No matter the industry you are in, whether you're brand new or a seasoned veteran, we're all in the business of making sales. The sales process often gets over complicated, when in reality, taking time to prepare can make this process simple and seamless. The sooner you figure out the best sales process for your particular business, the sooner you will see your revenues take off! The secrets to your success in sales may be easier than you think. Here are seven tips to help you get started.

Step 1 – Gather the prospects (Who are the buyers?) Knowing your target audience is the first important step to successful selling. Do your research. Remember the 80/20 rule – 80% of your revenue will likely come from 20% of your customer base. The highest return for your time and money is being in the right market! Do not waste your time and money unless the person you intend to present your product or service fits your market. The check/payment provider is your target – not necessarily the end user.

Step 2 - Gather information Gather information about your target market before and during your contact with them. Ask questions – do 75% of the listening and 25% of the talking. Learn about their business so that you can ensure your presentation makes it obvious they need your product or service. Take away objections with knowledge. Being prepared shows you care about them.

Step 3 – Present Your Product or Service Focus on how purchasing the product or service benefits them. Do not focus as much on the features. Remember that a feature is a fact. Facts can be covered quickly and effectively with a 1-page summary. Few people want to hear facts. Most salespeople focus on the facts. A benefit is how your product or service makes them feel and how it provides impact. Make sure that when you present your product or service that you make them feel good about the benefits.

Step 4 – Let the potential buyer try the product or service without obligation Now that you have found ways your customer can use your service, it is time to let them try it. Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on? A car? Clothing? Whether it is a matter of tasting, smelling, touching, or feeling, people will buy when they are engaged. Once they try it, they are more likely to buy it.

Step 5 – Ask them to purchase your product or service If you have followed steps one through four, then step five is easy. You sought them out as a viable client that you could provide a benefit, you have researched their firm to ensure your information is accurate, you have listened to your client and found out they need your product. You have presented the product and let them try it. So ask them to buy! “Are you prepared to purchase my product today?”

Step 6 – Deliver & Appreciation Deliver the final product or service and thank them for purchasing. Then follow-up for customer service. Send them a thank you card! Follow up with a survey. Show true appreciation.

Step 7 – Follow up & Referrals Within 2-4 weeks, no later than a month, ensure the customer is satisfied with your product/service(s). If no, fix it; if yes, ask for referrals.

Contributed by: Tony Drexel Smith
NEURS Founding Member, Buisness Consultant, Business Plan expert