buying and selling

The Buying and Selling Process

To be successful in sales, we must understand the sales process. We also need to be aware that there is a buying process taking place at the same time. This article will guide you through the stages you need to understand to ensure effectiveness in sales.

Understanding What Happens When People Are Buying and Selling

During any sales process, there are a number of things the seller must do before the sale can take place. The salesperson will be more effective if they are also mindful that the buyer has their own set of objectives they are trying to meet during the whole process.

The Sales Process

The sales process is effectively a problem-solving process that takes part in four stages:

Stage 1

The salesperson identifies a problem or needs faced by the buyer, that could be solved by the product or solution they are selling. A process of questioning and listening exposes these problems/needs.

Stage 2 The problem is made clear in the buyer’s mind so that it becomes an immediate problem and something that needs to be solved.
Stage 3

The salesperson then presents a solution to the buyer that highlights the features and benefits of the product or service.

Stage 4 Having created an element of DESIRE to purchase a product or service, the salesperson gains the commitment of the buyer to go ahead with the purchase. The sale is then complete.

The whole process can take place over a long period of time and very often requires more than one meeting. It is essential that the buyer sees the purchase as a means of solving a problem. To ensure this happens and before we start to talk about products or solutions, the salesperson needs to accurately fact find by asking the right type of questions and listening effectively.

It is often thought that salespeople talk too much and fail to listen effectively during sales meetings. By improving just their questioning technique, a salesperson will become more effective and establish a greater rapport with existing and potential clients.

The Buying Process

Too much time is spent focusing on products and services and not enough time thinking about the client. By putting ourselves in the client’s shoes, we can begin to understand their problems and add credible value to the sale by being seen as effective problem solvers rather than ‘just another salesperson!’ Here are some general principles:

1. People buy for their own reasons: We assume we know why people will want to buy our products and services. Much time is spent identifying technical or financial reasons why people should buy something. However, sometimes people buy for emotional reasons that can be much less logical.

2. People are not concerned about us or our problems. Usually, a buyer will make a decision to buy based on their own requirements. The buying decision is therefore often based on emotion rather than logic, so this emphasises the importance of truly understanding the buyer’s needs and requirements.

3. People don’t buy products or services: Product and services are important but are not necessarily the reason people will make a decision to buy. Buyers want to know what the product and services will do for THEM and how they will be of benefit to them.

4. People resent and resist high-pressure sales techniques: The very mention of the phrase ‘high-pressure sales’ can cause offence to many people. It conjures up the image of door to door salesmen and can be inefficient, unpleasant and does not encourage referrals or repeat business.
A low pressure, consultative approach is by far the most successful. However, it is not necessarily an easy option – the consultative sale requires a high degree of skill and application.

By understanding the problems of the people we sell to and by actively searching for ways of solving those problems, we can become more successful in sales. The most effective selling technique is ‘making it easy for the other person to buy’.

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