Just as making a cake requires following a recipe to get the perfect result, selling successfully also requires that you follow a recipe or a process.  

The process dictates what needs to be done, while at the same time, determines the result.  Several years ago when we lived in Ohio, our neighborhood decided to have a summer street party.  Games were planned for the children and activities were organized for the adults.  The food committee had previously circulated a recipe for lasagna to those neighbors who had volunteered to make the main dish.  The recipe had been written with exactness, with the expectation that ten people could make the same main course without variation.  That was a real eye-opener.  The food was delicious but did not resemble coming from a common recipe.  It looked different and tasted different.  We had ten different lasagna dishes--all from the same recipe.  The recipe was not followed with exactness and order.

Why would I recite this incident relating to selling and its process?  Too often salespeople look at their efforts and activity as isolated events with no common thread.  They are reinventing the sales process with each new sales opportunity.  These salespeople start all over again with the closing of each new sale.  They don’t know how to follow a pattern of success based on each proceeding sales situation.  The secret to achieving more profitable sales is to develop a sales process and repeat it each time.  Experiment with it and fine-tune the process until you achieve the exact result you are seeking.  Then, by following the process with each new sales opportunity, you will be maximizing the result and those results will become highly predictable.  Here is a list of activities that should become part of your sales process, your recipe for sales success.

  1. Plan and schedule your time and activities every day.  Begin by making a list of those things that must be done today.  Then determine other activities that should be done.  Once you have made the list, schedule a time to do each activity.  

  2. Prospect every day.  Look for new sales opportunities in every situation.  You will find them with current customers, past customers, past prospects, current prospects, leads, referrals, introductions, etc.  Sales opportunities are all around you if you will just pay attention.  Set a goal for the number of new prospects you will find each day.

  3. Meet with prospects every day.  The key to being successful at selling is centered on “seeing the people.”  If you were to meet with, and tell four or five people each day about your products and services, you couldn’t help but be successful.

  4. Make follow-up or romancing a part of every day.  The number one cause for poor sales results is lack of follow-up!  When you plan and schedule your day, plan and schedule who you will follow-up with that day.

  5. Identify which prospects you can close each day.  You may not close a sale every day, but you will at least be aware of each of your prospects and be planning when the sale will be completed.

  6. Ask for and receive no less than one new referral each day.  Receiving referrals is the difference between average and excellent salespeople.  Make the process of asking for referrals part of your daily sales process without fail.  If you knew that for every two referrals you asked for and received, you would close one sale, how many referrals would you ask for each day?

  7. Review your sales process and activity every day.  Know where you stand and what is needed to get to where you want to be.  Estimate your success for the day and week and month.  Work towards the achievement of your goals and get excited about your success.

  8. Review the status of each prospect every day.  Even if you won’t be doing anything with a prospect, review their status and make sure you have a detailed plan for turning them into a customer.

Selling doesn’t just happen because you are a salesperson.  The act of selling is a process of doing the right activities in the right order, at the right time.  Closing a sale is the result of following a process, even if you are unaware that the events followed a process.  As you follow the recipe for sales success, you will achieve more success than you ever imagined.