As a business owner, you have salespeople on your team, or you are responsible for selling goods and services in your business. Thus, most likely, you recognize the term “sales process.” You know that many prospective clients will enter the wide end of the funnel, but few will exit through the narrow end of the funnel. In other words, many potential customers will hear about your goods and services. Yet, few will buy. It’s hard to turn potential customers into actual customers in today’s cutthroat, internet-savvy sales world. To do so, you must utilize a modern sales process rather than an outdated, traditional sales process.
Traditionally, salespeople follow a process when customers walk through a business’s door. They:
“Social media and the Internet has changed the buying process. Most buyers have done their due diligence before they ever enter a store.” – Justin Goodbread, CFP®, CEPA®, CVGA®Click to tweet
Those 8 steps make up the traditional sales process, and the sales person’s goal is to bring the customer to a “Yes” or “No” answer.
However, consumers’ ready and immediate access to social media and the internet has changed the buying process. Most buyers have done their due diligence long before they ever enter a store. They know the pros and cons of your product. They know what they want to pay and what they think is fair to pay for your service. In fact, according to the CEB, 57% of the buying process is completed before customers ever contact the supplier or before a salesperson ever gets involved. Once customers walk into a store, then, salespeople only start with a 43% chance of moving customers from their initial contact to the ultimate purchasing decision. That 43% is what we’re dealing with in the new sales funnel.
The traditional sales process operates on the belief that the salesperson or business has 100% of the opportunity to sell a product or service. Yet, to be a modern business in this internet-based world, you must begin and end your sales differently than the traditional way. You must assume your potential customers are knowledgeable and help them pick among their best options. You must:
The modern sales process is essentially a modified sales funnel. Rather than 8 steps, it has 5 specific steps. It’s more than order-taking or strong-arming. It’s relationship building. Also, be sure to look for my next article where I’ll be defining and managing your sales team.