved that you have the best solution, and iii) the customer has no other questions or concerns, then why wouldn’t they buy?

“Well then, the next step is complete and sign a purchase order.  I have the form right here.”

Then fill out the form and push it over to the customer for signature.

7. Solve Objections
An “objection” is a reason not to buy your product right now.  Common objections include:

  • Price
  • Can’t make a decision without the boss
  • No budget

You will run into fewer objections if you’ve already proven that your product will solve the customer’s problem best and that the cost of your product is less than the cost of not solving the customer’s problem.

When you get an objection it’s usually because you haven’t done steps 4-5 well enough.  People have written books about this one step.  Solving objections will be the subject of another post.

8. Close
Get the customer’s signature and get paid.  Congratuations — you’ve made the sale!

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  • Giang

    Those steps are so helpful. I saw some sales people spent too much time on the slides or their product rather than customer’s problems.

    • Yes!  It’s astonishing how many sales people never bother to learn about the customer so they can explain how their product helps the customer to achieve his goals.

      A few years ago a local ad agency boss pitched to me.  He didn’t ask me one question about VietnamWorks.  Instead he went on and on about his experience which wasn’t relevant to our business.

      Obviously, I didn’t hire him.

  • Giang

    oh, by the way, if you want to broadcast these articles to those who are not familiar with English, I can help to translate.

  • Danh Nguyen

    Thanks Chris for very useful posts.
    Especially for step 4, 5 when the customers can evaluate well and compare our product with other options through our questions and suggestions. They  not just get the whole information of product without knowing how it can help them to solve their problems.

    I will share to sales members in AIESEC to learn and practice.