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What is the PRO method of selling and how can you use it?

Whether you work in a gym, a sports club or a sporting goods company – selling your product or service is vital. In this post we explore the PRO method of selling, a simple 5-step process to follow when you’re looking to make a sale. 

This post is adapted from Sales and Revenue Generation in Sport Business.

What is the PRO method of selling?

The PRO method of selling is a 5-step process which takes you from pre- to post-sale.

Step 1: PROspect for qualified customers

Step 2: PRObe for information with open-ended questions

Step 3: PROvide solutions by matching product benefits with customer information

Step 4: PROpose an offer that best fits the customer’s needs

Step 5: PROtect the relationship by maintaining contact and customer service

Whilst these steps are numbered in an order, note that you may not always follow them in that order. For example, you may propose an offer that the customer declines, which leads to a new objection that you need to solve (step 3) before proposing a new offer. 

Step 1: PROspect for qualified customers

The first step in trying to generate revenue for a sport organisation is to figure out whom you should be contacting. Prospecting for customers, a vital piece of the sales process, involves making first contact with potential buyers and qualifying whether they are capable or willing to spend money on your product.

Some qualified customers may proactively get in touch with you (inbound sales), whilst others you may need to discover (outbound sales). One mistake that many sport organisations make is undervaluing their inbound sales efforts. Although a customer who reaches out to the organisation is likely going to be easier to sell to, a sale is never guaranteed and the salesperson needs to be prepared to maximise the revenue for any sale.

In contrast, outbound sales refers to the sales representatives of the organisation reaching out directly to the customers. This activity used to be done almost exclusively over the phone, but today’s sales departments take advantage of phone sales, chat features, email, and social media accounts to contact their customers.

Step 2: PRObe for information with open-ended questions

After you have qualified the prospect and have their attention on the phone, the next step is to probe for information. The 80-20 rule states that a salesperson should spend about 80 percent of the conversation listening and only 20 percent talking. The key to gaining the most information about the customer is asking questions that keep the customer talking about their own wants and needs, without the salesperson having to carry the conversation. 

Open-Ended Questions

To keep the customer doing most of the talking, salespeople use open-ended questions, those that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Typically, open-ended questions begin with the words “what,” “why,” “how,” or a phrase like “tell me about …” 

For example, questions like “Did you enjoy the game?” can be converted into “Tell me about your experience at the game.”

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Step 3: PROvide solutions by matching product benefits with customer information

In this step, the sales representative applies the wants and needs of the customer to the sport product they have available to sell and explains how and why the product can provide a solution for the customer. 

Features and Benefits

To provide a solution for the customer, you must first understand your product. Knowledge of the product usually comes in two forms: features and benefits. 

A feature of attending an event may be the stadium in which it is held. The benefit would be the ability to see a historic building or one that is highly sentimental to the customer.

Step 4: PROpose an offer that best fits the customer’s needs

After you have gathered the information on the customer, provided solutions using the benefits of the project, and identified a product that you believe is a good fit for the customer, it is time to close the sale and propose an offer to them. Keep three things in mind when proposing your offer to the customer: emphasise the trigger statement, be clear in what you are offering, and ask for the sale.

Summarising the Offer

The first thing that you must do when making a proposal is to reemphasise the trigger statement that you identified earlier in the conversation or relationship. As a reminder, the trigger statement is the single most important reason that the customer would be interested in your product. By starting your proposal with the biggest, most important benefit to your customer, you are creating a positive impression for the summary and closing statement.

The next step in the proposal is summarising the offer. Recap what you are offering and be clear about the cost. This may be a good time to reiterate a good fit or offer your own recommendation. Ultimately, this leaves no doubt in the customer’s mind about what they are getting and prepares them for the closing statement that will follow this step.

Asking for the Sale

The last step in an offer proposal is to ask for the sale. Structuring the question properly is essential to asking for the sale. Tell them that they should purchase the product and then ask them what their thoughts are on the offer. This technique may sound confusing at first, but it drastically increases the chances of their saying yes. The first part of asking for the sale involves telling the customer that they can have everything you offered if they are willing to commit to buying it. You follow up that statement by asking for their thoughts. 

Step 5: PROtect the relationship by maintaining contact and customer service

After the sale has been closed and the customer has paid for the products, the salesperson’s job is not over. One of the biggest aspects of relationship-based marketing involves continuing to communicate with the customer and developing the relationship throughout the year. First, a good salesperson stays in touch with their customers throughout the season. This means checking in to see how a customer’s experience has been so far, learning whether there are any issues that can be resolved, and continuing to collect information on the customer that may become useful to the salesperson later.

In addition to engaging in general communication, the salesperson should always be looking for ways to add value to the relationship. Often, the most valuable things that a salesperson can offer the customer is attention and expertise. For example, if a customer mentioned that they wanted to upgrade their seats and a new location becomes available, the salesperson can contact the customer to let them know that they have something that may better suit their needs.

The last way that salespeople can protect their relationship and provide continuing customer service involves cross-selling and upselling. This process not only promotes a long-term relationship and communication with the customer but also typically increases the salesperson’s generated revenues! Upselling refers to offering a customer a more expensive or more premium version of the product than they already have. If the customer is particularly enjoying their experience or feels happy with the product, offering an upsell opportunity for the customer to invest more is often worthwhile.

Sales and Revenue Generation in Sport Business book cover

Adapted from:

Sales and Revenue Generation in Sport Business

David J. Shonk and James F. Weiner

Related books

Strategic Sport Communication
Sports Broadcasting
Social Media and Sports

Header photo by Anna Shvets

This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health


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