I work with many business owners who have streamlined systems and processes for operations and customer service but have not put a sales process in place. A simple sales process that garners results is READ.
R – Relate. Since we typically do business with people we know, like, and trust, it’s important to take the time to get to know your prospect. Find some common ground. Do you share the same alma mater? Are you both runners? How about mutual friends in the same industry? It’s important to establish some rapport when getting to know someone and building a business relationship.
E – Establish a Need. The old-school sales approach is to thrust all of your products on an unsuspecting person who happens to speak with you at a networking event or agrees to a meeting. Not only is this ineffective, it’s also not enjoyable to be on the receiving end! Instead, ask questions (open-ended questions) to learn more about the issues your prospect is facing. When you fully understand the problems they want to solve, you can move on to the next step.
A – Advance a Tailored Solution. Now that you have asked questions and listened to the special considerations the prospect has shared, you can advance a tailored solution specifically crafted to meet their needs. Make sure this is a solution that works for them – not just something that makes a great sale for you!
D – Develop a Commitment. After presenting your solution or extending your offer, it’s important to agree on a follow-up action. It may be a signed contract, but before progressing to that point, there may be more steps to develop along the way. A common mistake I see in a sales conversation is to advance a solution and leave it open for a “wait and see.” Instead of “let me know if you would like to work together,” or “email me with any questions,” go ahead and get agreement for a next step. If it’s too early for a signed agreement, develop smaller commitments along the way. Set up a follow up phone call or the date to meet with the decision-making body. A great question to ask is, “what is the next step?” Get agreement, develop that commitment, and put the next step on everyone’s calendar!
The READ process is not necessarily a linear process where you fully complete one step before moving on to the next. For example, be sure to Relate throughout the process and at the beginning of each new interaction. You will likely move back and forth through the steps at various times during the process of turning a prospect into a client. Working these steps can simplify your sales prospecting and help you stay on track!
Kim Ellet is a certified professional coach and owner of The Growth Coach of Metro Atlanta. She finds joy in helping successful leaders committed to continuous improvement, be more of who they are, dream bigger dreams, and accomplish more than they realized was possible. www.TheGrowthCoachATL.com