The Process of Selling THE SEVEN STEPS OF A SALE
STEP 1—The Pre-Approach A good salesperson must study his products ahead of time. Manufacturers send literature, brochures and booklets to retailers so that their salespeople can become familiar with the construction, workmanship and uses of a product. Even packaging and labels can be of use to a professional salesperson. A salesperson must also be neat in appearance and dress. When a customer enters a store, an alert salesperson will watch a customer for a few seconds and try to gain information on what the customer is looking for. He may see a customer checking prices, colors, styles. With this info in mind, a salesperson can then make the approach.
STEP 2—The Approach <ul><li>The approach begins with a greeting. There are 3 type of approach. How often have you been asked, “Can I help you?” Wasn’t your answer 95% of the time, “No, I’m just looking.” So why would a salesperson ask you a question that he know will get a “NO” answer. </li></ul><ul><li>This called the “Service Approach.” It offers assistance to the customer. This approach is probably the most widely used and is the most overused approach. Other sayings are “Has someone helped you?” or “May I help you find your size?” </li></ul><ul><li>A professional salesperson will not ask that question unless he sees you during the pre-approach in a rush or if this is a routine sale. </li></ul>
Approaches Used by Professional Salespeople <ul><li>The “Merchandise Approach” is one of the most effective because it directs the customer’s attention and interest to an item. After a salesperson has watched a customer for a few seconds looking at a sports coat (for example), he might walk up and say, “That sports coat has been on of our best selling coats this fall.” Can a customer now say, “No, I’m just looking. No. They must now engage in conversation. </li></ul>
Approaches Used by Professional Salespeople <ul><li>The “Welcome Approach” is used to greet customers on an informational basis. Its purpose is to welcome customers to the store. “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Good Evening,” followed by a brief pause will encourage a customer to tell you about their needs. If you know the customer’s name, use it with the greeting. </li></ul>
STEP 3—Determining Needs & Wants Once you have a customer looking at a product, you must begin questioning them to find out what they need or want. A salesperson must listen carefully in order to select the best features of the product you will present to the customer. Questions like “Is this for a special occasion?” or “What features are your looking for?” or “Do you have a favorite color/style?” will help you determine the customer’s needs/wants. If you are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this can help you find the motivation behind a customer’s potential purchase.
STEP 4—Feature/Benefit Presentation When you speak to a customer, you must tell them how the product will be an advantage to them. Having the product demonstrated is also a good way to show its uses. A good salesperson studies everything about the products he sells. A lot of thought is put into knowing the features of each product. Simply telling a customer a feature, though, will not suffice. Many salespeople spent time thinking up ways to tell a customer a feature in terms of how it will benefit him. This is called giving the customer the “Benefit” of the product.
Take a feature, change it into a benefit, and say it to a customer. Example: Feature--A 22 inch computer monitor Benefit—“Have you ever strained your eyes on one of those small 15 inch computer monitors. This one has a 22 inch viewing screen which will make it so much easier for you to view your documents.” Doesn’t this statement make more sense? It gives the customer something to think about.
STEP 5—Handling Customer Objections When you hear the word “objection,” your first instinct is of something negative. To a salesperson an objection is a good thing. It tells the salesperson that a customer is interested. An example of an objection is a customer saying, “I really don’t like black.” To overcome this objection, a salesperson might say, “Oh, this sweaters comes in many other colors. Let me show you the red ones (or blue ones, etc.)”
Excuses An excuse is not an objection. When a customer gives a salesperson an excuse, he is saying he is not really interested in buying today. A professional salesperson will recognize excuses over objections and realize he needs to move on to the next customer. An example of an excuse is “I’ll have to think about it,” or “I can’t afford it” or “I never buy before I shop around.” “I can’t afford it” may be viewed as an objection, and a salesperson may describe a line of credit available to the customer. Generally, though, when you hear an excuse, finish up with the customer quickly and move on.
STEP 6—Closing the Sale The close of a sale may come along at any step of a sale. As soon as a salesperson senses a strong, positive desire for the product, he should begin the close. Clues to a salesperson to start closing may be visual, like a customer nodding “yes” to you or it could be verbal. If the salesperson has completed all steps, he may then need to force the close by saying something like, “Will that be cash or charge?” or “Would you like to have this gift-wrapped?” or “Do you want the red one or the black one?”
STEP 7—Suggestion Selling and Reassurance Suggestion selling is the process of selling customers an item to go with their purchase. How often have you purchased a hamburger sandwich at a quick-serve store and were asked, “Would you like fries with your order?” Have you ever made a purchase of a pair of pants and was asked, “Would you like some matching socks (or a belt or a blouse/shirt) to go with your pants?” This is suggestion selling. Its purpose is to increase the total of the final sale and every business relies heavily on it. Suggestion Selling
Reassurance Reassuring the customer that he has made a wise decision is also a very important step in a sale. This also may be the appropriate time to hand the customer a business card and tell them to call if they have any questions. Some businesses will send cards or call a customer after a sale to reassure them and/or answer any of their questions.