The 7 Step Prosell Process
Step 1 – Penetration
Business can only be obtained when an account has been penetrated in some way. This can be the initial discussion with a completely new account, or new department or subsidiary of an existing account, or the commencement of additional new business with an existing customer.
It will only progress when, for whatever reason, the customer is disturbed enough to be less than satisfied with the present situation. Only at this stage can you move on to the next step in the selling strategy.
Step 2 – Research
Here we need to learn about the 2 S’s. The Static information of the account and the Strategy of the account. With an existing customer you will probably have much of the static information and may also be aware of their business strategy. When this is so your questioning in this step of the sales process should be to qualify that what you know about the account is correct. With a new department or subsidiary you may need to question further to confirm some elements and learn of others. In a completely new account questioning is likely to need to be broader and deeper in order to obtain all the information necessary to move the process forward.
STEP 3 – Options
We are now at the stage of the sales process where a need to change from the present situation has been considered. This stage may have been reached without your involvement. It could occur naturally through a change in the customer’s circumstances and therefore current needs, or simply a wish to renew what they already have. A request for product or services details from a customer would be confirmation that they are in the Options stage.Sometimes though this stage of the sale has only been arrived at by the salesperson taking the customer through steps 1 & 2 and creating the situation whereby the customer is considering the options available.
The customer now has to decide whether to:
- go ahead with making the change – and if so
- with which supplier they should do business.
Step 4 – Solution
The customer now needs to be convinced that ours is the best solution from all the options available. To help achieve this we need to ensure the customer clearly understands the Features, Advantages and Benefits of our offering.
The skill in previous questioning will have an effect on the ease with which the customer is likely to accept the benefits you now put forward. If your questioning in the Options stage had encouraged the customer to explore the effects of changing or not changing the present situation, it is more likely the customer will view it as their decision rather than one brought on by a persuasive salesperson.
Although the customer may now accept that your solution has the most merit it does not necessarily mean that they will be in a position to go ahead and order. It may be a significant step in the sale, but much can still go wrong.
It is not unusual to find that the person you have been dealing with is an influencer rather than a signatory. It may require a committee or board meeting to obtain final approval, or the agreement of a budget holder such as the financial director. In either event it is likely to mean your contact having to present the proposal to justify the purchase. Obviously it would be in your interest to attend the meeting as well. Often this is not possible however and you will need to rely upon your contact being able to put across an effective case. It is easier for your contact to do so when he sees it as a decision he has reached rather than something you have persuaded him to do.
Step 5 – Engage
You are now at the stage in the sale when you are likely to engage the customer in discussions to resolve concerns he might now be showing around the decision he is making. Considering some of the barriers he might have to overcome when putting the case forward to others, or simply justifying his decision to himself, can put doubt in your customers mind. ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ This is when objections are likely to be raised.
Successful salespeople look upon objections as opportunities, which handled correctly is just what they are. Objections can simply be a need to be convinced that the decision they are about to make is the right one. Overcoming a genuine objection to the customers satisfaction is a forceful step in the sales process. Failure to do so however will probably mean the loss of the sale. How well you engage the customer at this stage will determine whether the sales process continues to Step 6 or terminates now.
Step 6 – goLive
The purchase has been made and now goes live. Installation takes place. An effective salesperson remains involved at this stage as much as any other in the sale. He/she knows that for the sake of long term account retention and development, as well as simply doing right by the customer with whom he has done business, it is sensible to ensure delivery, installation etc is effected as planned.
It may or may not require your presence on the day. What is definitely needed though is for you to have made sure that you have done all that is necessary to ensure that when the sale goes Live it fulfils the customers expectations.
It is at the goLive step of the sales process that the first introduction, testing and initial evaluation of your product or service takes place. Psychologically, installation can be an anxious period for the customer. What if something goes wrong? Has it been a bad choice? This is the moment when the purchasing decision meets the acid test in terms of results. Until this point in the sales process all the customer has had is promises of performance. Now those promises must be delivered.
Step 7 – Leverage
Good effective ongoing planning of the Account is essential if the full worth and business potential of the relationship is to be realised. It is far more costly to acquire a new customer than develop business in an existing account. Effective Leverage of an existing account will help unearth opportunities and, providing the account has been well managed and relationships developed, enable you to capture this potential.
One of the greatest opportunities early on in the Leverage stage of the sales process - and missed by many a so called salesperson - is to be given a ‘Roaming licence’:
This means the support and authority of senior management for the salesperson to visit departments and speak to people within the Account to really establish customer requirements before proposing solutions. A ‘Roaming Licence’ established as a format early in the relationship, is likely to continue as an expected process. When the opportunity to supply your products or services then occurs, having to make hasty recommendations that may not always be in the best interest of either party, is avoided.
Applying effective Leverage in an account will enable you to develop business relationships that become seen as partnerships, and will ensure you continually capture the full business potential the account has to offer.
Prosell offers a program that combines sales training and sales coaching. It is based on recognised research, which tells us that training alone has limited impact and that when supported by skilful coaching, has 74% more chance of being implemented.
Prosell has resources to deliver these programs across Australia, covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.