This new sales process will work to shorten your time spent with clients and increase your sales at the same time.
The art and science behind relationship selling and consultative sales is all about getting to know your clients and earning their trust. Consultative sales can be time-consuming and ineffective if the client is not engaged and overwhelmed by all the personal questions of getting to know them.
I’ve been in sales for about 15 years and tried a few different versions of consultative selling, and although it can be effective, it often is overkill because of the pre-determined questions that need to be asked. The process can be a bit over the top, cheesy and lacks efficiency at times.
My new approach to sales is something I’ve been working on for a while now, and after seeing positive results month-over-month, I’m ready to publish and release it for all to see.
The LAAP approach is like relationship selling, however, it’s designed and intended for use with today’s highly educated, well-informed and time restricted customer.
Relationship sales has its place in the sales cycle, but we must recognize that things are moving a lot faster now than ever before.
In today’s economy, customers are ditching websites after 4 seconds if the site doesn’t load fast enough, and with car buying, and grocery shopping going mobile, along with many more short-cuts in purchasing behaviors, the business model has become simple; it’s adapt or die.
The reason why I’m addressing this issue is because as a sales and marketing professional, I understand that if your business is going to grow as planned, then we must focus on closing the gap for good on customer acquisition and customer retention.
So, how do we bridge the gap and increase sales? By using the new LAAP sales process that’s how! Below is a brief overview and a few examples of how this new sales cycle can work for you.
- We must take a sincere interest in learning about our customers.
In the learning phase we should be asking open-ended questions that’ll allow the customer an opportunity to open and share their thoughts, ideas, plans, past experiences and hopes for the future. This process can be as in-depth as the client would like it to be.
A great question to ask your client is “please share with me what you really liked about (fill in the blank ) and why?” By asking this type of question, you’ll get a sneak peek behind their buying motive and what makes them tick.
Keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so just like Rome, take your time on building the relationship well beyond your first interaction, and don’t try to cram all your questions into one sitting. Keep it simple.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so just like Rome, take your time on building the relationship
The key to the learning process is to listen and engage with your clients. Once you get a grasp on what the client is looking for in a company, product or service, then go ahead and engage them in the next phase of the process.
In other words, start moving them into the closing phase and begin to share with them about how you’d like to recommend your service to fit one or multiple needs. This is not a hard sell, but a simple hint at what’s to come.
It’s wise to not loiter in the learning process, because after talking for a long period of time, the client will expect to hear your options and pricing. Keep in mind that not everyone has extended breaks or lunches, so, listen, engage – then move on.
- According to Dictionary.com the definition of adopt is: To accept or act in accordance with (a plan, principle, etc.)
So, what we need to do is to take account of what we’ve learned about our client including their past, present and future – and integrate it into our action plan.
We must take immediate action and facilitate a plan that’ll get them where they want to go. This step is a very simple, yet people tend to over complicate it.
Learn to filter the information that you’ve been gathering about the client and funnel it into a well-tailored plan. Sales is more about match making, than it is about features and benefits.
Once you identified your best available options for the client, then go ahead and hit them with your best shot or recommendations. This is the part where you’ll start to hear some objections or some sort of hesitation from the client on why buying what you’re selling isn’t just the right time or fit, which leads me to adapt.
- The definition of Adapt is: To adjust or modify fittingly. (Dictionary.com)
Overcoming objections is something that you must learn to conquer. This is what separates mediocracy from greatness. Most people in a sales role can hold their own by playing the numbers, but only a those that are willing to go the extra mile become highly successful.
When we adapt to the customer’s tone, concerns, or hesitations, we are adjusting our approach to accommodate them, and help them feel comfortable about making their buying decision.
We must become like water in a river, always adjusting to whatever lies in its path and creating a new channel for it to move through.
Much like the water, we must do all we can to adjust our approach and recommendations to find the best solution to fit the client’s needs. Sales in general should be more about customizing than it is about fitting a client into a cookie cutter mold. And now that we’ve overcome the objections, it’s time to get down to brass tacks.
In the last stage of the LAAP process, we’re going to re-affirm our appreciation by thanking the client for their time and giving you the opportunity to earn their business. We’ll smoothly transition from questions, facts, data, and stories to ushering the client straight into the buying phase.
Now, this can sound as easy as “Hey, thanks again for visiting our store today, we appreciate it.” Followed by “So, it sounds like we have a decision to make?” “Again, my recommendation for you is option (A) simply based on our discussion and your unique needs, however, it’s your call.”
You may also try asking a simple and blunt question like “Which one do you prefer?” These questions are a few examples of what and how your conversation may sound like in real-time but it’s up to you to determine your verbiage, tone and cadence that fits your personality.
When we move into the Provide section of LAAP we can’t afford to sit and chill and allow the customer’s hesitation to grow stronger and lead them to second guess you. In the closing phase of the process, we must be swift, professional and confident. Work to close the deal and move on.
If you’re brand new to the sales world, give yourself some time to find your own style and groove. People love personality, and love when that personality shines. However, even the most charismatic must learn to overcome objections and learn to earn the business by earning the trust of their clients.
People love personality, and love when that personality shines. However, even the most charismatic must learn to overcome objections.
Your comments, thoughts and ideas on this piece are appreciated.
Thanks and God bless!