There are three major steps for defining your sales process. First, there’s the type of contact. Second, there’s the milestones reached. Finally, there are helpful tools you can use to improve the sales process and optimize the sales cycle.
Type Of Contact
There are many types of contacts out there.
The suspect is a person’s name only. This is not really a hot prospect but rather someone who might be interested in listening to what you have to offer if they don’t have anything better to do. They might be interested in your product or service, but you’ve no idea and they’ve expressed no interest, so it’s anyone’s guess.
A prospect is a suspect that has engaged with you in one way or another. You might have handed them a business card. They might have called in about information about your service. Maybe you took them out to lunch, or maybe they know you through a friend or associate. At this stage, your job is to qualify them to see if it makes sense to do business with them.
The lead is when a prospect becomes an actual lead – someone you could sell to. There’s a definite need there, but he or she hasn’t made a commitment yet for whatever reason. Maybe the person doesn’t have the money right now, or they have to wait until the spring or fall for additional funds to clear up.
A customer is someone who has already bought something from you.
Milestones In The Sales Process
Milestones are stages in the sales process that are significant.
This is where you reach out to them and send them information about your company, your product or service, and your personal contact information. Provide them something of value during this stage so that you can qualify them.
Qualification is nothing more than figuring out whether this person is a high-probability sale. A high-probability sale is one that won’t require too much effort to close and the person has the money, the interest, and the need for your product or service.
Assess whether you can really meet the person’s objectives and needs. Make sure you understand the key factors driving their decision. Are you speaking with the decision-maker? Do they really understand your value proposition, and are they looking at the competition and, if so, who?
Make a proposal. This is your offer for a sale. It includes quotes, and a formal offer to sell.
If you’ve qualified the prospect properly, you shouldn’t have too much work to do in the close. Leads naturally want to buy from you when they have an immediate interest, and the money, to buy what you’re selling.
Some of the most helpful tools that will make your job easier include sales lead management tools, like this mortgage software. Basically, you want tools that will help you capture leads, followup with them, remind you to contact them, and store precious information about where the lead is in the sales cycle.
You also want your tools to simplify, rather than complicate, your life. Use that as the standard by which you judge them. Some tools won’t be worth the money, even when they cost thousands of dollars. Sometimes, free tools are your most valuable lead management asset.