3.8 Key Takeaways & Terms

Key Takeaways

  • Good salespeople don’t sell products; they sell solutions to their customers’ problems or challenges.
  • Your research, including the questions you ask your customer, should help you identify needs and opportunities.
  • Once you have identified your customers’ problems and goals, brainstorm solutions and opportunities that will meet their needs.
  • Knowing the best solution for your customer will help you craft a general benefits statement and a specific benefits statement that will help the customer envision the way your solution or opportunity meets his needs.
  • The seven-step selling process refers to the sequence of steps salespeople follow each time they make a sale. The process gives you the power to successfully sell almost anything.
  • The first step of the selling process, prospecting and qualifying, involves searching for potential customers and deciding whether they have the ability and desire to make a purchase. The people and organizations that meet these criteria are qualified prospects.
  • Before making a sales call, it is important to “do your homework” by researching your customer and planning what you are going to say; this is the preapproach.
  • The approach is your chance to make a first impression by introducing yourself, explaining the purpose of your call or visit, and establishing a rapport with your prospect.
  • Your research and preparation pays off during the presentation, when you propose your sales solution to your prospect.
  • Your prospect will naturally have objections, which you should look at as opportunities to better understand and respond to his or her needs.
  • Once you overcome objections, you close the sale by agreeing on the terms and finalizing the transaction.
  • The sales process doesn’t end with the close; follow-up (i.e., ensuring customer satisfaction and working out the logistics of delivery, installation, and timelines) is essential to retaining existing customers.
  • Prospecting is the most vital part of the selling process. Without prospects, you will not be able to make sales, and without constantly searching for new prospects, you won’t be able to replace the customers you lose and grow your business.
  • A lead is the only thing you can turn into a sale, so it’s important to follow up with your leads. Don’t write someone off without legitimately qualifying them.
  • The concept of the sales funnel illustrates the value of generating a large pool of leads because many of your prospects won’t qualify or will drop out during the selling process.
  • You should begin searching for leads by building an ideal customer profile to help you target your search efforts.
  • Methods for prospecting include:
    • Existing customers and referrals can be excellent sources of prospects because the customers are already familiar with your service and can speak on your behalf.
    • Networking provides the opportunity to leverage your existing relationships to develop new leads.
    • Business directories and databases (in print and online), trade publications, business journals, are all excellent sources to identify leads.
    • Trade shows and events give you an opportunity to talk to prospects.
    • Advertising and direct marketing provide a way to reach out to many prospects who may have an interest in your product or service.
    • Cold calling is an opportunity to approach the prospect and learn more about how you can meet her needs
    • Being a subject matter expert can set you apart and help generate leads because of your expertise.
  • Qualifying the lead includes identifying if the prospect is ready, willing, accessible, and able to make a purchasing decision about your product or service. MANA is the method used to qualify prospects.
  • The preapproach is a critical step that helps you earn your customer’s trust and sell adaptively; this is true whether you are meeting with a new customer—a target account—or an existing customer—one of your key accounts.
  • Before you make your sales call, you should know the objectives of the meeting. You should record these objectives, along with basic company information, on a precall planning worksheet.
  • Preapproach research includes information like company demographics, company news, and financial performance to help you discover sales opportunities and go deeper in your qualifying process.
  • Research the company’s customers, the current buying situation, and your contact person at the company to help you tailor your sales approach.
  • Research your existing customers to find opportunities for expanding the relationship and creating more sales.

Key Terms

Approach: working to establish a rapport with the customer first before making a pitch. This usually involves introductions, making some small talk, asking a few warm-up questions, and generally explaining who you are and whom you represent.

Closing agreeing on the terms of the sale and finishing up the transaction.

Follow-up refers to the essential actions taken by the sales person after the sale closes to ensure customer satisfaction.

General benefit statement: highlights the benefits of your solution or opportunity and address things like improving company visibility, expanding the business, increasing profits, or cutting cost.

Lead is a potential buyer.

MANA: a qualifying technique is consisting of the following categories: money, authority, need and access.

Networking is the art of building alliances or mutually beneficial relationships.

Objections:  a customer’s hesitations or concerns.

Prospecting: conducting research to identify the people or companies that might be interested in a product.

Prospect is a lead that is qualified or determined to be ready, willing, and able to buy.

Qualifying: asking questions to prospects to be able to focus sales efforts on the people who are most likely to buy.

Precall planning worksheet: a document that details the goals you hope to achieve during a particular sales call. It also lists the key company statistics,  the information you’d like to learn about the company, the solutions or key facts you plan to communicate, and any other goals you hope to achieve.

Preapproach is doing your homework before a sales call by researching your customer and planning what you are going to say.

Right questions: the questions that will uncover what your prospect needs or where opportunities exist.

Sales funnel is an illustration of the way the sales process begins with a large pool of prospects and ends with a more focused number of buyers.

Service-level agreement (SLA): a contract between a customer and a service provider that sets out the frequency, length of time, and expectations for providing the service.

Specific benefit statement: highlights the benefits of your solution or opportunity and identifies the way a solution addresses a prospect’s particular situation and needs.

Synergy: the working together of two or more things (companies, services, technology, ideas) that produces a greater effect than any one of those things could produce alone.


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