What are the different stages of a sales cycle?

The naming of your sales cycle stages is particular to the individual business, but there are common prospect checkpoints and categories you can place the market in for your growth and sales teams to work on.

The easiest way to break down the different stages of a cycle is to think back to when you last bought something; there was a time when you didn’t know this product existed (you would be referred to as a Prospect). First you would have initiated interest, either clicking on something online or walking into a store (you would be connecting to the seller), then you would either be researching other products of being asked questions by a salesperson (you would be in Discovery). Then the product or service would be shown to you (you would be presented to) and you may have a question on price (you would be giving the seller objections). Finally, you would buy the product or service (you would have closed).

So the different stages can be simplified into:

  • Prospecting (They appear they could be a good fit)
  • Qualifying (Let me double-check they are a good fit)
  • Discovering (Let me find out more about them and if the problem they have needs fixing now)
  • Presenting (Let me allow them the opportunity to evaluate my product)
  • Negotiating (Let us dot the Is and cross the Ts)
  • Closing (I’ll give you my product if you give me some money)

The naming conventions of these stages will be dependent on the sales cycle of the business, however, there is one piece of the puzzle missing. And this is the referring part. Remember when you had a great dinner somewhere and then told your friends about that restaurant? This is what all businesses should strive to achieve because the general public is your biggest and most cost-effective sales force. If the outcome is that you make your customers feel good enough that they brag about it, then you have hit the jackpot. So the stages of your sales cycle should now be:

  • Prospecting
  • Qualifying
  • Discovering
  • Presenting
  • Negotiating
  • Closing
  • Referring (Go and tell your friends about us!)

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