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All About Sales

    All About Sales

    Sections in This Topic Include


    Foundations for Successful Sales

    What is Sales?
    — Understanding the Sales Process
    — Understanding the Sales Cycle
    Value of Product Knowledge
    Useful Skills to Have in Sales
    — Useful Business Skills for Salespeople
    — Useful People Skills for Salespeople
    Understanding Types of Clients and How to Engage Them
    — Types of Clients
    — Multi-cultural Customers and Sales

    Sales Process and Sales Pipeline

    1. Generating Leads – Using Sales Channels
    — Direct Postal Mail
    — Email
    — Face-to-face
    — Internet and Web
    — Social Networking
    — Telemarketing (Phone)
    — Trade Shows

    2. Qualifying the Client — Is Client a Prospect?
    — First Impressions and Establishing Rapport With Leads
    — Understand the Needs and Wants of Each Lead — Ask the Right Questions
    — Getting to Decision-Makers

    3. Sales Interviews and Presentations With Prospects
    — Opening Statements
    — Establishing Rapport and Trust
    — Really Listening (Verbal and Nonverbal)
    — Effective Sales Presentations
    — Dealing With Objections

    4. Sales Proposals and Negotiations
    — Proposals and Sales Letters
    — Negotiations

    5. Closing the Sale
    — Techniques for Closing
    — Sales Contracts

    6. Account Maintenance and Management
    — Customer Service
    — Customer Satisfaction

    Miscellaneous Perspectives — and Challenges and Pitfalls

    Various Philosophies of Marketing and Sales
    Challenges and Pitfalls

    Managing Yourself for Successful Sales

    Staying Motivated
    Keeping Positive Attitude
    Organizing Yourself
    Managing Your Time and Stress

    Managing Sales Activities and Sales Force

    Sales Staffing and Training
    Sales Success Rules – Free Sales Training
    Sales Forecasting and Goals
    Motivating Sales Force
    Measuring and Evaluating Sales Activities
    Compensating Sales Force

    General Resources

    Resources Providing Many Resources
    Glossary and Dictionaries About Sales
    Free Tools and Templates

    Also see
    Related Library Topics

    Also See the Library’s Blogs Related to Sales

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Sales. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Library’s Business Planning Blog
    Library’s Building a Business Blog
    Library’s Customer Service Blog
    Library’s Marketing Blog

     


    Foundations for Successful Sales

    What is Sales?

    Before learning more about how to do successful sales and selling, it’s important first to get a sense of what sales is, so you can more accurately understand the guidelines, tips and tools provided throughout this topic. Also, it’s useful to understand different viewpoints about sales, especially so you can more accurately understand how your clients talk about sales.

    What’s “Advertising, Marketing, Promotion, Public Relations and Publicity, and Sales?”
    Unlocking the True Definition of Sales
    Legal Definition of Sale
    Sales – Definition

    Also see
    Marketing (scan the subtopics to understand Marketing)

    Understanding the Sales Process (Sales Pipeline)

    There is a general, overall process that successful sales people follow, although there are different perspectives on that process, including names for the various steps along the way. The next major section in this topic includes more detailed guidelines, tips and tools for each stage of one perspective on the sales process, or sales pipeline as some people refer to it.

    Sales Process
    What is a Sale Process?
    Basics of the Sales Process
    Sales vs. Procurement — tips from an expert.

    Understanding the Sales Cycle

    The sales cycle is often referred to as the time it takes to do the sales process mentioned above. Timing is critical because the faster and shorter the sales cycle, the faster that more revenue is generated, customers are satisfied and more customers can be gotten by the organization.

    What is the Sales Cycle?
    Sales Cycle Steps
    The Best Way to Shorten the Sales Cycle

    Value of Product Knowledge

    There’s an old saying that a “good salesman can sell anything.” That’s not so true today when the nature of products and services can be highly complex and the nature of customers and clients can be highly demanding. Yet there’s an ongoing argument about which is best — product knowledge or sales skills.

    Benefits of Product Knowledge
    How Product Knowledge Can Mean More Sales
    How Much Product Knowledge is Enough?

    Also see
    Product Development

    Useful Knowledge and Skills to Have in Sales

    You don’t have to read all of the resources referenced from the following links. Rather, a quick scan will give you an impression of the different types of knowledge and skills to start learning over time. Perhaps for now, realize that there’s more to being a good salesperson than learning the sales process and sales cycle. Many of the following are also more directly associated with other subtopics in this overall topic of Sales.

    Useful Business Skills for Salespeople

    Advertising and Marketing Laws
    Advertising and Promotion
    Communications (Writing)
    Contracts (Business)
    Customer Satisfaction
    Customer Service
    E-commerce
    Ethics: Practical Toolkit for Business
    Etiquette (Manners)
    Marketing
    Positioning: Deciding and Conveying Your Unique Selling Position
    Pricing
    Public and Media Relations
    Telemarketing

    Useful People Skills for Salespeople

    Assertiveness
    Conflict (Interpersonal)
    Etiquette (Manners)
    Feedback
    Handling Difficult People
    Listening
    Non-Verbal Communications
    Presenting / Speaking
    Questioning
    Self-Confidence
    Team Building
    Negotiating
    Diversity and Inclusion

    Understanding Types of Clients and How to Engage Them

    How to Understand Your Customers
    Know Your Customers’ Needs
    Customer Relationship Management

    Also see
    Product Development
    Questioning 
    Useful People Skills for Salespeople

    Types of Clients

    8 Types of Clients — Adjust Your Pitch, Increase Your Sales
    5 Types of Customers
    8 Types Of Client To Avoid At All Costs

    Multi-cultural Customers and Sales

    How to Develop a Multicultural Sales Force
    Multicultural Client Skills For Small Businesses – 8 Point Strategy For Intercultural Negotiations
    Selling to Multicultural Customers

    Also see
    Diversity and Inclusion


    Sales Process and Sales Pipeline

    1. Generating Leads — Using Sales Channels

    21 Lead Generation Strategies
    7 Deadly Sins of Lead Generation
    Marketing Benefits of Using Lead Generation
    Five Ways to Beat Prospecting Anxiety
    How to Generate More Leads

    A lead is a potential customer. (Later, in the sales process, you will qualify the lead to determine if he/she is a prospect, that is, is someone who is very likely to buy from you.) Sales channels are the methods by which salespeople and customers communicate with each other. The resources that are referenced in this subtopic usually give advice about how best to use a particular channel in sales, but don’t go primarily with that advice — also follow the guidelines in each phase of a sales process, so that you’re following guidelines in a systematic manner.

    Direct Postal Mail (Sales Letters)

    How to Write Direct Mail Sales Letters
    Sample Images of Sales Letters
    Direct Mail Marketing – 101
    10 Direct Mail Order Ideas to Boost Your Response

    Also see
    Using Direct Mail
    Business Writing

    Email

    Steps to Selling by Email
    Writing Email Copy That Turns Into Sales

    Email Marketing vs. Email Sales

    Also see
    Email Marketing
    Email Writing, Management and Policies

    Face-to-face

    The Importance of Face-to-Face Selling
    Face-to-Face Sales Training
    The Importance of Face-to-Face Sales in a Sales 2.0 World

    Also see
    Communications (Interpersonal)
    Interpersonal Skills

    Internet and Web

    The 10 Secrets of Selling Online
    Birth of an E-Salesman: A Tragedy in One Act

    Also see
    Computer, Internet and Web
    Social Networking

    Social Networking

    Boosting Your Sales With Social Networking
    5 Social Networking Steps for Sales Professionals

    Also see
    Computer, Internet and Web
    Social Networking

    Telemarketing (Phone)

    Cold Calls
    Selling on the Phone
    It Takes Practice to Sell Successfully Over the Phone

    Also see
    Communications (Interpersonal)
    Interpersonal Skills

    Trade Shows

    Ten Trade Show Exhibit Best Practices
    How to Increase Your Trade Show Sales
    Learn How to Maximize Your Trade Show Success

    2. Qualifying the Client — Is Client a Prospect?

    Once you have a list of leads, you need to qualify them, that is, you need to assess whether they are likely to buy your product or service based on, for example, their needs and wants, match between their needs and wants and the nature of your products and services, key decisions by the decision makers, ability to pay and preferences for the timing to buy. A qualified lead is a prospect. (Depending on the nature of your product or service, you might be asked to provide a proposal, even without having an opportunity to more carefully qualify the lead. In that situation, you can skip to the section Proposals.)

    7 Prospecting Ideas That Work
    Sales Prospecting Myths
    Sales Prospecting Techniques — How Winners Prospect
    80-20 Rule of Customers: Stop Thinking 20th Century! Attract Only the Top 20%

    First Impressions and Establishing Rapport With Leads

    10 easy ways to build a quick rapport with anyone
    Value of Building Rapport

    Also see
    Communications (Interpersonal)
    Interpersonal Skills

    Understand the Needs and Wants of Each Lead — Ask the Right Questions

    One of the worst approaches now is to start “pitching” or pushing your product or service. Instead, learn more about the lead, especially by asking useful questions. Here’s where the guidelines in the previous topic Understanding Types of Clients and How to Engage Them are especially useful because you’ll need to really understand more about the lead in order to discern if they are a prospect, if they are likely to buy from you.

    What are the Secrets of Question Based Selling ?
    World’s Best Sales Questions
    Your Customer is Lying — Did You Catch It?

    Also see
    Skills in Questioning

    Getting to Decision-Makers

    Often, the person you first contact is not the person who ultimately will decide whether to buy from you. So even if the first person really likes your product or service, it’s as important that you influence the real decision maker. Many times, that person is a very busy upper manager who does not want to be bothered by someone trying to sell something to him or her.

    Identifying Sales Prospects: Gatekeepers, Influencers, and Decision Makers
    Reaching the Decision Maker
    How to Reach Decision Makers

    Following-Up With Potential Prospects

    Effective follow-up shows you are thorough in your work and are sincerely committed to working with the prospect. Also, your follow-up often reminds the prospect of your initial contact– a contact that they might have forgotten in their busy work lives.

    How to Be Persistent in Sales Without Annoying Your Prospects
    Follow-Up Marketing — How to Win More Sales With Less Effort
    Follow-Up Calls Can Give You the Competitive Edge
    Knowing When to Follow-Up a Sale (includes for prospects)

    3. Sales Interviews and Presentations With Prospects

    Effective Sales Presentations

    Keys to Great Sales Presentations
    How to Creata Powerful Sales Presentation
    How to Recession-Proof Your Sales Pitch

    Also see
    Presenting

    Convincing the Customer and Dealing With Objections

    6 Techniques for Effective Objection Handling
    Dealing with Difficult Customers
    The Ultimate Guide to Objection Handling: 40 Common Sales Objections & How to Respond

    Also see
    Power and Influence

    4. Sales Proposals and Negotiations

    Proposals and Sales Letters

    If you have been successful in prospecting the lead and the prospect indeed is interested in your product or service, then you might be asked to provide a proposal that provides more information about your organization, its products and services, and how you would work with the potential client. The client also might be asking several vendors to provide proposals, so that the client can have more choices from which to choose.

    How to Write the Perfect Sales Letter
    Proposal Checklist
    Sales Letters and Proposals
    How to Write a Sales Proposal

    Negotiations

    Often, your proposal or sales letter is the first time that the client really absorbs the details of the opportunity that you’re bring to him or her. It’s not uncommon that the client wants to modify certain terms or pricing. Thus, it’s useful for you to have at least some basic skills in negotiating.

    Negotiating the Price You Deserve – The Salesperson’s Dilemma
    Managing the Sales Negotiation Process
    Managing the Sales Negotiation Process
    Sales Strategy Checkup

    Also see
    Conflicts (Interpersonal)
    Negotiating

    5. Closing the Sale

    The closing process is getting the commitment of the prospect to buy your product or service. The close is when the client has committed. It represents the close, or ending, of the sale process. However, many would assert that the sales process really doesn’t end there, rather the sales process continues to ensure a strong, successful relationship with the client even after a contrast has been signed.

    Techniques for Closing

    Tips for Closing the Sale
    Closing the Sale Is Just the Beginning
    After You Close a Deal

    Sales Contracts

    Contract of Sale
    Understanding Sales Contracts
    Many Images of Sales Contracts Sample Sales Contracts

    Also see
    Business Contracts

    6. Account Maintenance and Management

    What’s Account Maintenance and Management?

    Account Maintenance
    How to Development Key Account Management Strategy
    After You Close a Deal

    Also see
    Management

    Customer Service

    One of the main responsibilities in this phase of the sales process is responding to the needs and questions from customers. This phase also is where you can learn a lot about how well your product or service is meeting the needs of customers, and about any changes that you might want to make to those products and services. The following link is to many other links about customer service.
    Customer Service

    Customer Satisfaction

    The ultimate goals of a sales process should be customer satisfaction. Without that, the revenue won’t follow. The necessary learning won’t follow about how to continue to improve products and services, about how to innovate to produce new products and services. The following link is to many other links about customer satisfaction.

    Also see
    Customer Satisfaction

     


    Miscellaneous Perspectives — Challenges and Pitfalls

    Various Philosophies of Marketing and Sales

    Before reading the following links, the reader is encouraged (if he or she has not yet) to scan the subtopics in this overall topic to get a sense of the activities required in sales and the order of those activities. This is in lieu of trying to learn about sales primarily be reading numerous different perspectives and opinions. Do come back to read some of the following after getting an overall impression of sales.

    The Ultimate Guide to Relationship-Selling
    Who is selling your product?
    Don’t Take the Sales Order
    Are you Pushy? How do you Pull in Sales Instead?
    Mean Target Marketing-Parents Beware

    Challenges and Pitfalls

    6 Trailblazing Ways Around Sales Productivity Pitfalls 
    Hard Sell — Solutions to the 21 Biggest Sales Problems
    Pitfalls in Your Direct Sales Business


    Managing Yourself for Succussful Sales

    Staying Motivated

    Achieving Sales Goals Requires Drive and Motivation
    Images for Self Motivation
    Motivating and Inspiring Yourself
    Sales Motivation: A Game-Changing Strategy to Beat Your Competitors

    Also see
    Motivation

    Keeping Positive Attitude

    Do You Have a “Sales Success” Attitude?
    In Sales, Your Attitude is Important
    What Sales Attitude Should You Have?
    Change That Negative Attitude and Increase Your Sales

    Also see
    Attitude

    Organizing Yourself

    Organizing Yourself From the Inside Out
    You Can Do It: No Fail Ways to Finally Get Yourself Organized
    Organizing Yourself Isn’t an Instant Process

    Also see
    Organizing Yourself

    Managing Your Time and Stress

    Are You In Control of or Controlled By Technology?

    Basics of everyday planning and tasks management
    Triple Your Personal Productivity

    Also see
    Stress Management
    Time Management
    Work-Life Balance


    Managing Sales Activities and Sales Forces

    Sales Staffing and Training

    Sales Force Structure
    Expand Your Sales Force – Part 1 of 2
    Expand Your Sales Force – Part 2 of 2
    Sales Training
    Sales Training & Techniques
    Sales Success Rules – Free Sales Training
    The Dirty Secret of Effective Sales Coaching
    How to Use Virtual Sales Clerks

    Also see
    Staffing
    Team Building
    Training

    Sales Forecasting and Goals

    3 Methods of Sales Forecasting
    Conduct a Sales Forecast
    7 Steps to Achieving Your Sales Goals

    Also see
    Staffing
    Team Building

    Motivating Sales Force

    Expand Your Sales Force – Part 1 of 2
    Expand Your Sales Force – Part 2 of 2
    Optimizing Sales Performance
    Sales Managers: Are You Motivating in the Middle?
    Building the Killer Sales Force
    How to Manage a Virtual Sales Force
    Five Ways to Re-Energize Sales

    Also see
    Employee Performance Management
    Motivating

    Measuring and Evaluating Sales Effectiveness

    5 Ways You Should Be Measuring Sales Performance
    Evaluating Your Sales Techniques
    Measuring Sales Force Performance
    When to Set Sales Performance Reviews
    Are Your Sales Reps Spending Too Much Time in Front of Customers?

    Also see
    Evaluations
    Evaluating Performance

    Compensating Sales Force

    How to Set Up a Sales Commission Plan
    The State of Sales Compensation
    3 Tips to Design a Sales Compensation Plan

    Also see
    Benefits and Compensation


    General Reources

    Resources Providing Many Resources

    Websites With Many Free Resources for Nonprofits and For-Profits
    Optimizing Sales Performance (an online book)
    Inc’s numerous articles about sales
    SalesMarks.com articles
    B2B sales leads tools for business-to-business marketing

    Glossary and Dictionaries About Sales

    Sales Dictionary
    Glossary of Sales Definitions
    Glossary of Sales and Selling Terms

    Free Tools and Templates

    10 Free Sales and Resources
    Free Sales Plan Templates
    15 Free Online Sales Tools