Basics of effective Selling

Prepare Yourself

In the previous tips we have focused on the external demands and elements of the sale. Now we will focus on your specific talents. Image and presentation are both sales tools. When you emphasize these elements you will magnify your sales. Customers are will be drawn to you and your product when you project an air of confidence.

  • Understand the length of the sales cycle
  • Present a professional image
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop an effective presentation

Understand the Length of the Sales Cycle

The sales cycle time is how long it takes to make a sale from the initial contact, through the presentation and on to the close. Most sales cycles have an initial contact followed by series of presentations, conversations, and follow-ups (that take some time), then finally the close. In today’s environment the time it takes to complete the sales cycle can be as short as a few minutes or as long as 6-9 months or even more.

You should keep in mind that the more people involved in a decision, the longer the sales cycle; and the longer the sales cycle, the more important each sale is.

Understanding the cycle and the variables in the sales process will help you to adjust your approach accordingly.

Present a Professional Image

What do you mean by a Professional Image and why it is important?

Earlier we spoke about your sales tools. Your image is one of your most effective sales tools. Your credibility and judgement are projected by your professional image. The definition of a professional image is determined by your industry. A safe rule of thumb is to dress like a supervisor would dress in the industry you have targeted. Carefully gauge the situation, the client, and the location when you are deciding on your clothing

A professional image is not only your clothing, but also your briefcase, accessories, your speech and your body language. And if you might be driving a client somewhere occasionally, then it includes your car.

Part of portraying a professional image is maintaining a positive attitude. This benefits you both emotionally and professionally.

If you are selling machine tools you will probably wear business casuals, if you are selling banking services, a suit is more appropriate. Where you are selling the product and service is also important. If you are giving a presentation demonstrating a new power tool to a group you will wear safety glasses, if you are sitting down to dinner with a client in a very nice restaurant, then even if you’re selling tools, you will probably dress in a more formal manner.

In the last few years the term “politically correct” has been coined in business; politically correct defines new ways of interacting within the diverse workforce. The successful salesperson must be aware of these new rules and apply them in the sales presentation.

Positive Attitude

The real benefit of a positive attitude to you as a salesperson is that it insulates you against the inevitable rejections that you will face. By focusing on the positive aspects of your work, life, job, customers, etc., you will gain the poise and confidence necessary to understand that when a prospect says “no”, you are just that much closer to the prospect that will say “yes”. And with a positive attitude you can look at each “no” as an opportunity to learn how to be better for future situations.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

If you think about your own experience as a buyer or customer, you will realize that first-class sales people come in all shapes and sizes, and that the stereotypical fast-talking sales man or woman is just one of many personalities that have chosen sales as an occupation. That’s the good news!

However, there are some basic competencies and characteristics that will enhance your ability to be effective. Reflect on your communication skills, especially listening and speaking, and your attitudes toward negotiating and resolving conflicts.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Do you tell good jokes, build rapport easily, command respect, or explain details clearly? Each one of us has a set of talents and strengths we can capitalize on when selling. On the flip side we each have weaknesses that can either be eliminated through training and knowledge, or compensated for by emphasizing our strengths.

The clue here is to know what we have and don’t have and to draft a plan of action to respond accordingly. You cannot be all things to all people, so focus on the talents and skills you possess, try to overcome the weaknesses, and work at recognizing the difference between the two.

Develop an Effective Presentation

Each person learns and listens differently. As you talk to your customers notice how each person has a dominant way of assessing his or her world: some people are visual, they learn by looking at examples and pictures of your product; others are audio, they learn by listening to you talk about your product; and still others need to actually use the product to know if they want to buy it.

Most of us are a combination of the three styles to some degree. To sell your product, your job is to incorporate each of these elements into your sales presentation

We have provided a Sales Presentation Checklist Tool to help you design the right script and presentation for your products and audience


Although some people may initially resist it, creating and rehearsing a script is essential to your success. A script to anchor your presentation will keep you from getting nervous, stuttering, and becoming flustered. By practicing it at home, alone in the office, or while driving to work, you will imprint on your brain the critical elements of how and what to convey to your customer. This will help take the edge off of calling on the prospect and increase your comfort level with what you are going to say.

Also, by rehearsing a script you will begin to understand the psychology behind it. This will allow you to see where you are trying to take the prospect. All of these things will help you feel more confident and assured. That attitude is crucial to success. No one wants to do business with someone who doesn’t believe in herself, or in her product or service.