Steps in the Sales Process
1. Know Your Product
The first thing in any sales process is to know your product or service, and even better if you are an expert or authority on it. Knowing your product or service and being able to explain both the benefits and features exudes confidence and credibility.

It's important to remember that Customers buy benefits not features. The what's in it for me scenario. If you can find reasons your product or service can solve problems for the customers even better. Sometimes we are so eager to explain the quality and how it works that we don't explain the benefits. Never assume the customer understands the benefits its up to you to get this across to them.

2. Prospecting
Prospecting in simple terms is searching for new customers. The key is to know where to look and what to look for and to create a database with profiles of existing customers. It's important to know the difference between a lead, a prospect, and a qualified prospect.

Once you identify your major markets, you need to profile the prospects in each of the specific markets to adjust marketing strategies appropriately. Direct mail with a seminar invitation might work well for one market but will it be effective in developing other leads. Know what your ideal customer looks like for each of your market segments. These tactics should be clear in your marketing plan.
Everyone in the company should be involved in prospecting. Often prospects turned customers are discovered from chance meetings on a social level.

3. The Approach
Consider the approach as a sales call to start to build a relationship and gather further intelligence rather than lead generation. This is were a good approach is critical to ensure you come across as obliging with something of value to offer rather than a bothersome, aggressive style salesperson putting up the prospects guard and turning them off.

Prepare what you are going to say and know it well enough that you don't have to read it and it does not come across as a canned speech.

Take detailed notes on the call and note the next action you will take. Adapt your call based on whether it is a follow up to a lead, a prospect or a cold call. The approach will be different for each one.

4. The Needs Assessment
Think in terms of solving a prospects problem. This allows you to determine how your product or service can really service the needs of the prospect. This is the most important part of the process.

Understanding and selling to the needs of your prospects will allow you to become a highly effective salesperson. Asking lots of questions is the only way to determine the prospects needs and it builds confidence and trust and allows you answer their objections. How is your product or service different to that of a competitor, be prepared to answer that question. If it is determined that the prospect is not going to turn into a customer don't hesitate to ask for referrals. If you have built a relationship with the prospect even if they cannot use your service or product they are more likely to give you contact information of other prospects they think might have interest.

5.The Presentation
First and foremost focus on the benefits or your product or service rather than just the features. How will it be of benefit to the prospect? This way your presentation should be focused and relevant rather than a self promoting monologue from a sellers point of view. Tailor your presentation to the needs of your prospect and keep it interactive.

6. The Close
80% of all sales are lost because a salesperson fails to close. Closing is advancing the sales process to get the order. There may be different closes at different stages in the sale depending on the product or service being presented. It may be closing to get an appointment, it maybe closing on a meeting or a seminar or it could be just actually closing on selling the product or service.

No sales conversation should end without an agreement on the next step, even if this is a positive no. No is better than a maybe which is another way of saying no, but becomes a time waster going back and forth. Ensure at the end of your conversation you have an agreement on the next step whatever that is determined to be.

Learn how to overcome the obstacles, including the usual ones like “I need to think about it.”, “It’s too expensive.”, “Let me run it by my spouse.” “Sounds good but I’ve already got one.” What can you say to overcome these kind of comments?

The ONLY way to close is to ask for it. If you don't ask you won't get the sale.

Will that be cash or charge

This is exactly what you have been looking for based on our discussion

We can sign you up right now

Asking “How much does it cost?” is a buying signal. Try to defer the question to later in the process and be confident on the value of your offer. Don't forget to ask for referrals.

Following up
Following up consistently will double your closing ration. Let the prospect know you will follow up with them and give them a time frame of when it will be. This nurtures the relationship with the prospect, and keeps you in front of their mind giving them the sense of caring that should not be confused with being bothersome. This is why an agreement on the next step at the end of your conversation is key so they know there will be further contact. Follow ups should not end. If a sale is made then follow ups of a different kind begin.

Follow ups are best done by the original salesperson. They have already developed a rapport and know what was said and were they left off. Keep detailed notes on your prospects so you know exactly were you left off and the prospects position on the last contact. Keep the information in a centralized database.

If possible don't overwhelm your prospect with too much information on the first call. Keep some of the information for the follow ups this also gives a reason to follow up.

Author's Bio: 

Avril Betts - CHA - Entrepreneur and Business and Lifestyle Coach

I have been a serial Entrepreneur for over 35 years owning several businesses and mentoring Small Business Entrepreneurs. Today I work from Home on my online Travel Agency, Business Coaching and Wellness MLM programs. If I can be of assistance please contact me at In the meantime check out this FREE report on 7 steps to Starting and Building a Successful Business I think you will find it helpful.