What is the Most Important Step in the Sales Process?

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What is the most important step in the sales process? No two prospects are the same.  Given all the different reasons why prospects buy, many successful sales reps, myself included, consider the Fact Find to be the most important step in the sales process. 

After all, closing a sale is a natural evolution of the sales process, and as such, the close starts here!

The Most Important Step in the Sales Process? The Fact Find!

The Most Important Step in the Sales Process - Sales Tips from B2B Sales Connections

The Fact Find is where you are gather all the relevant information you need to prepare your offer to the customer. 

More importantly, this is where the prospect tells you critical information you need to make the sale.

  • What he wants to buy.
  • When he’s going to buy it.
  • How he is going to buy it.
  • Why he is going to buy it. 

All of this information is vital is fitting the right solution to the customer’s real problem.

A great book that shows the critical importance of the Face Find in the sales process is Why People Don’t Buy Things: Five Proven Steps to Connect With Your Customers And Dramatically Improve Your Sales. I read it very early in my career and it’s definitely one of my recommended reads for salespeople. For anyone who has ever faced price competition, the lessons contained in the chapter “Rita Buys Her Dream Car” alone makes this one worth the read.

Everyone wants the cheapest price, but the cheapest price for what they want!

Keep in mind, what the prospect thinks and says he is going to buy is often quite different than what he ends up buying.  Everyone wants the cheapest price, but the cheapest price for what they want.  The key is the want.  A proper fact find actually helps to define and create that want.  When done properly, with the right questions, you and your prospect uncover problems that only you, and not your competition, can solve. These then become “must haves” in the prospects mind, “must haves” that only you can provide.

For example, if we all only wanted the cheapest price, we would all drive scooters to work.  But we all know that’s not the case.  Looking back to my last vehicle purchase, I didn’t think I needed heated and air-conditioned seats in my car. In fact, I didn’t even know they existed until I walked into the dealership. The sales person, however, asked the right questions. Now, all of a sudden, in my mind, my new car just had to have these seats.  Did it cost more?  Absolutely, but this was the new standard in my mind and I just had to have them.  So, in the end, I shopped around to get the cheapest SUV, but the cheapest SUV with heated and air-conditioned seats.

I go into great detail on how to create “must have” generating questions in my book, Action Plan For Sales Success – Not just what to do, but how to do it!  You can also download Sample Fact Find Questions for free in the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre.

Don’t Skip This Step in the Sales Process

A common mistake made by sales reps is they give their price too early in the buying cycle, before the Fact Find is truly completed.  Then they spend all their time trying to answer objections to a solution the prospect wouldn’t buy at any price because it’s not what he really wants. 

The bottom line is you drastically increase your chances of winning the sale when together you and your prospect identify problems that you can fix better than the competition. The purpose of the fact find is to discover how, when and why the prospect will buy.  Once you know this information, and only then, should you give a price!

And here’s a big tip. If you ever here a prospect say, “because we have always done it that way“, you are really on to a big sales opportunity.

Need to improve how you do sales discovery calls? Then check out the B2B Sales Connections webinar video-on-demand, PASSTA, a way to spice up discovery meetings using this effective recipe. Part of the The How to Sell Virtually Video-on-Demand Training Series, it really is the new take on SPIN selling.

Remember, better the Fact Find, happier the customer, better the pay cheque!

Aim Higher!

Susan A. EnnsB2B Sales Coach and Author
Schedule a free sales coaching strategy session with Susan here.

“… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”

Do you have a question about sales? You’re not alone.  Most salespeople have questions like this on how they can sell more. For the right answers, check out my book, Ask the Sales Coach-Practical Answers to the Questions Sales People Ask Most.

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