5 Easy Steps to Nailing a Sale

business partners, partnership concept with two businessman handshake

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would enjoy being in sales, I would have laughed. I am the opposite of pushy, don’t love speaking in front of large groups, and only want what is best for people.

Looking back, that thinking came from me not fully understanding what it takes to be in sales. Now that I have a better understanding, sales is one of the elements I enjoy most about my position. It’s not about being pushy and can most definitely include wanting what is best for someone. It’s about listening, providing value, and developing a relationship. The tough “Always be closing” is a thing of the past.

Today, nailing a sale and nurturing a relationship goes hand and hand. Especially when it comes to bigger ticket items such as landing a new consulting gig.

Below are 5 easy steps that I have learned, and try to follow for every single sales opportunity that comes my way.

Do the Research

There is absolutely no excuse not to at least Google the person you are trying to sell to. A next easy step from there is turning to social media to learn a bit more about their experience and/or personal life. It is incredible what you can find out about people online these days, don’t let that resource go to waste. A huge key to selling is establishing a relationship. If you can find something in common with the person before you get on a call, you are one step ahead. You might also be able to find a positive thing to congratulate them on, such as a birthday, graduation, or an award.  The goal here is to either establish a connection or kick things off on a good note.

Ask the right questions

A second very important thing to keep in mind in sales is asking the right questions. People love to talk, if you can get them going, it is usually a good thing. Ask questions with the goal to get the prospect to admit any pain points they may have. And of course, actually listen to what they have to say with they start speaking. Don’t think about where the conversation is going or what you want to ask next, simply sit, listen, and take in what they are saying. The goal is you could then swoop in with a solution to help them fix any pain points and allow them to go back to only focusing on things they love.

Build Trust

Selling is about building trust. By giving away advice, almost to the point you may be feeling like you are giving away too much, you are able to establish a relationship with the client and to build that very important trust. When I have a sales call with a potential consulting client, I like to give them three very valuable recommendations that they could put into place regardless if we work together or not. I have found that this level of giving keeps the prospect engaged and appreciative for the direction.

Continue to Educate

The relationship doesn’t stop after you say your goodbye on a phone call. And the next step is not as simple as sending a proposal and asking for money. Content is king these days in terms of getting your message out there. However, it is equally important when it comes to sales. We have a large library of eBooks on various marketing-related topics. In addition, we have over 100 worksheets that help our clients focus on their marketing efforts. Access to this library allows me to send valuable resources to prospects after a phone call ends versus simply turning on the hard sales press.

Use tools to track leads

There are so many great tools available to keep tabs on the leads in your funnel. One of my new favorites is called Pipedrive. In a very visual way, Pipedrive allows me to see what phase my leads are in. You start with setting up your own funnel with specific steps in your sales process. Next, you add your leads and any information you have on them. Finally, you can set reminders for calls, emails and meetings and get an email in your inbox each day you have a reminder set.  This helps keep my inbox as clutter-free as possible – which is always a goal for me.

Sara JantschSara Jantsch is the Vice President of Operations at Duct Tape Marketing.  She oversees day-to-day operations to support the growth of Duct Tape Marketing and the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.  She focuses on strategic planning, goal setting and directing the operations of the company in support of its goals.  Sara is also a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and has a very strong passion for working with small business owners that started back at the dinner table as a child. Connect with Sara on Twitter.

How to Determine When A Lead Is Sales-Ready

Today’s Guest Post is by Ellen Gomes – Enjoy! 

Relay runners know that the exchanges make or break a race. The same is true for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re an enterprise industry with huge marketing and sales teams or a small business owner piecing everything together yourself, figuring out when a lead is ready to buy can be tricky business with potentially serious consequences.

Leading scoring is how successful business of all sizes “practice” the exchange. It is a key element to lead nurturing that helps companies determine whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or nurtured further. There are four basic dimensions to lead scoring:

1. Lead Fit
2. Lead Interest
3. Lead Behavior
4. Buying Stage

Each dimension will help you assign a number value to actions and characteristics that create a “score” for each lead. All you have to do then is determine what score makes him qualified for a sales contact.

Lead Fit

Scoring lead fit means collecting some data on your prospect. You can collect data with online forms for gated content or registrations.

  •  Demographics—This consists of information on the lead himself, such as his job title, years of experience, etc.
  •  Firmographics—This is information you want to capture about organizations, like the company size, revenue, and locations served.
  •  Budget, Authority, Need, Time (BANT)—This is more advanced qualification, but can tell you where the lead is in the buying journey by collecting information on her budget, purchasing timeline, etc.

Calculating an initial lead fit score will help you focus on those who might actually become sales.

Lead Interest

Determining lead interest involves monitoring a prospect’s interest in, and interaction with, your content and networks. This score will tell you how interested someone is in your brand, in addition to your information. Monitor behaviors like email opens and click-throughs, social media engagement, and downloads.

Lead Behavior

Monitoring lead behavior starts to move beyond determining if a lead is a good fit, to determining where she is on the buying journey. These scores are developed and honed over time, but if you know your audience and your industry, you can put together a strong initial estimate.

Consider which behaviors and online activities tend to correlate with leads which eventually become customers. Those are “active behaviors,” and should come with high scores. Conversely, “latent behaviors”—like early-stage content and blog posts—earn much lower scores.

Buying Stage

Determining a lead’s buying stage is the final touch to pinpointing where he is on the buying journey. One simple way to structure and score the buying stage is to align it with a traditional sales funnel.


  •  Early Stage—A person who is aware of your business but may or may not ever become a qualified lead. She will read blog posts, download infographics, and share funny videos.
  •  Mid Stage—This is when a person becomes a lead. He has engaged with your content over time, and displayed some of the usual buying behavior. He has moved on to content like buying guides and ROI calculators. He may have contacted you for more specific information.
  •  Late Stage—These are qualified leads that would either pass to sales or start receiving content like pricing, demos, and discount offers.

Once you establish criteria for your buying stages, it will be much easier to score leads and get an objective perspective on where they are on the buying journey.

Lead Nurturing Means Lead Scoring

Businesses that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost, and the metric for effective lead nurturing is a strategic lead scoring system. This process can help SMBs from the start, and scale as the business grows into an enterprise.

If you don’t have a system in place for scoring leads, it’s never too soon or too late to start, and no business is too big or too small. Start at the top by identifying some of the simple lead fit data points that characterize your target audience, and then score your current leads against them. Before you know it, you’ll be nurturing more effectively, timing sales calls perfectly, and closing more business.

Author: Ellen Gomes is a Content Marketing Specialist at Marketo and co-author of The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing—a newly released eBook that offers unique insights, and practical lessons for nurturing leads like the pros.

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