Each time you manage to get a client onboard, the sale pumps life into your business and helps it grow! To do so consistently, you need a sales life cycle. It is a step-by-step approach to convince potential clients about your agency’s values and services.
A sales life cycle outlines and measures every stage in a sales process – from knowing the finer details about your service and prospecting clients to following up with them and closing the deal. It is also visually represented as a sales funnel. Here are 7 steps sales process or sales funnel stages you should know and follow:
Know Your Service & Understand Client Expectations
This is the first and most crucial step in your business, which many people take for granted. If your sales team does not understand the service as much as you do, then there is clearly a problem. Never make assumptions that potential clients will know about your service or industry beforehand!
Clients will make their decision to buy, based on the quality of your service and how it will meet their expectations. Your sales team should know how to differentiate your service from other competitors. This will only happen once they understand that simply trying to sell the service is not good enough.
You need to give something extra that makes clients feel that your agency understands their needs and expectations. Train your sales team to look into the following factors:
- Personalize Your Service – Each client’s needs and expectations will be unique and different. Avoid generalising your services and give clients personal attention.
- Listen & Respond – Instead of pushing your services blindly, first listen to what clients have to say. Get a feel of what they expect and respond accordingly.
- Go The Extra Mile – Don’t be afraid to take that extra step to meet client expectations. They will not only thank you, but gain trust and confidence in your services too.
- Offer Alternative Options – Always offer alternative yet genuine options to your clients. It will give them confidence in your ability to understand their issues.
Identify Your Target Customers in Agency Sales Life Cycle
Once you are clear about what you are selling, the next step is to figure out your buyers. Prospecting is about searching for new customers. Start by writing down a description of your target audience, the market you have identified, industry or people who need your services.
Which demographics of people are most likely to study abroad or emigrate? You should know where they come from, their preferences, age, education background, aspirations, and so on. For instance, your agency’s market segments could be local colleges, high schools, professionals working as doctors, engineers, nurses, senior management executives or others.
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Qualify Your Prospective Clients
This is where you begin to build a relationship with potential clients. The goal is to convince clients that your agency has something valuable to offer. Once you have defined your services and understood the target market from the earlier steps, it is time to make your presence felt.
For agency businesses, cold calling is not the answer. The response rate is low as people find it an invasion of their privacy. Instead, use social media, inbound marketing, and content marketing to generate genuine leads. Make sure you are talking to the decision makers. It will help qualify your prospective clients as well as shorten the sales life cycle.
Prepare A Convincing Sales Pitch
Now that you have a clear picture of who your prospective clients are and where they come from, it is time to take the relationship further. Ask questions and put forward scenarios that address what your prospects are looking for and prepare a presentation or sales pitch.
For instance, a client might want to attend a college they may not qualify for or migrate to a country where finding jobs may not happen immediately. Be honest in your response as well as provide them alternative options. It will help build credibility in your agency’s business and establish trust. This part of the sales life cycle is particularly important when your sales team is meeting prospective clients face-to-face.
Handle Client Objections Positively
Objections are inevitable but also offer opportunities. Your agency’s sales team should not let client objections make them defensive. Instead, work towards finding mutually beneficial and positive ways to handle such cases. The key is to understand why the prospective client might be objecting and learning to deal with difficult clients.
“Your price is higher than others”. This means you need to justify your price and convince the client that it is worth the value. Other objections could be due to perception or wanting to know more “Can we apply directly?” Give honest answers to your prospective clients about the pros and cons of applying to study or migrate on their own. Eventually, let them know that the final decision is theirs.
Think through the kind of objections you have heard in your own experience and write down an example for each of them. Ask your sales team how they will handle such queries or objections, and make it a part of your agency’s presentation.
Close The Deal
There are no hard and fast rules for closing a deal, but some standard practices do exist. Most importantly, it will depend on the kind of relationship you have built with prospective clients throughout the sales life cycle. Be persistent and do not be afraid to hear “no”.
Once you are confident that you have done everything possible to understand the client’s needs and circumstances, be direct in your closing approach. Probe further with questions like:
- Can we move forward with this deal?
- Is there anything preventing you from agreeing to this today?
- Are you ready to move forward?
Follow-up and Get Referrals
Following up with clients is one of the best ways to close a sale. Let the person who started the relationship handle it. They will be in the ideal position to gauge the prospect’s ‘willingness to buy your service’, or pick up the conversation from where ‘we left off’.
Once your salesperson has managed to close the deal, make sure they ask the clients for referrals too. A satisfied client is your best advertisement. You may even incentivize them for such referrals by offering price discounts or adding an extra service to the package you are offering.
In today’s “age of the customer”, understanding their needs and prospecting them accordingly is the key to sales. Gaining their trust and loyalty is far better than pushing sales. Aim to convince the clients and they will be more than happy to pay for your services!