The fifth selling stage. It’s getting interesting now, you’re a good way through a sales process to win the deal from your B2B buyer. I’ve identified seven stages to the buying process, so naturally there must be seven selling stages.

To recap, you know your addressable market, you’ve defined the sales opportunity, you have worked with the company to understand their objectives, and you’ve hopefully demonstrated that what you’re selling is the best fit for what they’re trying to achieve. Just as this is the buying stage where the buying company is narrowing it down to one supplier and negotiating the terms, so you, in this fifth selling stage, need to ‘zero in’ on the prize.

On the face of it this is an easy stage for both parties. Is this the best fit? Are we agreed on what’s being paid? Are we agreed on what’s being delivered? Of course, the devil is in the detail and this is often why this stage can be rather drawn out as the two parties and their legal teams hammer out the minutiae. Good buyers and good selling companies tend not to leave the negotiations until this stage, and in many ways the two parties have been negotiating with each other all along, so that there aren’t too many surprises as you get down to the short strokes, to use golfing parlance.

You don’t want your customer to wobble at this point. They’ve come this far and you need to help them get over the line and feel good about the decision they’re making. Make sure that you have the following things in hand:

– have you done your ‘always be qualifying’ thing and reconfirmed that nothing germane has changed?

– has the customer appointed a ‘change agent’, someone in their team that’s going to be responsible for seeing the project through and making the appropriate resources available for it to happen on schedule?

– are you agreed on money?

– have you shared your contractual and implementation documents with them so that they can see the fine print?

– have they confirmed it all looks fine? If they haven’t, have you lined up resources and decision-makers on your side to expedite this process?

Finally, when you’re confident you have guided to them to the part when they’re ready to buy, you get to the most beautiful part of all:

– have you asked them for the order?

– have they confirmed they’re going ahead with you?