Sales Cycle Explained
No matter the company you work for or the product/service you are selling, closing a deal usually follows roughly similar patterns. There are about seven steps in this pattern, and the steps are together called a sales cycle. Most salespeople don’t know what a sales cycle is, as they have never really consciously identified the steps.
What is a sales cycle?
A sales cycle is a stepwise process of closing a deal. All salespeople from B2B to retail undergo these processes to complete their sales whether they realize it or not. Although not every sale interaction will follow the same path, the stages undergone will be quite similar.
Sometimes people confuse the sales cycle with sales methodology. They are entirely different as the methodology is the framework used in the implementation of the sales, while the cycle often includes stages and involves more tactics. There are seven stages of the sales cycle, and it is essential that you master all these stages if you want to be successful in sales.
Stages of Sales Cycle
The seven stages of sales cycle include:
In this stage, you need to figure out the target audience for your products or services, and then go after them. This stage is probably the most important as you can get prospects that fit our product or service perfectly. You may have to find leads on your own, or your company will give you a lead list.
After identifying your prospects, the next thing to do is to contact them. Ensure you consider your business type when choosing a means of communication. Sometimes it’s best to get introduced by someone else, other times a direct phone call would be appropriate. It is essential you get this right as it spells the beginning of your relationship.
Qualify the prospect
In this stage, you figure out the capability and willingness of the prospect to purchase your goods before investing more time in them. It is crucial you do this, as you won’t waste time and resources on futile deals.
This is where you need to invest the most time, as it is vital that your presentation is compelling enough to spur the prospects into patronizing you. Always take note that your appearance also affects how your presentation is received.
It is normal for prospects to have objections and hesitations, but it is your job to quell these objections. Objections mean that the prospects are considering your products, so you should always encourage them.
Close the deal
Well, here’s the moment you have been waiting for. This is one of the most critical stages, and ironically, it is one of the most neglected stages. You may approach this stage in any way depending on the outcome from the previous stages. Also, you should take note that some sales require more time for closing than others.
It is pretty easy to ignore this stage. I mean, the deal is done so what else is left. Well, you can get new clients from the prospect of persisting and building a relationship with the prospect at the end of the deal.
Although not every sale may be similar, they generally follow these seven steps. It is vital that you understand these steps and ensure that you don’t ignore any of them because your level of understanding of these steps may affect the rate at which you successfully close deals.