When you start think about the sales process, there are three basic principles you must learn and adopt before you will become successful. The first is to be organized. You need to have information on all your clients with all their information. Your schedule for that day should be tied to a map rather than the hottest prospect. You need to make as many calls as you can and the only way you can is through organization. Like I always told my salespeople, “work smart, not hard”.

The second is to be prepared. You need to know your customer, not whether he is a Longhorn fan or an Aggies supporter (although it couldn’t hurt), but whether he is the final decision maker, that he can actually use your product or perhaps they just had a big layoff so making a purchase is not a high priority. You can waste a lot of time on both sides as well as future sales opportunities by not being prepared. Also, double check that you have all your sales information with you such as brochures, supporting documentation and your business card. You will not believe how many sales calls I have made with salespeople who forgot that they gave out their last card. It is embarrassing and unprofessional.

The third is to assume the sale. Sounds simple, but too many people go into a sales meeting hoping and praying that they can make the sale. Not only do you feel the pressure, but you come across as if you were begging for the sale. I remember one salesman telling a potential customer that he was behind on his quota, so if the prospect bought his product, his boss wouldn’t get on his case. The prospect threw him because he was not going to make a decision on whether the salesperson needed the sale. Think of it this way, if you believe your product is a perfect match for this customer, so will he. If you don’t, then why should the prospect.

So before you take the prospect's time, get into the game by getting organized, prepare for the meeting and then assume the sale.

Now that you are ready mentally and physically for the call, you need to know more about the 5 basic steps in the sales process. In future articles, I will cover them in more depth. The 5 steps are:

1. The opening statement or why am I taking up your time.
2. Ask questions. The more you know, the more you close.
3. Present benefits, not features
4. Overcome the objections. What do you mean, no?
5. Close the sale. And isn’t that what it’s all about.

Author's Bio: 

With over 40 years in sales and marketing as well as owning over a dozen companies, Phil Gerber has developed a significant portfolio. He has utilized the principles developed through his experience to make his sales teams the most successful in their respected industry. He has literally “been there and done that”.

As Bottom Line Consultants, Phil has been helping organizations improve their sales and marketing for over 10 years. His simplistic approach to sales has enabled even the novice salespeople to become overnight stars. His experience in retail, wholesale, and sales to both consumers and businesses gives him insight into a multitude of sales issues and problems.

Phil was a frequent guest on a Houston radio talk show discussing sales. He has also written articles for a number of internet newsletters. His book “Cut the B.S.” was published in December of 2007. When he’s not playing golf or managing his businesses, Phil loves to travel with his lovely wife Carol.