If you are naturally competitive, you should enjoy sales. There are many different definitions of the word 'sales', but for simplicity it can be defined as "the act of persuading a potential customer to commit to a course of action".

The basic elements of a sale are:

  • Introduction
  • Fact-find
  • Promotion of product/service
  • Establishment of interest
  • Negotiation
  • Close

What is selling broken down:

This is a two-way process. You will introduce yourself, your company, and your service. You will also need the person you're speaking with to introduce themselves to make sure you're speaking with the right person - i.e. a decision-maker. If not, you will need to speak to the decision-maker at some

Here you are checking whether the potential client is indeed a potential client - ie can they actually use your product/service? You also need to establish exactly what is important to a potential client, how they decide on a purchase, and the reasons behind this.

Promotion of product/service
This is selling the features of your product / service and explaining how will it benefit your potential client.

Establishment of interest
How interested is the customer? If the response is positive (and it should be if you've done the rest correctly), you can then establish whether there are any further barriers to doing business, and addressing these as they arise.

Having established an interest and broken down any other barriers to doing business, you then have to talk about price, and this will often involve negotiation. Sales people naturally push for the highest price to meet their targets and maximise their commission. Customers with good negotiation skills will want to get the salesperson down to the minimum price. The important thing a salesperson can do is to be able to justify a price to the customer in terms of quality and value.

The close is where you gain the customer commitment. Ideally, the close will be the time when the customer agrees to exchange his money for the products/services on offer. However, sometimes you will be closing for a meeting to discuss further and build a stronger relationship with the client.
Most sales, especially business-to-business, are carried out over a period of time, therefore it is highly unlikely that all the above will be achieved in one phone-call or visit. Many sales cycles are stretched out over a period of weeks or even months.

What Makes a Good Sales Person?

  • The ability to research to effectively identify potential customers
  • A can-do attitude to make that first contact
  • Enthusiasm in describing your product/service in order to enthuse the potential customer
  • The highest standards of written and spoken English to communicate effectively up to board level
  • Excellent questioning skills to get the most information possible from the potential customer
  • Excellent listening skills to make the most of their answers
  • The ability to think on your feet to counter objections and emphasise selling points
  • Tact in handling customers so that they can express interest without feeling threatened
  • Resilience in negotiations and ability to close the deal
  • A pleasant personality to enable customers to feel comfortable with parting with their money
  • A thick skin and the ability to get back up again to deal with the large number of rejections you will have to experience for each success

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