The stages of the sale: understanding and mastering the BtoB sales cycle

the stages of the sale

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Are you struggling to convert your btob prospects into customers? Your turnover is no longer progressing and your salespeople are no longer as successful? Analyzing and understanding the sales process is essential to choose the right arguments and excel in sales prospecting! Here are the 7 steps to selling :

  1. Preparation and understanding of the client’s needs;
  2. Making contact ;
  3. The argument;
  4. Handling objections;
  5. The negotiation phase;
  6. The conclusion of the sale;
  7. Taking leave.

Proinfluent dissects these 7 steps, to help you improve your performance and make your professional meetings a success!

The stages of the sale: understanding and mastering the BtoB sales cycle

What are the 7 stages of the sale?

1. Preparation and understanding of the client’s needs

Before meeting your prospect, you must of course collect information about him. The goal is above all to understand with precision, the expectations and the real needs of the customer. It is therefore impossible to go to your appointment without having conducted your own research beforehand!

the stages of the sale

It is about knowing how to answer many questions, preferably open ones. For this, using the “QQOCQP” method is relevant. This acronym stands for “Who, What, Where, How, Which, Why?” “. This questioning makes it possible to identify your customer and adopt the most suitable commercial approach to hit the mark.

For example, try to understand:

  • What are his reasons for buying?
  • Why does he use your services?
  • What needs is it trying to meet?
  • How does he usually deal with sales people?

However, do not make the mistake of asking only about your interlocutor! Also find out about his company and the people who make the decisions! Indeed, your interlocutor is perhaps not the only decision-maker within the site and sometimes it is necessary to convince several people during an interview.

So don’t hesitate to collect as much data as possible, in order to be fully ready on D-Day. By identifying your client’s main need, you know what strategy to put in place to aim for the right target and provide him with the help he needs. requires.

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2. Making contact

As its name suggests, making contact consists of breaking the ice with your client and explaining your approach to them. It is a question of making a good impression so that the interview evolves in the best conditions. Your client meets you or exchanges with you for the first time! So show him that, in your company, each customer is considered a trusted partner and meeting his needs is your priority.

For this second stage of the sales cycle , put the odds on your side to prove to him that you are the expert he needs to promote and develop his business.

To do this, make sure you are punctual, wear appropriate clothing for the situation and put your client at ease. He must feel that you and your company have particular expertise and know-how.

Precisely, if you follow the 7 sales steps in order and you collect data upstream, you show your target that you are really interested in their problem and that you are looking for a solution to their problem. Concretely, you show yourself concerned by his situation and it is a method that greatly appeals to leads, regardless of their customer profile.

It’s proven, the first seconds are decisive to make a good impression! In addition to your outfit and your facial expression, the way you speak, hold yourself, your gestures and your voice also allow your client to decide whether or not they want to create a relationship of trust with you!

Nevertheless, do not put pressure on the elements that you cannot change and which are part of you! Instead, try to focus on other points such as your ease in expressing yourself and your overall behavior (smiling, cold, warm, etc.).

3. Argument

During this third stage of sales, you expose your commercial arguments in order to demonstrate that your service, your product, is the tool it needs to gain growth and increase its income. You have collected valuable data on your client upstream and this allows you to anticipate objections, but also to understand what arguments need to be made to convince.

The basis of the argument is not to deliver a monologue, but to leave room for a fair dialogue, where everyone can present their point of view on the question.

the stages of the sale

It is wise to use the CAP SONCAS method, in order to understand what your customer’s profile is and to argue in this direction. Indeed, the content of your pitch must absolutely be adapted and personalized to each client. Knowing your target also allows you to know which sales techniques to adopt to carry out your professional interview.

When you argue, the goal is not to come up with 10 arguments at once or to want to convince your client at all costs that he must make the sale! This is a delicate step in which you prove to him that you are able to help him, that you are genuinely interested in his business and his needs. In btob, trust is an essential criterion for establishing a professional relationship on a good basis. Show him that you are a reliable, available and involved salesperson!

4. Handling objections

Generally, objections are perceived as obstacles and can even destabilize salespeople. However, a prospect who objects is an interested prospect! Indeed, he seeks to know if it is possible to find a solution, a compromise, in order to adhere to your service.

For this fourth stage of the sale, let your prospect speak! Do not seek to respond to his blocking points until he has finished expressing himself! In addition, practicing active listening allows you to show the client that you fully understand his blockages and that you take them into consideration.

For example, do not hesitate to rephrase their sentences and ask questions to deepen and better understand the real fear of the prospect. Then, it is a question of reassuring him, by showing him the experience of your company and by showing him customer testimonials.

Overall, remember that an objection is a concern, a fear expressed by your client. As a sales representative, your role is to understand it and appease it by reassuring the customer thanks to supports or well-founded statements!

It is not a question of inventing things to satisfy him, but of exploiting existing resources. In addition, blocking points may remain, but thanks to negotiations, you may find a compromise.

5. The negotiation phase

There are many negotiation techniques that can achieve your goals. However, in btob, keep in mind that the best way to close a sale is to find a win-win deal! The goal is that each party is satisfied and appreciates the collaboration.

the stages of the sale

The price is an element that comes up regularly in negotiations. Thus, it is advisable to set a price below which you should not go.

To offer a lower price, for example, offer a limited time offer or a bundle sale. Or justify this price by the irreproachable quality of your articles and an irreproachable personalized service.

Discover soon the 3 pillars of commercial sales to boost your sales!

6. The conclusion of the sale

This penultimate stage of the sale is called the closing . It is simply a matter of finalizing the sale, signing the contract or proceeding with the transaction. Thus, it is necessary to make your client understand that the appointment is coming to an end, and that it is time to make a decision.

If you feel that customers are undecided despite your arguments and the handling of their objections, there is an effective strategy: try and buy. This technique consists of having the items tried on for a limited period of time before selling them. Thus, each person conducts their own experience and forms an opinion on the service, the product such as software for example. The advantage is that once the company uses your product regularly and integrates it into its daily tasks, it becomes difficult to do without it! It’s a formidable way to prove the effectiveness and potential of your service, your product.

Several closing techniques are possible, moreover if you want to discover our 7 expert methods to conclude your btob sales, it’s here !

If your customers are seduced, it’s time to close the sale! If, on the contrary, your prospecting process cannot succeed, because the motivations for purchases and the needs of your customers do not correspond to your offer, do not go any further and politely take your leave!

7. Taking leave

When taking leave, apply the 4 Rs method:

  • To reassure ;
  • Thank ;
  • Accompany;
  • See again.
the stages of the sale

This last point is particularly important! To maintain the trust that was established during your interview, don’t forget to call your clients regularly! Ask them, for example, if everything is going well with the new product. If not, offer them to form their teams.

In btob, maintaining a relationship of trust with your customers is essential! Its latter do not simply seek to acquire your product, but to create a privileged relationship with the seller.

The 3 pillars of commercial sales

1. Product knowledge

When you carry out commercial prospecting, it is essential to know your product or service by heart: the characteristics, the place and the manufacturing process and how to use it. Also anticipate common questions your leads may have, so you’re not caught off guard.

In addition, a salesperson who knows his product is much better considered and taken seriously by his potential customers. The first step in a commercial approach is therefore to acquire a great deal of knowledge about the service, the product that you are offering.

2. The salesperson’s soft skills

Soft skills are the qualities that a good salesperson must possess. Behavior is an extremely important element that positively or negatively impacts the outcome of the sale.

Thus, being smiling, listening and attentive to the verbal and non-verbal behavior of your client is necessary to put him in confidence and understand his blockages, his needs and his expectations.

What’s more, a salesperson must know how to express himself well, be empathetic and love people! Indeed, you are looking for contact with your colleagues, but also your interlocutors. You are comfortable speaking and you know how to clearly express your point of view and your arguments, for example.

The soft skills of a salesperson are his strength and also allow him to maintain a professional relationship of trust with his customers.

3. Sales techniques

Mastering sales techniques allows you to shine at every stage of the sales process. Indeed, they are ingenious and offer many advantages such as being more comfortable, better targeting leads, capturing attention or more effectively converting a prospect into a customer, for example.

the stages of the sale

The CAB method is a sales technique that consists of building an effective sales pitch. Here’s how it works:

  • Characteristic: this is what essentially defines the product. Its particularity, its primary function.
  • Advantage: Explain why your product is more effective than competitors.
  • Benefits: what are the benefits of the product? For example, saving time, boosting your sales…

Many sales techniques exist:

  • The ADAPAC method: approach, customer discovery, proposal starter, proposal, argument and conclusion.
  • The SONCAS technique: Security, pride, novelty, comfort, money, sympathy.
  • The CAP method: characteristics, advantages, evidence.
  • The SPANCO method: suspect, prospect, analysis, negotiation, conclusion, purchase offer.
  • The BEBDC technique: need, challenge, budget, deadline, decision-makers, and competitors.
  • SIMAC: situation, idea, mechanism, advantage and conclusion.
  • The SPIN method: situation, problem, involvement and need-payoff.

How to set up a standardized sales process?

A standardized sales process is the blueprint for converting a prospect into a customer. All companies must have one or more of them in order to be more efficient. To establish a standardized sales process, you need to know which methods work and which ones don’t. To do this, analyze sales over the past few months and draw up a balance sheet to identify them.

For example, you notice that social networks only bring in 3% of your customers, unlike your website, which generates dense traffic. You also notice that prospecting by telephone is not very effective, unlike emailing which brings you around ten prospects per month. So focus on what works and refine your approach.

Gradually, you know which communication media to use, which sales approach to use and which sales techniques are the most effective.

The Stages of Selling: Best Practices for Selling Over the Phone

For your telephone prospecting to lead to a sale, there are good practices to follow!

First and foremost, you need to collect and update prospect data in your prospecting files. This is essential to determine if the person may need your product. Thanks to the segmentation of the lists of prospects, you manage to identify the names of the decision makers, the sector of activity, the needs and the possible links with the competition.

the stages of the sale

Then, to succeed in your BtoB phoning , you have to work on your commercial pitch. To do this, anticipate the prospect’s fears, blockages and questions. Also, prepare a personalized and individual prospecting pitch for each one. Prospects do not want to hear an impersonal commercial speech that does not concern them.

Finally, remember to optimize all the conditions necessary for a successful call: settle in a quiet place, cut out distractions, choose the right time and remember to smile.

And finally, keep in touch and maintain a privileged relationship with each client! Also make sure that they are fully satisfied with your service and do your best to retain them.

Are you looking for a steady flow of customers? Don’t wait any longer, make an appointment with a Proinfluent consultant who will audit your business situation.

The stages of the sale, in conclusion

Knowing the steps of the sales process makes it easier to go through them one after the other until you close the sale! Here are the takeaways:
  • There are 7 main stages of the sale:
  • Preparation and understanding of the client’s needs;
  • Making contact ;
  • The argument;
  • Handling objections;
  • The negotiation phase;
  • The conclusion of the sale;
  • Taking leave.
The 3 pillars of commercial sales are:
  • product knowledge,
  • the qualities (soft skills) of a salesperson
  • and sales techniques.
To set up a standardized sales process, it is necessary to rely on previous sales, in order to understand which are the most effective ways to close a sale and, on the contrary, which ones to discard. Best practices for telephone sales are: collect, segment and update your prospect files, work on your pitch by personalizing it as much as possible to your interlocutor and keep in touch, even after the sale!

The stages of the sale, to summarize in 4 questions

What are the 7 steps of the sale?

Here are the 7 steps to selling:

  1. Preparation and understanding of the client’s needs;
  2. Making contact ;
  3. The argument;
  4. Handling objections;
  5. The negotiation phase;
  6. The conclusion of the sale;
  7. Taking leave.

This plan is to be known and mastered by each salesperson, in order to conclude sales and have customers!

What are the different stages of the sale?

There are 7 main stages of the sale:

  1. Preparation and understanding of customer needs. Upstream, you collect data on the prospect, his company, his needs, his constraints…
  2. Making contact. You are meeting or talking to your prospect for the first time. Make a good impression on him by being punctual, smiling and prepared!
  3. The argument. This is the time to explain how your software is an essential tool to meet his needs.
  4. Handling objections. Your client expresses his fears, his blockages. Practice active listening to carefully consider objections.
  5. The negotiation phase. During this step, you are looking for solutions for a win-win deal.
  6. The conclusion of the sale. The finalization of a sale has 2 possible outcomes: the customer does business with you or there are still blockages and he cannot have a deal today.
  7. Taking leave. Whether the sale is concluded or not, stay in touch with your client by leaving your business card!

At what stage of the sale should the seller reformulate?

Reformulation is a method of active listening. This applies during the 4th stage of the sale, the objection processing phase. It is thus a question of listening and understanding the blockages, the fears of your client by practicing active listening. Reformulating and asking questions also allows your interlocutor to feel understood and to show him that you feel concerned by his problems.

How to make a successful sale?

To succeed in a sale, that is to say, to sign a contract and acquire a new client, respecting the 7 stages of the sale in order is essential (preparing and understanding the client’s needs, making contact , argumentation, handling of objections, the negotiation phase, the conclusion of the sale, taking leave).

Indeed, thanks to it, you know which sales methods and techniques to apply to succeed in your interview! Much more than a sales cycle, it’s a strategy, a plan to follow to close sales and gain growth!

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