Steps in the Sales Process

There are really only a few key elements that should be included in the steps of a sales process. These steps are the main questions that need to be answered for the client, whether they ask them or not.

Sales can vary greatly depending on what you are selling, the industry you are in, and the kind of selling you are specifically involved in. That means the steps can vary as well. If you actually google "steps in a sales process", you will find a wide range of breakdowns as to how many steps there are (generally five to eight).

For simplification in our industry we are going to break the sales process down into three main steps. (Three is much easier to remember than eight.) These steps are going to form the focus of your presentation. This will help you reach your ultimate goal of getting the business.

By focussing on these three key steps you will be eliminating objections before they come up. It may take some time to fine tune your presentation, but it will be worth it in the end.

Remember that you should have already uncovered specific needs and issues by asking questions and listening to your clients before you hit this stage. Now you are going to incorporate those answers into the information you provide in your steps. This is how you are going to help them. By presenting the solutions to their needs.

  • They should like, respect, and believe in you.
  • They should like, respect, and believe in the company.
  • They should like, respect, and believe in the product or service.

What is a sales presentation?

A sales presentation is how you will efficiently present the information in order to cover the above three key steps (almost like a checklist). We have already talked about the science of buying, presenting, and selling yourself in previous pages of this article, so now let's focus on the actual presentation to the customer.

Of course, we are all going to have different circumstances and this should only be used as a guide. How you design your presentation may depend on whether you are a gardener, maintenance professional, landscaper, or designer. Hopefully, this section will assist those who require a little bit of structure and focus during a sales call.

This section can also help new people that are starting a lawn mowing business. By learning sales skills it will give you an advantage over some of your competitors when building a client base. You can also visit our DIY modules on lawncare and maintenance.


Objections

We will deal with this later, but a quick mention is needed to start with. The reason why, is that a well planned presentation will eliminate many objections before they arise.

If you have answered the right questions during the presentation, they are less likely to come up as objections when you ask for their business. If they still have objections at the end, we will show you how to determine and deal with legitimate objections.

What will make up a presentation?
  • Thanks, and show of appreciation for their time
  • Setting the tone
  • Probe
  • Build confidence in you
  • The company
  • The service
  • Asking for the business
  • Dealing with objections
  • Follow up

Always start with a thanks and a show of appreciation for their time.

This should just be automatic for you. Politeness and consideration is very important.

For example:

    “Hi, I'm Bill, owner/representative, from/of, Acme Landscaping. Thanks so much for taking the time for me today, I really
    appreciate it.”

After this, start the conversation in a way you can set the tone. You are most often in their home for a presentation, so always make sure you make it a friendly atmosphere as well as professional.

This industry differs greatly from many other types of sales. You can spend weeks installing a big job in a clients yard. This means you will develop a unique relationship with your clients. You want it to be a comfortable one, so start it off on the right foot. Sometimes these friendships can last a lifetime, and referrals can keep you busy forever.

(Remember in the beginning we said we would give a tip to those who hate sales and feel uncomfortable?) This is one of the best ways to bring comfort to the conversation by setting a friendly tone to it.


Ways to set the tone.

Pay attention to things in their house. Pictures on the wall, items on a coffee table, or anything you may be able to share an interest with.

For example:

    “I noticed your old mustang in the driveway. It's beautiful what year is that?”

People have pride and love talking about themselves and their “things”. It makes them feel good. You get brownie points when you make people feel good about themselves.

Kids are also a good topic to set the tone with if you can relate to it. A picture of a child in a baseball uniform, may work well if you have a child that plays ball as well.

For example:

    “My son/daughter plays ball too. How old is he/she?”

Will this tactic work with everyone? No, but nothing ever does. Be attentive to the kind of people you are dealing with and respond accordingly.

Warning. I have a gift in the area of finding a common ground. But please, oh please, don't do what I do, and spend the whole night talking about nothing to do with the reason why you are there. To get the work, stay focused, and keep your eye on the target and be prepared to control the conversation and bring it back on track when needed.

So a quick recap so far. It is important to remember that people will do business with people they like. If they like you, you have now just removed a possible objection and reason NOT to do business with you.


Probing

Next, ask questions to find out what stage they are at to you as a customer. TAKE NOTES and remember these answers, they are important to you. You are going to be using these answers to help them with their needs. Pay close attention and look, listen, and act sincere. This will not only win their trust, but also help you understand their needs and wants.

For example:

If you didn't do a pre-qualifying phone call you can ask questions like this:

  • So what are you looking for in your yard?
  • When are you looking to have the work done?
  • Do you have any designs, plans, or ideas right now? (Most people do, and should provide them for you.)
  • Most sales people will tell you to avoid this next question like the plague, but in this industry it can hurt you if you don't know. Ask them if they have a budget in mind to spend on their yard? I don't expect you to be direct with it, so phrase it in an appropriate way. In order for me to help you develop your plans, I need to know the budget range for this project? (Very few landscapers ask this, but it is extremely valuable information and keeps your imagination in check to their pocketbook.)

I have seen the effects of a landscaper designing a yard before he knows the budget. He can prematurely discuss his plans with the client. It leads to great dissapointment that will hurt you.

These are just suggestions, so put together a series of questions that will work for you. What information will help you qualify them as a customer that you want to work for? Is it the kind of job that you even want to do?

If not, don't rule it out completely. You may want to do part of it and sub-contract other parts of the job. (Listening more than talking is important here.)


About You/The Company

This should be simple and concise, to the point. No more than one or two minutes. Avoid me, me, me, but give some good points about your company. You can do this before asking the probing questions, but it is more beneficial to doing it after. The advantage is you can now cover the freshly asked probing questions in a way that shows your company is qualified to help them by fullfilling their needs.

For example:

    Acme Landscaping has been in business for six years. We are a full service landscaping company that can offer you design, install, and maintenance. We have a very creative designer that will work with your needs and ideas and blend them into a design that will work well. We are bonded and insured and offer written warranties with all of our installs. All of our installs are done by a highly skilled crew that has been with us for four years. They are all personally overseen by me at each step of the way. We are certainly qualified to do the work that you are looking to have done to your yard.”

Don't just ramble on or pitch your company. (You should have just answered all their probing questions as well.) After you are finished, ask them if they have any questions about your company.

Another quick summary.

People do business with companies they like. You have just removed more possible objections, questions, or fears they may have had about doing business with your company.

Are you seeing this trend? This is what we were talking about earlier. If you do your job properly, there is no reason why you should not walk away with more business. You are qualified, experienced, you have developed trust, and they like you and your company.

Once again. This is just an example. Find out what works best for you and your situation and build your own personal presentation.


Time to show your work.

So you have your portfolio on the table and you are showing off your best work. Pictures are great, and they sell. Add some short testimonials under as many projects or pictures as you can. Testimonials are also great selling features as they give you credibility as a professional. Happy customers are great selling tools. This is another form of word of mouth business; it’s just that the word is written instead of spoken.

Watch and read their faces as they look at your work. This should be easy to do. If your work really is good, it will show in their faces. How fast they flip pages will also be a good indication if they like your work or not.

Use any special skills, tools, methods, advanced procedures, or products that can set you above anyone else to your advantage. Oh, and never knock your competition. It is very unprofessional, and just makes you look bad. If they are knocking your competition, try to avoid the temptation to join in, and change the subject moving forward.

There are tactful ways of making yourself look better than your competition, by aiming your focus on where you deliver high quality work and service.

Quick summary number three.

People do business with companies that provide quality work, or services.

If you have done your job right, it now means they like you, your company, and your work. This is a good thing. You have done a great job and they now may even be ready to sign on the dotted line.

So we have touched on three main areas of what you should cover in your sales presentation. Next we will take a look at asking for the business. This is what will close the deal.


Table of Contents: Sales Tips

Introduction: Sales Tips

A. Selling Yourself

B. Landscaping Customers: What makes them buy from You?

C. Steps in the Sales Process

D. Asking for the Business

E. Follow Up


Return to the Dream Yard Home Page from Steps in the Sales Process



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