How to Create a Sales Process; Workflow in the Service Industry

Every business should have a sales process.  But what is a sales processA sales process is a formalized plan to evolve a prospect client into an ideal customer.  It is an intentional strategy designed to systemize sales so that each potential client is given an equal opportunity to become an ideal customer.  Without a clearly defined process of how a customer will evolve over time, the lifetime value of a customer will not be as effective as it could be.  In my recent post on How to Create a Sales Funnel in 3 Steps, I discussed general methods on what should be done to develop such a process.  In this post, however, I am going to specifically focus on how to create a sales process and design a sales workflow for a service-based business. 

Service-Based Businesses

For purposes of this article, let us consider a gym or fitness center that sells memberships to new members.  We will assume that this business offers a variety of products such as a standard gym (equipment use), coaching, nutritional consultations, and fitness classes. 

As this business sells “memberships” rather than actual products, the business will ultimately establish a “new member workflow” as their sales process.  This workflow will become the strategic process of how a new member goes from being a prospect to becoming fully engaged in the business.  It is important to recognize that not all prospects will eventually fully engage as ideal customers; this is expected.  But having an end goal of where the business would like them to ultimately be allows for strategies to be established to encourage a new customer to go to that destination. 

Elements of a New Member Workflow

Every service-based business can establish a new member workflow by following the following four steps:

  1. Find It (Prospect Identification): Identify the channels by which a prospect would hear about the business.  For our imaginary gym/fitness center, this could include word-of-mouth referrals, organic website searches, social medial correspondence, sponsored races, and general advertisements and marketing.
  2. Experience It (Product or Service Trial): Provide an opportunity for a client to try out the product or service.  In keeping with our case study, this could include information on the website, a free e-book or video tutorial, or free workshop, a discounted coaching consultation or a seven day trial membership.
  3. Engage With It (Entry-level Service): Offer an entry-level service that allows a new customer to get their “feet wet” with the products and services offered by the company.  For our gym or fitness center, this could include services like, six weeks of coaching, enrolling in a basic gym membership, or having a nutritional consultation.
  4. Lock Into It (Commitment-level Service): Offer a commitment-level product or service that provides a higher level of revenue.  This could be a product that provides an increased revenue stream for the business such as a premium gym membership, long-term coaching, or nutritional consulting.  A commitment-level product could also be a one-time sale of a product that is sold at a higher price-point.  This could include a video product or an in-person seminar.

In keeping with these four steps, the following macro-level workflow has been create for illustration purposes, based off the workflow described previously:


To further define the sales process, this macro-level workflow could be broken into a micro-level workflow which would outline a strategic sales funnel for each specific method of prospect identification. 

For example, a runner who competes at a sponsored race could be offered a free workshop that discusses the benefits of coaching and group training.  Workshop attendees could be offered a discount to entry-level coaching or group training.  Once they have utilized the coaching or group training for a certain period of time, they could then be offered a premium product, which would be the target goal for the initial prospect.  Visually, this could be charted out as follows:


To be successful, a sales funnel like this should be systemized (or automated) so that each prospect is taken though the entire process.  While not every prospect will actually make it through the entire sales channel, they will at least be given an opportunity to do so.  As you can see from the illustrations above, the objective of a new member workflow is to pro-actively establish a “roadmap” of how a prospective client will eventually become an “ideal customer, which is a client who utilizes a defined number of services (or provides a defined level of income) offered by the business. 

A Question for You

What service-based sales processes have you seen work successfully?