The 7 Stages of the Sales Process

Every sales process should follow these 7 steps. It doesn’t matter what you are selling or how long the process is. By breaking down the process into distinct stages, you can identify which stage you need to work on. It is important to develop every step of the process to reach your maximum potential.

1. Prospecting

This stage requires a strong understanding of the features of your offering, what problems it solves, and for whom. This understanding allows you to target the right people, and not waste time chasing leads that will never convert.

2. Making Contact

So, you have your list of prospects, now it’s time to initiate contact. To maximize your impact, contact each prospect via two different channels — email, social, or phone. In this stage you just want to get the prospect to move to the next stage of the process, so don’t give your full pitch.

3. Qualifying

Here you will determine whether or not your prospect has a chance of converting to a customer. This usually happens in the first appointment, but you can also ask some qualifying questions in the initial contact if the prospect seems open. This prevents you from spending time giving a full pitch to people who aren’t true prospects.

4. Presenting

Before every appointment, prepare exactly what you want to say. This is when you really pitch your product, so make sure to present it as solving an issue the prospect is facing. But don’t overload the prospect with information. Try to make it as interactive as possible.

5. Overcoming Objections

In this stage you manage and overcome objections. Objections are a good sign — they show that the prospect is interested enough to actually listen to what you are saying. Show that you understand and hear their concerns, and reframe your offering to address the objections. Typically, you will hear many of the same objections, so come up with compelling responses to these common hold ups.

6. Closing

How difficult this stage is depends on how well the other stages went. If the prospect is fully convinced by closing time, all you have to do is have them sign the dotted line. If not, this is your last chance to convince them. You should tailor your closing style to the specific prospect.

7. Generating Referrals

So, you’ve closed the deal, but you’re not done yet! Generating referrals is a crucial step that many overlook. After you close, ask your new client if they have any contacts who might be interested in your solution. This will allow you to short circuit the sales cycle and skip some of the initial steps. It also will lead to better close rates, as people are more likely to buy a product that has been recommended to them.

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