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The Shopfloor Selling Process

Completion requirements

The sales process refers to a sequential series of actions by the salesperson that leads towards the customer taking the desired action and ends with a follow-up to ensure purchase satisfaction. Although many factors may influence how a salesperson makes a presentation in any one situation, there does exist a logical, sequential series of actions that, if followed, can greatly increase the chances of making a sale. This selling process involves 5 basic steps. 






The approach


Approach the customer so that you establish an awareness of what you are going to do, and say.


Identify and confirm the need


You have less than 60 seconds to convince the customer to continue to listen to you because you have indicated you can solve the problem.


Sell a Product = Link your product to the need

Selling the product

Show how its features have distinct customer’s benefits.

Creating the desire

Review major benefits, and additional benefits, so that you create a realization that your product could solve the customer’s problem.


Respond to buying signals and objections

Buying signals

Watch for buying signals that the customer is deciding to buy.

Respond to objections


Close the Deal

Step 1: The Approach

Never ignore anyone who walks across the company floor. Consider each person a potential customer. Even if you are busy, at least acknowledge the customer’s presence. Let the customer know you are there to help and are interested in them.

If you are free to assist the customer, approach them and introduce yourself. Offer a firm, confident handshake. Present yourself as open, friendly and wanting to help. However, do not bulldoze the customer in your effort to assist. Give customers breathing room, do not invade their personal space.

Offer the customer assistance, but avoid dead-end questions such as “May I help you?” or “Can I help you find anything?” The customer will most likely respond “No, thank you” or “Just looking,” and walk away. You must engage the customer in conversation. Observe the customer pick up some clues about an icebreaker that might work. Try to connect with the customer.

Show interest in satisfying the customer’s needs or desires. Observe the customer. What type of product are they looking for? Does he seem to be lingering over one particular item? Make a positive remark regarding the product. Tune in to the customer, identify the need and then help to fulfil it.

Be available, but not annoying. If a customer responds to your contact by saying, “No thank you,” back off. Aggressive sales tactics can scare a customer away. However, do not disappear from the sales floor. That customer may not want your help right then and there but may need it in a moment.

Step 2: Identify and Confirm the Need

Customers come to you with two basic types of needs, personal and business. How well you can identify and satisfy both these needs will go a long way in shaping the customer’s perceptions of the service you provide.

Personal Needs - Every customer has a need to be recognised, treated with respect and a need to be made to feel important.

Business Needs - Customers come to you with a stated need for a product or service. We could call this their business need.

Conducting effective interactions, finding out the details of the situation and taking appropriate actions, all satisfy the customer’s business needs. Doing so while treating people courteously and listening with empathy satisfies their personal needs.

To maximise opportunities and customer service, both personal and business needs must be met.

To satisfy personal needs use the following skills:

Show respect - Call the customer by name.

Have empathy - Acknowledge the customer’s feelings.

Be proactive - Anticipate possible problems and have solutions ready.

To satisfy business needs use the following skills:

  • Thorough, effective fact-finding.
  • Plan a complete solution.

Step 3: Link your Product to the Need

The FAB selling principle is the most basic technique to use when selling. Successful salespeople always confess that they do not just hope their product sells, but they always employ a sales strategy. They work on how they present the product until it is well worked out. Something which they can deliver with confidence, ready to answer all relevant questions and objections.

What the FAB principle can do for an inexperienced salesperson, is to give them a foundation to work from and this can afford them the comfort to develop their own sales presentation and strategy for different products.

With the FAB principle, any product can be presented and sold because all products have this basic principle relevant to them.

Click here to view a video that explains the FAB selling technique.

Step 4: Responding to Buying Signals

After prospects negotiate each stage of the mental buying process and are ready to buy, they often give you a signal. A buying signal refers to anything that prospects say or do indicate they are ready to buy. Buying signals hint that prospects are in the conviction stage of the buying process.

Here are several ways prospective buyers signal readiness to buy:

Ask questions – “How much is it?” “What is the earliest time that I can receive it?” “What are your service and returned goods policies?” At times, you may respond to a buying signal question with another question. This helps determine your prospect’s thoughts and needs. If your question is answered positively, the prospect is showing a high-interest level and you are nearing the close.

Asks another person’s opinion – The executive calls someone on the telephone and says, “Come in here a minute; I have something to ask you,” or the husband turns to his wife and says, “What do you think about it?”

Relaxes and become friendly – Once the prospect decides to purchase a product, the pressure of the buying situation is eliminated. A state of visible anxiety changes to relaxation because your new customer believes that you are a friend.

Pulls out a purchase order form – If, as you talk, your prospect pulls out an order form, it is time to move toward the close.

Carefully examines merchandise – When a prospect carefully scrutinises your product or seems to contemplate the purchase, this may be an indirect request for prompting. Given these indications, attempt a trial close; “What do you think about it?” If you obtain a positive response to this question, move on to close the sale.

A buyer may send verbal or nonverbal buying signals at any time before or during your sales presentation. The accurate interpretation of buying signals should prompt you to attempt a trial close. In beginning a trial close, summarise the major selling points desired by your prospect. If you receive a positive response to the trial close, you can wrap up the sale. A negative response should result in a return to your presentation or to determine objections. In any case, a successful trial close can save you and your prospect valuable time, while a thwarted trial close allows you to assess the selling situation.

Click here to view a video that explains the customer buying signals.

Responding to Objections

With prospects who are unwilling to discuss their objections or who may not know why they are reluctant to buy, be prepared to smoke out objections by asking questions. Do what you can to reveal the objections.

Consider the following questions:

  • What would it take to convince you?
  • What causes you to say that?
  • Let’s consider this, suppose my service would [do what prospect wants] … then you would want to consider it, wouldn’t you?
  • Tell me, what is really on your mind?

Two Methods For Dealing With Objections

Since it is easier to answer a question than to overcome an objection, rephrase an objection as a question when you can do so naturally. Most objections are easily rephrased. Each procedure, except the objection, is based on a bad previous experience with the product by the prospect, has the same first three steps:

  1. Acknowledging the prospect’s viewpoint,
  2. Rephrasing the objection into a question, and
  3. Obtaining agreement on the question.

Here is an example:

Buyer: “I don’t know - your price is higher than your competitors.”

Salesperson: “I can appreciate that. You want to know what particular benefits my product has that makes it worth its slightly higher price. [or “What you’re saying is that you want me to get you the best product for your money.”] “Is that correct?”

Buyer: “Yes, that is right.”

Now discuss product benefits versus price. After doing so, attempt a trial close by asking for the prospects viewpoint to see if you have overcome an objection.

Salesperson: “Do you see how the benefits of this product make it worth the price?” [Trial close.]

Often, the prospect may skip ahead of you in the sales presentation by asking questions that you address later in the presentation. If you judge that the objection will be handled to your prospect's satisfaction by your customary method and that the prospect is willing to wait until later in the presentation, you politely postpone the objection. Five examples of postponing objections are:

Prospect: “Your price is too high.”

Options of reply:

Salesperson: “In just a minute, I will show you why this is reasonably priced, based on the savings you will receive compared to what you presently do. That is what you are interested in, savings, right?” [Trial close.]

Salesperson: “There are several ways we can handle your costs. If it is alright, let’s discuss the, in just a minute. [Pause. This has the same effect as the trial close. If there is no response, continue.] First, I want to show you…”

Salesperson: “I am glad you brought that up” or Ï was hoping you would want to know that”, “because we want to carefully examine the cost in just a minute. OK?” [Trial close.]

Step 5: Closing the Deal

So, when should you attempt to close a sale? Simply, when the prospect is ready! More specifically, when the prospect is in the conviction stage of the mental buying process. A buyer can enter the conviction stage at any time during the sales presentation. You might ask someone to buy as early as the approach stage or as late as another day. Much of the time, however, the close comes after the presentation. The ability to read a prospect’s buying signals correctly helps a salesperson decide when and how to close a sale.

Essentials of Closing Sales

While there are many factors to consider in closing the sale, the following items are essential if you wish to improve your chances:

  • Be sure your prospect understands what you say.
  • Always present a complete story to ensure understanding.
  • Tailor your close to each prospect. 80% of your customers will respond to a standard close. It is the other 20% of customers that you need to prepare for. Prepare to give the expert customer all facts requested to give the egotistical customer praise, to lead the indecisive customer, and to slow down for a slow thinker.

Closing Is Not One Giant Step

Too many salespeople regard the close as a separate and distinct part of the sales call. “I have discussed benefits and features, answered some objections, handled price and now it is time to close.”

Chronologically, of course, the close does come at the end. However, you must close all along. Closing in the natural outgrowth of the sales presentation. If the rest of the sales call has been a success, closing simply means working out terms and signing the order.

  • Everything you do and say should consider the customer’s point of view.
  • Never stop at the first no.
  • Learn to recognise buying signals.
  • Before you close, attempt a trial close.
  • After asking for the order – be silent.
  • Set high goals for yourself and develop a personal commitment to reach your goals.
  • Develop and maintain a positive, confident, and enthusiastic attitude toward yourself, your product, your prospects and you are close.

A successful close result from a series of actions that you have followed before asking for the order. Closing is not one giant step.

Should you not make the sale, always remember to act as a professional salesperson and be courteous and appreciative of the opportunity to present your product to the prospect. This allows the door to be open another time. Always remember to leave the door open!

Many times the close occurs automatically because it has become the easiest part of the sales prospect. Often, the prospect will close for the salesperson, saying, “That sounds great! I would like to buy that.” All the salesperson has to do is finalise the details and write up the order. Often though, the prospect is undecided on the product after the presentation, so the skilful salesperson develops multiple closing techniques.

Click here to view a video that explains how to close the deal in three simple steps.