A sales process is an approach to selling a product or service. The sales process has been approached from the point of view of an engineering discipline (see sales process engineering).
Reasons for having a well-thought-out sales process include seller and buyer risk management, standardized customer interaction during sales, and scalable revenue generation. Approaching the subject from a "process" point of view offers an opportunity to use design and improvement tools from other disciplines and process-oriented industries. Joseph Juran observed that "there should be no reason our familiar principles of quality and process engineering would not work in the sales process".
In Management of a Sales Force (12th Ed. p. 66) by Rich, Spiro and Stanton a "sales process" is presented as consisting of eight steps. These are:
- Prospecting / initial contact
- Preapproach - planning the sale
- Identifying and cross questioning
- Need assessment
- Meeting objections
- Gaining commitment
From a seller's point of view, analysis of a sales process can reveal steps in a sale that are problematic, and may allow the prediction of numbers of sales based on initial interest. The interface between the selling and buying process has also been diagrammed.
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