How to Complete the Selling Process in 7 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sales typically involves identifying potential buyers and offering them products or services to aid business growth. If you're a sales professional, consider exploring the sales process. Understanding the different types of sales and how to complete the process can help you reach more prospects, generate more sales, and advance your career. In this article, we explain the selling process, describe how to complete it, outline the types of sales, and provide an example of the process.

What is the selling process?

The selling process is a series of steps a seller follows to sell a product or service. It's a complete cycle, starting from finding prospective customers or clients to closing sales deals with them. Many businesses repeat the process to improve business performance and ensure consistent profitability. The sales process is more relevant in B2B sales, where it takes longer to complete the sales cycle compared to B2C sales, where the process is significantly shorter.

Related: What Is Personal Selling? Benefits, Techniques, and Tips

How to complete the selling process in 7 steps

Here's a list of steps you can follow to complete a sales process successfully:

1. Find prospects

The first step entails finding and qualifying potential customers for your products or service. The qualifying process involves determining whether a prospective customer has needs the company can satisfy and whether they can afford the offering. Consider conducting significant research at this stage to identify ideal customers. During your research, compile a list of prospects or leads based on your criteria. You can create a criteria list to get more productive results and target your ideal buyers. Consider screening prospects by assessing their occupation and average income to ensure affordable pricing.

Related: What Is Prospecting? (Definition, Techniques, and Steps)

2. Prepare to meet with them

Before meeting your prospects, you can prepare by gathering relevant information and understanding their wants and needs. You can study and collect information, such as product prices, descriptions, specific sales dates, and market competition. This step involves making all necessary preparations to make initial contact with the prospects. You can also schedule your initial sales presentation here. Prepare to answer possible prospects' questions with supporting records. Consider practising your pitch and rehearsing your responses with family or colleagues to gain confidence.

3. Approach prospects

This is the stage you make initial contact with the prospects. You can interact with potential buyers or clients by organizing a meeting to establish rapport. There are different ways to approach prospects, including:

  • Premium approach: Here, you can offer your prospective customer a gift, such as a pen, novelty item, or company calendar at the start of the interaction.

  • Question approach: This approach allows you to ask the prospect questions that can help them develop an interest in your offer. For example, a question like "Would you like to get a 10% monthly return on an investment?" can help initiate an interaction with a prospect.

  • Product approach: With this approach, you can give prospective buyers samples of your products to experience the benefits before investing. This often helps them interact with the business more readily and affirm confidence in what you're selling.

Related: How to Use the Soft-Sell Approach to Increase Sales

4. Present the product or service

Here, you can present your product or service and explain how it can provide value for prospective customers. The presentation stage involves actively listening to prospects' needs and wants and demonstrating how your proposed product or service satisfies them. Try to focus on personalizing the offering to prospective customers and present it as the most effective solution to their challenges. You can include a video clip, tour, product demonstration, or other visual or practical experience in your presentation.

Related: Steps on Creating an Effective Presentation for Sales

5. Clarify objections

After presenting your products or services, you can receive comments, feedback, and questions from the customers. This stage allows you to clarify doubts and concerns about purchasing the offering by answering questions effectively. Objections can be helpful as they let you realize areas requiring improvement and effectively address prospects' concerns. They also help you collect valuable information that can help convert prospects to returning customers. By adequately researching and preparing, you can have the knowledge and resources to clarify prospects' objections.

Consider actively listening to prospects' concerns and asking questions to understand their objections when necessary. You can then reform your sales pitch to address them. For example, suppose a customer decides they can't make a purchase or investment until the following month. In that case, you can offer them promotions or incentives if they buy the product within a specific time frame. When managing objections, you can restate the value the prospect may lose if they don't make the purchase.

6. Close the sale

After convincing prospects that your product or service can satisfy their needs, you can close the sale. This step involves asking them to place an order for their desired product. Closing a sales deal can entail creating a proposal, negotiating terms and costs, signing the contract, and completing monetary transactions. Before closing the sale, ensure the buyer understands all sales terms and agreements, such as refund policies, customer guarantee duration, or ongoing membership billings or promotions.

In this step, you may also use upselling strategies, like offering upgrades, a higher version of the product, or additional products to complement their purchase. It's good practice to always thank customers after closing a deal and ensure you can engage them in future business interactions.

Related: Understanding Cross-Selling vs. Upselling Differences

7. Follow up with the buyer

Following up with the buyer after closing the sale is essential, as it helps foster positive long-term business relationships. It also improves customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. This step focuses on nurturing the existing customer relationship rather than making a sale. You can follow up by sending the buyer a thank-you note or calling to ask about their experiences with the product or service.

You may also ask them to rate it or post a review on your business pages or social media platforms. Completing this step successfully can help you increase sales, customer referrals, and positive reviews that attract new customers to your products or services.

Types of sales

Consider understanding the different types of sales to improve your use of the sale process when approaching prospective customers. Here are the major types of sales in business:

B2B sales

Business-to-business sales or B2B sales are transactions involving selling products or services to other buyers. Professionals in B2B sales often work with a buyer with experience in completing sales processes. Because B2B sales involve multiple parties, it's often more complex and takes longer to close than B2C sales. It also involves a significant amount of revenue and focuses on long-term business relationships rather than one-time transactions. Here are the three main types of B2B sales:

  • Supply sales: Businesses sell supplies to other businesses to ensure continuous operations. For example, a clothing manufacturing company can supply fabrics to fashion designer stores.

  • Service sales: This involves businesses selling services needed for other companies' operations. For example, a marketing agency can work with businesses to increase their online visibility and conversion rates.

  • Distribution sales: Wholesale businesses sell products to distributors, who then sell to consumers. For example, a food production company can distribute units of food items to retail businesses that trade in smaller amounts to consumers.

B2C sales

Unlike B2B sales, B2C sales are transactions involving selling products or services to consumers directly. Another significant difference is that B2C sales focus more on brand and prices, while B2B focuses on negotiations, logistics, and buyer-seller relationships. In B2C sales, the seller may not be the product developer, and the prospects make purchases soon after approaching them. An example of a B2C sale is an insurance salesperson selling insurance policies to individuals.

B2B2C sales

B2B2C sales mean business-to-business-to-consumer sales. It's a business model where businesses access customers through a third party. These sales transactions often involve the primary brand, a middleman, and the customer. The intermediary business provides a more direct service to consumers, creating mutual benefit for both businesses. For example, pharmaceutical companies sell their products to health care professionals who then directly prescribe them to consumers.

Read more: What Is the B2B2C Model? (With Its Importance and Uses)

Example of a sales process

You can review this example of a new business following the seven-step sales process to understand it better:

GlowFit is a gym offering fitness services in the city. To complete the sales process, the gym owner first searches for prospects who need access to a gym with facilities and can afford the fees. Next, they prepare to meet prospective customers by researching their specific fitness needs and assessing competitors in the area. After adequate preparation, the business approaches prospects by marketing the brand through flyers, fitness magazines, and video presentations to encourage prospects to make a call or visit the gym.

They present the gym equipment as solutions designed to cater to prospects' needs. The presentation also demonstrates how the facilities, instructors, and amenities differ from competitors. After the presentation, they clarify all prospects' objections and queries regarding the available prices, equipment, and trainers. Once a prospect is happy with the solution and willing to join by making payment, they close the sale. They also follow up to ensure customers keep visiting the gym, improving customer engagement and retention.

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