In marketing there is a concept of the product life cycle. Products, just like people, are born, conquer the market, live and die. Most of us remember VHS tapes, film cameras or floppy disks, which now have virtually no use. At the same time, novelty items appear every day, like a phone with face recognition or 3D printers, which we could only dream about a dozen years ago. How does the product life cycle affect sales?
Referrals are an often-ignored part of the sales process, which is a bit daft, really. A referral is a ready-made lead for you, has ‘trust’ written all over it from an existing client, is more likely to convert to a sale and has a longer sales life span. So why is it missed out of the strategy? When did we become all shy?
Have you ever had a situation when you were sure that the client would buy a product/service from you, and then in the end they decided to go with the competition, or not to buy at all? How did you react in that situation? Sad, angry, insulted? Or maybe you tried to find out the reasons for this decision so you can react better in the future?
A sales process is a series of steps that aim to get your prospective customer to buy, and then to rebuy. It gives sellers a framework for their activity. Each of these steps involves interactions – sometimes one, sometimes many, and can take different forms, and involve different messages. A good sales process helps someone to sell at the most effective speed with the correct messaging and leads to the best outcomes.
Certainly, the most critical skill for any sales professional is the ability to converse consultatively with potential customers. Unless a salesperson can communicate with a buyer effectively, their chances of closing a sale are practically nil.
Buyers go through many phases on their journey from thinking there might be a business problem to finding a product or service to solve it. Initially, they may not be aware that there is a specific need, only that there is something off, small difficulties that they are ignoring as just part of the job. Eventually, they will discover that there is a real need. It’s here that they start to investigate. Buyers today are well informed and arm themselves with a great deal of information before they ever engage with a salesperson. In this second stage, their great concern is need. What is the exact nature of the issue and what is the way to solve it?
Several years ago, I bought a new car. Like many buyers today, I had done my research. I knew what I wanted, the options I was looking for, and what I was willing to pay for them. I drove up on the lot in my old pickup truck and went straight away to the back corner where last year’s models were hiding away. These were new cars, but they had been relegated to the backlot to make room for the new models, and I knew I could get a better deal on one of these, because the dealership needed to move them. As I strolled among the new old cars, peeking my head down into the windows, a salesman approached.
Sometimes we need to take a little time to check up on what we are doing, and this is vital in your sales activity if you want to be successful. Continual improvement not only adds to your skill set and improves results but also keeps you motivated through learning. Ideally, take stock every few weeks. If this sounds arduous, there is a tip to use the Stop, Start, Continue method below.
When I was asked to write this article, I thought the topic was so obvious that it wouldn’t be interesting. However, after a moment of reflection I came to the conclusion, however, that there’s something there that the salespeople who call me rarely follow up... I realized that this is indeed a problem and that what for me is a normal part of relationship building, for many is a meaningless activity. In the article I will answer the question of why and how to do effective follow up.