It does not matter what you sell.  Every sale follows  the same pattern.  In fact, it is the exception that does not include the steps listed by Wendy Connick in her article, “The  Stages of the Sales Cycle.”  You can read the entire article and related links at: http://sales.about.com/od/salesbasics/tp/The-Seven-Stages-Of-The-Sales-Cycle.htm?p=1 and related links are listed at the bottom of this article as cited on the Cambeo Blog article.

1. Prospect for Leads1

You can’t prospect effectively without knowing all about your product(s)2. If you don’t understand the product, how could you know who will want to buy it?

2. Set an Appointment3

It’s time to use those leads you collected in stage 1. Many salespeople prefer to cold call over the phone, but you can also call in person, send email or even mail out sales letters.

3. Qualify the Prospect4

The qualification stage usually takes place at the appointment itself, although you can also qualify briefly during your initial contact. The idea is to confirm that your prospect is both able and potentially willing to buy your product.

4. Make Your Presentation5

The presentation is the core of every sales cycle, and it’s probably where you’ll invest the most preparation time. Keep in mind that you’re not just selling your product… you are also selling yourself! You represent your company, so appearance counts6.

5. Address the Prospect’s Objections7

Here’s where you get to deal with your prospect’s concerns. The one you’ll hear most often? “I have to think about it.”8

6. Close the Sale9

Once you’ve made your presentation and answered your prospect’s questions and objections, it’s time to ask for the sale. This is the second-most neglected stage of the sales cycle… which is especially sad given that it’s probably the most critical one.

7. Ask for Referrals10

This is hands down the most commonly neglected step. Too many salespeople are so relieved to get a sale that they grab their things and race out the door the second they get the chance, for fear the prospect will change their mind!