What You May Be Missing When Guiding Prospects Through the Sales Cycle
The sales cycle is a series of steps your prospect goes through before making a purchase. It starts with lead generation, discovery, qualification, pitch, follow-up, and check-in. Understanding the sales cycle is important, but understanding the potential pitfalls is also critical.
For example, you might be chasing leads or pushing prospects through your pipeline without much thought as to whether or not they are ready to buy. This can lead to wasted time and effort—and also a lot of frustration on both sides. That’s why you must look under the hood of each prospect in your pipeline and find out what they want from their buying experience before making any assumptions about their buying capacity or timeline. Let’s take a look at how to guide your prospects through the sales cycle the right way.
Guiding Prospects Through the Sales Cycle The Right Way
Educate Your Prospects
The first step is to help your prospect see that there is a problem or challenge they need to solve. This is where education comes in handy. Your prospect doesn't know what they don't know, so it's your job to educate them on the topic at hand.
The best way to guide prospects through their sales cycle is by helping them understand their challenges and showing them how your product or service can help them overcome them.
For example, let's say you're selling software and services for small businesses. You might ask questions like "What would happen if your business stopped getting new clients?" or "What would happen if you lost all of your data?" (By asking questions like this, you're helping your prospect recognize that there's a problem.) Then, once they've acknowledged that there is indeed a problem, you can take the next step: educating them about how your product solves this issue.
Be patient with your prospects.
When you're trying to close a deal, it can be tempting to take over the conversation and guide prospects through your sales process.
But this approach can backfire. When you talk too much, you risk losing control of the situation.
Prospects may be uncomfortable with being told what to do and how to do it. You might think that they should trust your expertise, but that's not always the case. Prospects are often wary of salespeople who try to rush them into a decision or apply pressure by using scare tactics or hard sell tactics like discounting prices or offering incentives such as free gifts or services.
It's better to let prospects choose their own path through the sales cycle and make their own decisions at each step in the process:
- How much time do they need to consider your product or service?
- How much information do they need before making a decision?
- When do they want to make their decision?
Have Open Communication
A crucial aspect that many salespeople tend to overlook is communication. It’s one of the most critical factors in building a solid relationship with your prospect and closing more deals.
You should communicate with your prospects in a way they understand and feel comfortable with so they can easily access all the information you provide. Additionally, remember that not every medium will work for everyone; some prefer written communication, while others prefer verbal or visual interactions.
It's also important to remain responsive to your prospect's needs as they go through their buying cycle. If they want more information regarding pricing or features, answer their questions immediately.
Listen To Their Objections
Guiding prospects through the sales cycle can be a challenge. But when you listen to their objections and address them head-on, it can be much easier.
If you’re not listening to what your prospect is saying, then you’re missing out on valuable information that will help guide the conversation. A prospect may tell you that they want something different than what you’re offering — but if you don’t listen carefully enough, you might miss out on making an adjustment in your pitch that could turn them into a customer.
Ask Questions & Take Notes
Ask questions. Asking questions is one of the best ways to guide a prospect through the sales cycle because it allows them to tell you about themselves and their needs. Questions also help you understand what they need so that you can provide them with relevant information about your products or services.
Listen carefully to their responses. While asking questions is important, it's equally important that you listen carefully to their responses because this will give you valuable insight into how best to guide them through the rest of the sales cycle. You can use this information to tailor your pitch to meet their needs exactly.
Make sure to keep in touch with your prospect and check in with them regularly. Nurtured leads produce about 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads.
For example, after a meeting or presentation, send an email with all the relevant details from the presentation, including contact information and your availability, if they want to get together again or ask any questions. You can also follow up with a phone call afterward.
Check in at least once a week to keep a prospect engaged and interested in what you have to offer them.
We hope you’ve found the tips in this article helpful for strengthening your sales skills and closing more deals. Remember that there is no one way to sell, but you can continuously optimize your approach by knowing what your prospects need and understanding how best to guide them through the sales cycle.
How Recapped can enhance the experience
Focus on your prospect, and Recapped can help you with the rest.
- Instead of sending follow up emails after a meeting, update a shared workspace with a recap of important information.
- Keep all of your qualification notes in one place instead of scattered everywhere in a spreadsheet, notepad, and more.
- Mutually agree on check-ins and next steps with prospects to keep timelines on track.
Ready to actually close deals and onboard clients up to 75% faster? With Recapped, it's possible. Request a demo today.