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Sales isn’t easy. If it was, everybody would make six figures selling part time. Professionals know that to succeed, you have to work overtime, putting in more effort than the competition. You have to be persuasive and know how to talk about your product or service in a way that shows people why they need it. Sales coach Wendy Weiss provides keen insights into sales success in Forbes Magazine, some of which can be used to boost your own sales practices.

Pitch the right prospects

This step may sound easy, but it’s actually some of the hardest work in sales. Often, salespeople get too focused on the end result, on closing the deal. As a result, they put little time and effort into qualifying their prospects.

This mistake not only leads to lower closing ratios—after all, unqualified prospects say no in the end—it leads to a gargantuan waste of time. The time a salesperson spends spinning their wheels on poor prospects is the time they could be identifying good prospects. By doing the right research upfront and asking the best qualifying questions, salespeople set themselves up for success.

Reaching out to the prospect

Once you know who call, make sure you prepare before making the initial contact. Understand your audience, understand what they need. It’s also a good idea to make the initial approach before your prospect goes into buying mode. This step allows the prospect to get to know you and your organization before they make a purchasing decision. When they are ready, you have positioned yourself as their trusted advisor.

Meeting the prospect

Always ask for a face-to-face meeting, if possible. If a face to face is impractical, schedule a time to talk over the phone, where you can give a detailed presentation. By introducing yourself and your company while educating the prospect on how you can help them, you build a relationship and start the conversation necessary to close the sale.

Make a plan

Never leave a meeting or end a phone conversation without a plan. For the sales process to move forward, you need to take the next step. What that step is depends on where you are in the sales cycle. Very early on, the next step may be a follow up call or email. Further along, it may be a quotation. If they are in buying mode, it may be time to ask for their business.

Waiting is the hardest part

Resist the temptation to hound. If they aren’t responding to phone messages, send a card. If you still get no response, leave a message thanking them for their time and letting them know you will follow up next quarter. That often gets a response.