What Is A Sales Process? Five Effective Sales Tactics To Close

A sales process is a system comprising a set of steps that the salesperson can follow to understand at which stage of the sales cycle the prospect is. A valid sales process can help salespeople shorten the sales cycle, and to align sales teams around common goals and processes.

Why sales processes matter

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables us to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand. This is an example of a journey potential customers might go through. This same process can be used by salespeople to target specific actions throughout the sales process, thus shortening the sales cycle. 

Closing a deal is the only thing that matters in the sales process. You can have many conversions and several people interested in your product or service, however, if no one decides to make that last step, you are wasting time.

Regardless of whether you work as a sales rep or as a founder of a business, closing a sale should be at the top of the “must-do” things on your daily activities list.

Many believe that selling is about showing up, pitching the prospect correctly and sometimes answer some of the prospect’s objections. Unfortunately, it is a little bit more complicated than that. Although many might try to “sell” you the secret formula for sales success (see the irony in that?), there’s no such thing as a ready-made method to close a sale.

Every situation is different. Every prospect has a different need. Every salesperson sells differently.

Selling is a combination of science and art. Understanding which factors can be controlled and how you can steer the wheel in your favor is the key to close more deals and take your business to the next level.

What Does It Mean “Closing A Sale”?

Understanding what the top salespeople do daily is going to give you an edge against your competition. One of the old adagios in Sales is “Always Be Closing.”

Top performers have this in their mind constantly; they work closely with prospects and get them to the finish line hand in hand. But, is it all about closing?

One of the biggest misconceptions for those who are not involved in sales as a profession is that closing a sale means signing a contract. To be successful in sales, you need to understand that the sales process is made of several steps and top performers break down this process in a series of micro-sales (or micro-wins).

Each step of the funnel takes the prospect a little bit closer to the big commitment. Implementing the following strategies will increase your chances to be successful.

Read also: What Is The AIDA Model And Why It Matters

What Do You Need To Do To Be Like A Superstar?

Before diving into effective strategies to close a sale, it’s important to lay down the basic rules that will differentiate you from the rest of the sellers out there in the market. Remember, selling is a mix of science and art. The science is made of strategies, the art is made of attitude.

To be successful in sales, you cannot just apply great strategies and wait for them to work. Selling is a tough job and needs you to be smart about it. Understanding the behavior of the best salespeople, regardless of their industry, will give you some ideas on what to work when it comes to you.

1. Believe In What You Sell

This might sound silly, however, there’s a lot of people who go out there and speak with prospects who constantly doubt their solution.

If you don’t believe that your solution is the best, how can you convey its value to the prospects you are talking to? Saying that you have the greatest service or product in the market and meaning it with words and behavior is very different.

2. A “No” Is Just One Step Towards A “Yes”

Understanding that getting Nos is part of the sales process will get you far ahead of most of the competition. Top performers are ready to get a rejection and move on. They are ready to close an opportunity if it doesn’t move forward.

The best salesmen move quickly and don’t waste time on a “no”. If you want to be successful at this game, you need to understand that rejection is a natural part of the process. To be the best, you need to understand what went wrong in the process.

Was the wrong prospect? Was the right prospect but too early for them? Was the pricing too high? Do a post-mortem analysis of rejection and learn from it, then move on and start again.

3. Talk About Value Not Features

Another common mistake that many do while selling is to talk about the features of a product or service. Do you really buy that camera because of the latest features or because the end result will be a fantastic photo?

Do you really buy that laptop because of the high-speed RAM or because you don’t want to be frustrated anymore when working on several projects at the same time? Features vs. value is one of the key points to understand in the sales process. Features are supporting arguments to the value your product or service brings to the prospects.

4. Stop Talking, Seriously

When you are the seller, there might be an inner expectation to be the one leading the conversation talking. You are indeed in the driver seat, however, it is crucial to understand what is the best way for you to control the conversation.

Great salespeople don’t get lost in their own words, they ask questions, they want to know more about the prospect’s needs.

What Are The Most Effective Strategies For Closing A Sale?

Moving onto the science part of the equation, there are strategies that you can implement in your daily activities to achieve better results.

It’s important to understand that implementing strategies alone while forgetting the art part of the equation won’t necessarily get you to the finish line.

1. Understand The Right Prospect Fit

Lead qualification is probably the most important step in the sales funnel. If you qualify a lead in the wrong way, you might end up wasting your time trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s crucial to focus only on those leads that meet your criteria as a company.

Before starting reaching out, you need to understand the answers to these questions:

  1. What type of company do I want to work with?
  2. How many people work there?
  3. What industry are they in?
  4. What title does my decision-maker hold?
  5. What’s the minimum investment the prospect needs to make so that everything is worth the effort?

All these questions should be clearly answered before you even start reaching out.

Almost two-thirds of all lost sales are the result of a poor qualification process. You might be thinking that because selling is a number game, then you need to reach out to as many people as possible, however, by doing so, you will diminish the opportunity to close the right deals for your company.

Not every sale is a good sale. To be successful, you need to assess the opportunity cost of closing and managing a bad account.

2. Don’t Give Up Too Early

As said, to be successful in sales, you need to break down your sales funnel into micro-steps. Aim at getting the prospect one step at the time ahead. You can’t expect to get the prospect to sign with you after the first meeting.

There’s a 2% chance that a lead will jump on working with your company after talking with you just once. Following up is the key to success in closing a deal. It has been reported that 50% of the sales happen after the 5th contact with a prospect, however, most sales reps give up after 2 touchpoints. Yes, you read that right. Prospects will either ignore you or find an excuse not to talk with you on average four times.

Following up should be a constant activity through the sales funnel, not just limited at the prospecting phase. How many times have you sent out a proposal and the prospect went dark? When “touching base” with them, did you just “ping them” or sent them valuable additional information to help them make the decision?

The average sales rep tend to “just follow up” with a prospect by sending a generic email and asking what’s going on the other side. All that comes across when you send that email out is “Hey, why haven’t you bought yet from me? Please, I really need this deal!”.

Following up for the sake of doing it yields no value. Make sure to be relevant and share with the insightful prospect information. It could also pay off to be bold. If the prospect is not answering maybe she is not ready to buy; why not just ask that?

3. Build Rapport

It’s one of the oldest saying around and yet so many people forget that. In sales, people buy people, not products. It is a basic thing but we often think that we need a better presentation, a better proposal, a better discount, and whatever else to close a sale. The reality, however, is that you just need yourself, your true self.

Prospects want to be treated like humans, not like banks. They want to talk to someone who cares about their situation and needs. Stop harassing them with useless proposals without even knowing what they are looking for. Take the time to build a long-lasting rapport with a prospect by being genuinely curious about what’s going on in their world. Put them in the center, not your product, service or company.

Don’t fall in the so-called sales disconnect. Have you ever wondered what the prospects want to hear in the first conversation with a salesperson?

Most of us will think that the last piece of information we should share with a prospect the very first time we are talking with them is a price, well, think again about it, pricing comes at the top of the list of what prospects care. Are you truly listening to your prospects’ needs? Because 69% of them think that sales reps are too focused on their own interests.

4. Create A Process For Objections Handling

The sales process is far from being a nicely paved highway. In fact, it’s more like a mountain road with a lot of bumps and obstacles to it.

On the way to the finish line, you will encounter several types of objections, these are a natural part of the “sales dance” you start with a prospect.

However, to be successful and make sure you focus on the right points, you need to be prepared. One of the most common mistakes organizations make is to forget to work on a simple, yet effective, objection handling document.

Anticipating and dealing with objections in the right way can simplify your way to success. Ignoring this step will leave you and your team in the uncertainty of the moment. Every answer you will give will be depending on the current state of mind and moreover, it might make you look like you don’t know what you are talking about.

There is no unified approach to objections handling, as the process might be different depending on the industry you operate. However, you can start to build a document by writing down the most common categories to which you usually get objections and think about those questions prospects might have.

5. Don’t Forget To Ask For It!

The biggest mistake in the sales process is not to ask for the sale. We often get caught up in minor actions and solving problems that we forget to ask for it. It’s a natural evolution of the sales conversation and yet so many people are afraid to ask the most important question.

Understanding how and when to ask for the sale is crucial to make sure you take the prospect through the finishing line. Even the most experienced sales reps tend to delay the magic moment because deep down inside them, they fear rejection.

Remember, as said earlier, a “no” is just another step towards the final “yes”. Although it’s normal to feel attached to a deal, especially if it is a big-ticket prospect or you have been working on it for months, delaying the key question will only make you lose important time.

So, when is the right moment to ask for it? Like anything else, there’s no exact moment in the sales process when you can or should ask for it, however, if you start thinking that you should go for the question, then probably you are already too late.

Selling is a process, if you have done your research, made sure the qualifying process was correct, ensure that it is the right fit for your company and answered all the important questions, then it’s probably the time to ask for the sale.


When it comes to sales, a lot of people deal with a different set of emotions. Not everyone is ready to make the right effort to close a sale.

Selling takes time, preparation and above all a sense for people. Remember that you are talking to another person. The moment you stop seeing the person in front of you as such, but she becomes just a number, then you are going to fail at this game.

The five strategies mentioned above for closing a sale will get you on the right path to create value for your prospect and increase the success rate for your company.

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Related Business Concepts

Business Development

Business development comprises a set of strategies and actions to grow a business via a mixture of sales, marketing, and distribution. While marketing usually relies on automation to reach a wider audience, and sales typically leverage a one-to-one approach. The business development’s role is that of generating distribution.

Sales vs. Marketing

The more you move from consumers to enterprise clients, the more you’ll need a sales force able to manage complex sales. As a rule of thumb, a more expensive product, in B2B or Enterprise, will require an organizational structure around sales. An inexpensive product to be offered to consumers will leverage on marketing.

Sales Cycle

A sales cycle is the process that your company takes to sell your services and products. In simple words, it’s a series of steps that your sales reps need to go through with prospects that lead up to a closed sale.


RevOps – short for Revenue Operations – is a framework that aims to maximize the revenue potential of an organization. RevOps seeks to align these departments by giving them access to the same data and tools. With shared information, each then understands their role in the sales funnel and can work collaboratively to increase revenue.


In negotiation theory, BATNA stands for “Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement,” and it’s one of the key tenets of negotiation theory. Indeed, it describes the best course of action a party can take if negotiations fail to reach an agreement. This simple strategy can help improve the negotiation as each party is (in theory) willing to take the best course of action, as otherwise, an agreement won’t be reached.


In negotiation, WATNA stands for “worst alternative to a negotiated agreement,” representing one of several alternative options if a resolution cannot be reached. This is a useful technique to help understand what might be a negotiation outcome, that even if negative is still better than a WATNA, making the deal still feasible.


The ZOPA (zone of possible agreement) describes an area in which two negotiation parties may find common ground. Indeed, ZOPA is critical to explore the deals where the parties get a mutually beneficial outcome to prevent the risk of a win-lose, or lose-win scenario. And therefore get to the point of a win-win negotiation outcome.

Revenue Modeling

Revenue modeling is a process of incorporating a sustainable financial model for revenue generation within a business model design. Revenue modeling can help to understand what options make more sense in creating a digital business from scratch; alternatively, it can help in analyzing existing digital businesses and reverse engineer them.

Customer Experience Map

Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.

AIDA Model

AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. That is a model that is used in marketing to describe the potential journey a customer might go through before purchasing a product or service. The AIDA model helps organizations focus their efforts when optimizing their marketing activities based on the customers’ journeys.

Social Selling

Social selling is a process of developing trust, rapport, and a relationship with a prospect to enhance the sales cycle. It usually happens through tech platforms (like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more), which enable salespeople to engage with potential prospects before closing the sale, thus becoming more effective.

CHAMP Methodology

The CHAMP methodology is an iteration of the BANT sales process for modern B2B applications. While budget, authority, need, and timing are important aspects of qualifying sales leads, the CHAMP methodology was developed after sales reps questioned the order in which the BANT process is followed.

BANT Sales Process

The BANT process was conceived at IBM in the 1950s as a way to quickly identify prospects most likely to make a purchase. Despite its introduction around 70 years ago, the BANT process remains relevant today and was formally adopted into IBM’s Business Agility Solution Identification Guide.

MEDDIC Sales Process

The MEDDIC sales process was developed in 1996 by Dick Dunkel at software company Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). The MEDDIC sales process is a framework used by B2B sales teams to foster predictable and efficient growth.

STP Marketing

STP marketing simplifies the market segmentation process and is one of the most commonly used approaches in modern marketing. The core focus of STP marketing is commercial effectiveness. Marketers use the approach to select the most valuable segments from a target audience and develop a product positioning strategy and marketing mix for each.

Sales Funnels vs. Flywheels

The sales funnel is a model used in marketing to represent an ideal, potential journey that potential customers go through before becoming actual customers. As a representation, it is also often an approximation, that helps marketing and sales teams structure their processes at scale, thus building repeatable sales and marketing tactics to convert customers.

Pirate Metrics

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.


The general concept of Bootstrapping connects to “a self-starting process that is supposed to proceed without external input.” In business, Bootstrapping means financing the growth of the company from the available cash flows produced by a viable business model. Bootstrapping requires the mastery of the key customers driving growth.

Virtuous Cycles

The virtuous cycle is a positive loop or a set of positive loops that trigger a non-linear growth. Indeed, in the context of digital platforms, virtuous cycles – also defined as flywheel models – help companies capture more market shares by accelerating growth. The classic example is Amazon’s lower prices driving more consumers, driving more sellers, thus improving variety and convenience, thus accelerating growth.

Sales Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Enterprise Sales

Enterprise sales describes the procurement of large contracts that tend to be characterized by multiple decision-makers, complicated implementation, higher risk levels, or longer sales cycles.

Outside Sales

Outside sales occur when a salesperson meets with prospects or customers in the field. This sort of sales function is critical to acquire larger accounts, like enterprise customers, for which the acquisition process is usually longer, more complex and it requires the understanding of the target organization. Thus the outside sales will cut through the noise to acquire a large enterprise account for the organization.


A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.

Sales Distribution Framework

Zero to One is a book by Peter Thiel. But it also represents a business mindset, more typical of tech, where building something wholly new is the default mode, rather than building something incrementally better. The core premise of Zero to One then is that it’s much more valuable to create a whole new market/product rather than starting from existing markets.

Palantir Acquire, Expand, Scale Framework

Palantir is a software company offering intelligence services from governments and institutions to large commercial organizations. The company’s two main platforms Gotham and Foundry, are integrated at enterprise-level. Its business model follows three phases: Acquire, Expand, and Scale. The company bears the pilot costs in the acquire and expand phases, and it runs at a loss. Where in the scale phase, the customers’ contribution margins become positive.

Consultative Selling

Consultative selling is a sales approach favoring relationship building and open dialogue to adequately meet the needs of a prospective customer. By building trust quickly a consultative selling approach can help the customer better meet her/his expectations and the salesperson hit her/his targets more effectively.

Unique Selling Proposition

A unique selling proposition (USP) enables a business to differentiate itself from its competitors. Importantly, a USP enables a business to stand for something that they, in turn, become known among consumers. A strong and recognizable USP is crucial to operating successfully in competitive markets.

Read: product development frameworks here.

Read Next: SWOT AnalysisPersonal SWOT AnalysisTOWS MatrixPESTEL AnalysisPorter’s Five ForcesTOWS MatrixSOAR Analysis.

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