You never know what direction conversations will go with a prospect and what steps you will have to go through between the first interaction and either a closed deal or a closed file. But even though each prospect is unique, you can take your prospects through a structured set of sales process steps and here are the three steps that we think work with just about any product and any prospect:
Step 1 – Initial Contact
Step 2 – Meeting
Step 3 – Presentation
The first sales process step is the Initial Contact. This is basically the first time that you interact with the prospect, and this can take place in any of the following formats:
- Cold call: You are talking to the prospect on a cold call.
- Inbound call: The prospect calls you or your company by either finding you on the internet or being referred to you.
- Cold email: You send a cold email to a prospect, and the prospect replies.
- Inbound email: The prospect contacts you through your website or sends you an email, and you reply to the email.
- Website chat: The prospect contacts your company through a website chat tool.
- Social media: You communicate with a prospect through a social media platform.
- Networking: You meet and talk with the prospect during a networking event.
I give you this list of types of events so you can see that the Initial Contact step of the sales process is simply the first time that you interact with a prospect, and it can occur in a lot of different ways.
The second step in the sales process is the Meeting. This is simply progressing from the very short exchange during the Initial Contact to having a longer and more established conversation. The Meeting step can be in the form of any of the following:
- Appointment: You schedule an appointment with a prospect, and that could either be in person, on the phone, or in an online setting.
- Meet for coffee, drink, or meal: You meet with the prospect at a neutral location.
- Extended cold call: You can transition to the Meeting during a cold call and meet over the phone.
- Meet at event: If you meet a prospect at an event, you can progress to the Meeting sales step at that same event.
I give you this list to demonstrate that once you transition to a longer and more established conversation, you are progressing to the Meeting step of the sales process. The more you are aware of this transition, the more able you will be to focus on the goals and objectives for that particular step in the sales process.
The third step in the sales process is the Presentation, and this is where you will go into more detail on what you have to offer the prospect. For many situations, this may be an actual presentation of slides and possibly a demonstration of the product. But there are also many products where there is not much to show or demonstrate, and this step could simply be presenting a proposal, quotation, or list of options.
We hope this gives you some ideas for how to organize your sales process!