People or companies have products or services meant for people to buy so they make money. Until that product finds a buyer and cash or something very valuable to match the cost of the product or service exchanged for it, it is nothing worthwhile.
Sales, is therefore, a process that results in a transaction between two or more parties in which the buyer receives the offering and the seller gets something of value in return which is usually money.
For that matter, sales is a process: This means that while ‘sale’ is a transaction, sales is a process that results in this transaction.
For the process to be complete, there must be a buyer. Here, the buyer is the party or parties which make the purchase.
Also important is that, there must be a seller. This is the party or parties that offer a product or service for sale.
Finally, there must be something of value in return. This means that sales always involves the buyer paying for the offering in the form of money or another asset. A transaction that doesn’t involve payment isn’t considered a sale.
Steps to selling
Many, due to lack of jobs, pick products from anywhere and attempt to have people pay for them. They follow no clear steps to enable them to be successful.
However, it is crucial to note that sales figures rely on careful research and planning, authentic communication and tactical skills in persuasion and closing a sale.
There may be other structured ways to sell. However, people can develop a successful sales process for their business using these 10 essential steps to sell. It must be noted that, depending on the size and type of sale, multiple steps can be done at the same time or in a different order.
1. Look for customers
No matter how small the business, it is extremely crucial to conduct some small research into your potential customer base.
Identify your tactics for finding new customers in your sales and marketing plans.
Gather information about your customers' needs, such as: what motivates them to buy; how they prefer to shop; and what they spend their disposable income on.
2. Plan your approach
In a haste, many do not consider and, therefore, rush into doing what they assume is right. But, take a step back and review information you have gathered about your customers and their needs – make sure it is up to date.
Consider what products, services or experiences you have that meet their needs. Note, it should be about what the customers want and not what you assume.
Communicate with credibility.
3. First contact
Approach your prospective customer in a way that comforts them and builds their trust in you. Use friendly and courteous body language, facial expressions and manners. Listen to their needs.
Use an anecdote or relevant fact to establish their interest. For example, describe a recent customer who received the kind of benefits they are looking for.
Where suitable use humour and be open and genuine.
4. Confirm specific customer needs
In selling, this is key. Confirm an individual customer's needs by listening to their requirements.
Ask questions that are relevant to your customer's needs and your products. Questions can be direct – for example, 'Do you find it hard to keep your carpets clean?' open-ended – for example, 'Tell me about the products you're using at the moment.'
5. Pick right product or service
Consider your product range and choose the product, service or experience that best meets the needs you've identified.
If you have several options to choose from, pick one and focus on it.
6. Sales presentation
It could come at a cost. But make it a part of your investment. Make sales presentations once the opportunity avails itself. Present your product's features, but focus on its benefits. Be enthusiastic and show your conviction.
Explain what makes your product different from the others.
Anticipate likely questions or reactions and be prepared to respond to them.
If using a presentation, ensure it is up to date and tailored to your customer.
Be open in your presentation.
7. Handle objections
Be prepared for what customers will say, and be ready to respond. Some objections may be hash but never despair.
Recognise your customer's comments by acknowledging their views and then respond with solutions.
Ask questions about their views to find ways to address them.
Restate the customer's objection by saying it aloud, you can reduce its impact.
8. Close the sale
Look for signals that indicate the client is ready to make a purchase. You get to know this through their responses. Be alert and act fast. Questions about availability or warranties is a good signal.
Stop talking – give your customer a chance to fill the silence and say yes.
Offer a choice that assumes their purchase - medium or large?.
9. Follow up
Many sell and that is the end of it. But pay attention to after-sales service and deliver on whatever you've said you'll do.
If you didn’t close the sale, follow up with additional opportunities or maintain the relationship.
Update your sales matrix and/or customer relationship management tool.
Check in with your customer after the sale to see if they are happy with the product.
Look for the next selling opportunity by drawing the customer's attention to related products or upcoming specials.
Build on your rapport to establish a relationship over the long term.
10. Review the sales
Gather information about your business' sales performance and product popularity.
Do some customer research. You could use customer feedback forms to evaluate customer satisfaction.
Sales can be easy but at the same time it can be tedious. All it takes is tact and ensuring that the process is followed.
Know your product or service and make the positive move.