If you’ve been following my journey on Medium recently, you’ll be aware that I’m investing a lot of time in learning how to sell — and in particular, how to sell myself. As The Marketeer, I know I can market any business and product, ultimately leading to new customers. But as I step into self employment, I face a learning curve to actually sell myself.
As part of this research I’ve come across what is essentially a road map of making any sale. In covers the entire journey from start to finish, but also allows the process to restart with that same customer — going in a circle, hence The Circle Of A Sale.
Sure every sale will be slightly different, but having a rough road map of the journey we need to take to transform a lead or prospect into a paying customer can be extremely useful. So, I’d thought I’d share it with you all and I hope you find it as useful as I have!
The Power Of One
Before I dive into the circle of sale — and the 12 steps inside of it, it’s important to note something. Every potential new customer should be treated as they’re your only one. If you could only have the one customer to run your business, what would you do to get it?
You’d give it your all, you’d prepare in massive detail and leave nothing to chance. And that’s what you need to do — for every single potential customer. Even if they’re just one in one hundred you’re planning to get this year, treat them like your only one.
Step 1 in the Circle of Sale is building the groundwork. Getting a small amount of information about the prospect. This will essentially come from any marketing you do to determine who is most interested in what you offer. This information will be the basis of your first conversation.
2. Build Rapport & Fact Find
With the groundwork set and the first conversation happening, you want to achieve two things. Firstly, build rapport with the prospect. Get to know them, get a feel of them. But only let them get to know you. A prospect won’t buy from you if they don’t know you.
Secondly, fact find — get as much information about the prospect as possible. What is their job, have they a family, any hobbies, what do they enjoy and so on. The more the better
3. Reason Why
After you get to know them well, you need to now establish their goals and reasons why — why are they considering working with you. At this stage however don’t discuss the products and services. Only the ultimate results or the “afters” of what you do for customers.
You will have to really work with the prospect to get them to realise their reasons why and for many their first reason why may not be strong enough. Their reasons need to be so strong that they will do what it takes (work with you) to achieve them. One example may be financial freedom and security for their family.
You also need to establish a deadline with them — when do they want their goal(s) achieved.
4. The Great Divide
When discussing their goals and reasons why, a clear gap will appear. This is a gap between where that prospect is TODAY, and where they want to be in the FUTURE.
It’s important that you help the prospect recognise and acknowledge this great divide, and whilst it’s good they have a goal in place they need an action plan to implement it. Taking action is crucial!
5. Just Like Frank!
You no doubt recognise the importance of testimonials when marketing and selling your business. Being able to demonstrate the results you achieve for clients is integral to attracting and winning new business.
But using Just Like Franks is a next step to that. In essence what you will have if your business has been around a while is a number of happy customers. They will have all achieved similar successful results thanks to your services.
However they will have had different goals, different situations, different reasons why. If you really think about it, you’ll likely have half a dozen (if not more) different groups of customers — each with their own goals, situations, reasons why.
With them established, you can then relate these to your prospect. This will be easy as you’ve already identified their goals, reasons why etc — you just need to match it up with a customer who was very similar that you’ve helped in the past.
In effect your conversation will go something like this;
“So I understand you want to achieve X, Y and Z — and your reasons why are A, B and C. This is just like Frank (insert customer name), who we helped achieve XYZ.”
This takes the power of testimonials to a whole new level — allowing you to directly relate to your prospect.
6. Givers Gain
Next is a part that can be added in at any point during the circle, but here is just as good as any other part. You know the saying, Givers Gain, and it’s true.
During speaking and working with the prospect, offer them to freebies that are valuable and directly relate to their goals. This could be small value things you usually sell but will give for free for warm prospects, or other things such as lead magnets you use to attract people anyway.
The goal is to get the prospect to really like you and feel valued themselves. This will pay dividends in the long run as you gain as the giver!
7. Products & Services
It’s very important not to do this step until you have 100% clarified the prospects goals and reasons why.
When ready, you can then discuss how your product/service can help them meet their goals. Why this has to wait until now is you have to make the product/service fit them — not them fit your product/service.
Failing to do this means even if you make the sale, a customer is likely to cancel/refund later down the line. Only sell if you know you can help the prospect achieve what they want. Otherwise it’s just not worth the time and effort.
8. Moving Forward
With the product/service established as the way to fulfil their goals, the next step is to establish exactly that — next steps. This part really depends on what you sell, the processes involved, any pre-requisites to purchase and so on.
Separate to the next steps, there will undoubtedly be dreads that will appear — these are dreads that the prospect has about buying your product/service. They’ll have concerns, queries, hesitations.
Most dreads can be easily anticipated and prepared for well in advance, allowing them to be squashed easily. It’s importantly to note that hesitations, objections, dreads etc. are not a bad thing!
In fact, these are seeing as a strong buying signal — as in they want to, but they want to run through a few things. Don’t let this panic you, be prepared for them and deal with them.
As we near the end of the 12-steps, it’s important to close the sale! This is where you ask if you can proceed and process their order. At this stage there should be no further hesitations and up to this point you’ve identified their goals and established the way for them to achieve these (your product.
So the close should come naturally. But human nature is unpredictable, and prospects may want more time to think about it, check with a partner etc. It’s important to understand this but also emphasise the need for action — and agree to call them that week to finalise things.
If at any point a prospect seems like they’re going to back out, restart the circle again.
Ok, this is easily the most boring part of the circle. Admin covers everything that needs to be done to process the order — and also includes ensuring the money is received — which I suppose makes it not that boring after all!
A smooth handover is essential at this stage to the team who will be delivering on the product/service. They need to know the now customer as well as you. But your work here doesn’t end. Always keep in contact with the customer, check everything is all good for them and if there is anything you can assist with.
This is important as inevitable bumps in the road happens — and gives you a chance to keep the customer on board, and your commission/money in your pocket.
12. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
Last but far from least, step 12 of the Circle Of A Sale is getting referrals from the happy customer. Referrals in itself is a huge thing to talk about, so i’ll dedicate a future post just to them.
But in short, you’ll be able to leverage how happy the customer is, how indebted they feel to you and your business for helping them on their journey, that they’ll be happy and even obliged to refer others.
What makes Referrals so powerful is the fact that humans hang around with and associate with people just like them. So customers are bound to know others who you can help, as they’ll have similar goals and reasons why.
I hope this has been a helpful insight into the journey of a sale — from start to finish. I’m personally implementing this myself, and it’s very effective.