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Sales Eye - The sales cycle continued from WBJ No. 11 March 1-7, 2004 (March 29th, 2004)



The sales cycle continued from WBJ No. 11 March 1-7, 2004

29th March 2004


The sales cycle is a mystery for many salespeople. They realize that a lot of work has to be done before a sale can be made, but they are not sure if or when the sale is going to happen.


This is because they focus too much on their own activities instead of focusing on the client and the client's decision-making process. When creating a sales cycle or an exact procedure for following up on every sales opportunity, you double your chances of success. Utilizing the steps in the process allows for the absence of ambiguity and may also help speed up the process of closing a sale. Having a clear path and identifying the right questions to ask will ensure that vital information is not missed and that no sales are lost later down the road. This is part two of our discussion on the Sales Cycle.


Last time, we highlighted the initial steps in the sales cycle, such as Prospecting and Lead Generation, as well as Relationship Building and Information Gathering. This ten step approach to 'direct selling' has been proven effective. It works! Why do you think the girl behind the counter at McDonald's always asks if you would like XXL size (only for an extra 2 zlotys?). They do this, because people say yes more than half the time. OK, so maybe it's not fries you're selling but, say, Fighter Planes to the Polish Government, and maybe the process is much longer and more complex, but you still have to go through a sales cycle to get the order signed.


Step 6) Sell the Company and the Initial Offer

In this step, you will need to supply your prospect with enough information to make a positive decision. Is your company reliable, can you deliver on time? Many times in this stage, you may be asked to make a presentation or prepare a proposal in writing. Don't just quote prices over the phone or by email. Take the time to make your offer appear professional and include client testimonials to bolster your claim.


Step 7) Overcome Objections/Satisfy the Needs

Now we get into the negotiation phase. Lucky number 7 is the time to start discussing features and benefits and describe how your product or service is a perfect match for what they need. You should outline the positive aspects of your offer and be able to answer the unspoken question, 'why should I buy from you?' Like we have said before, there are no new objections. If you don't have a fluent, convincing answer for every objection your client throws at you, then you need to do your homework. Very simply, start making a list of all the objections that you typically receive and then think about and rehearse your answers to these situations. Role playing is encouraged.


Step 8) Close the Sale

Ask for the sale. Don't be shy - now is not the time to leave the meeting and let them tell you they will get back to you next week. You went through the entire cyle, you answered their objections, discussed price - so the next logical step is to get the order. 'Have them sign on the dotted line!' Top performers realize that closing the sale is no more difficult than any other step in the sales cycle, it is just a natural step in the process.


Step 9) Program Initiation - Fulfill the Order

You don't spend all this time on the process only to abandon ship once the order is signed. We recommend staying involved and knowing the vital details of the actual delivery of your service. Repeat business is the goal, and if you can't deliver what you promised, you can forget about it. Too many times after the order is signed, the sale is turned over to someone in-house, who does not have the customer-savvy approach that you do. Make sure you are available to your client if they have any questions or problems.


Step 10) Post Sale Follow-Up

Were they happy? Is there anything they would like changed for next time? Maybe it was so well-received that they have an immediate next order. Following up directly after a sale will help cement the notion that you are a reliable partner and care about them, and not just your commission. Finally, backing up the sales cycle with good written communication should speed up the process. Especially when you work in a team atmosphere, having good notes after each step reduces the chances of a 'big misunderstanding.' We have noticed that many people here don't take notes during meetings. Like a waiter who doesn't write down your order, you are increasing the chances of missing important information and screwing up the details of the order (that was ice and no lemon, not lemon and no ice!).


Many times people are too busy to remember important pieces of the puzzle, so by summarizing the key points and identifying the next steps it not only makes you appear more reliable and professional - it helps you reinforce your selling message. Sales is what drives every business, and by incorporating a clear sales cycle for your product or service you can increase your chances of success.


Whether your cycle takes days, weeks or months, the process is basically the same. If you are considering a loyalty program for your company, we encourage you to take part in the fourth annual ECU Marketing seminar on Loyalty Programs on April 1-2 in Kraków.


We will be presenting more of our views during the conference, so we look forward to meeting many of our readers there. Write to us at for more information.




From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"