Is “ABC (Always Be Closing)” really the perfect sales process? Or what about 1, 2, 3? How many steps to a perfect sale? The short answer is the number that moves a buyer to a customer the quickest.
The sales process you use is dependent on the training program you completed and the CRM system that you currently utilize but there are some questions you should ask yourself.
As Frank Cespedes and Tiffani Bova pointed out in a recent Harvard Business Review article, we have framed the buying process for a century in terms of moving a prospect from Awareness to Interest to Desire to Action (AIDA). This model and its variants are the basis for sales funnels in many companies today. However, whether your selling approach is offline, online or both, it’s important to understand that the landscape is rapidly changing and the AIDA sales model, in its present form, may no longer be applicable for your business.
The typical sales funnel process starts with a lead for a “suspect”, that becomes a “prospect” after qualification, and then a customer (or not) through a series of steps that are measured and managed – i.e. pipeline metrics. In each step, the sales person is expected to perform a series of sequential tasks in order to complete the sale. However, Gartner research indicates a very different buying reality today.
Rather than moving sequentially through the sales funnel process, buyers actually work through four parallel streams to make a purchase decision – explore, evaluate, engage and experience. Given this you could argue that “4” is the magic number of steps to a perfect sale, right? Not so fast. I think it’s important to take note of the fact that the sales dynamic is different for virtually every sales situation.
It has more to do with understanding the customer’s buying center, requirements, budget (and who else is competing for those dollars), time frames, et.al. These factors can be fluid and vary by industry, market segment and individual customer.
Do you think Jordan Spieth is focused on the ‘Six Steps to the Perfect Golf Swing’ when he’s on the tee box? Of course not! He is focused on driving that white ball 350+ yards down the fairway toward the pin and winning the tournament. The same holds true with a perfect sale.
Aligning buying and selling is an ever-changing process. Whether there are 4, 5, 7, 9 or 11 steps to a perfect sale, the ‘net-net’ is to focus on the end game. When you are in front of customers it’s not about the steps to a perfect sale, it’s about understanding the need, building profitable relationships, and delivering value and results! This is what will ultimately lead to your future success. Are you a sales rockstar? Take my quiz and find out.
How do you get to your perfect sale? How many steps does it take you?