How To Develop Your Entrepreneurial Sales Process

sales process

How many times have you wished you could have more control over your sales conversations?

Probably more times than you can count. We’ve all been there.

You go through your conversations with your prospects and you’re never quite sure where to go next. You’re not sure what you should be talking about and when.

The result is that you aren’t able to effectively lead your prospect to the sale. The conversation ends up feeling disjointed and uncertain. And you’re not quite sure why.

It’s maddening.

And this is why you need to create your own sales process. It’s a crucial component of entrepreneurial selling.

A sales process is the flow you take your prospects through when you are convincing them to become customers. It’s like a roadmap that you follow when you’re having your conversations with prospects.

A viable sales process will make it much easier for you to manage the conversations you’re having with your prospects. In short, it will help you close more deals. That’s what you want, right? Of course it is.  

In this post you will learn how to develop your own sales process so you can hear the word “yes” more often.


What Is A Sales Process?

It’s kinda hard to create a sales process when you don’t really know what one is, right?

Your sales process is a process that you will go through when you are convincing a prospect to become a client. It is made up of a sequence of stages where  you will use a set of sales tactics to move the conversation forward.

Each of these stages are designed to move the prospect closer to buying. When laying out your sales process, you will identify the moves you will make in order to keep the conversation moving.

Of course, each entrepreneur’s sales process will look different. But the fundamentals will remain the same. If you follow this framework, you will be able to create a killer sales flow that will make your prospects beg to buy your offer.

Before I continue, there is one important thing to keep in mind. Your sales process is a guideline. You don’t have to follow it 100%. As a matter of fact, most of the time you won’t be able to.

Just like no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, no sales plan survives contact with your prospects. Your sales process serves as a plan that you will use in your sales interactions.


Developing Your Entrepreneurial Selling Process

There are six steps to your sales process. The moves you use in each step are designed to get you to the next step. This progression will continue until the customer either buys, or tells you to go pound sand. Let’s hope for the former.


Step 1: Preparation

This takes place before you actually begin your conversation with your prospect. It’s really really really important.


Because it keeps you from wasting your precious time. This is the part when you will research your prospect in order to see if they are a good fit for your offering. You want to determine whether or not the prospect is worth pursuing.

Here’s what you will need to know beforehand:

  • How likely is it that your prospect will need your offering?
  • Are they likely to be able to afford it?
  • Is there anything that would indicate that they won’t be open to buying?

Don’t worry too much about getting the exact answers to these questions beforehand. This is just a way to “pre screen” your prospect.

When you’re actually speaking with them, you’re going to qualify them before you continue with the conversation anyway. This will help you eliminate any prospects that obviously aren’t a fit for your offering.


Step 2: The Positioning

This stage is the actual start of the sales conversation. It’s when you introduce yourself and your company. This is where you will make your first impression. Needless to say, it’s very very important.

Ron Karr said:

“The way you position yourself at the beginning of a relationship has profound impact on where you end up.”

It’s true. If you don’t position yourself effectively, it could jeopardize your sales efforts. You must get this part right.

Fortunately, it’s pretty simple.

There are three main components of effective positioning:

  • Tell them who you are.
  • Tell them the benefits you bring.
  • Tell them why they should believe you.

Obviously, I don’t need to explain how to tell people who you are and who your company is. But after that, you need to tell them the main benefit your company provides.

After your benefit, you need to provide proof. Give your prospect a short example of how you have provided this benefit for others. You’re not going to tell a long story. Just one sentence should do.

Here’s an example:

Hello, I’m Thomas from ABC Marketing Consulting Agency (who you are). We specialize in helping professional services firms generate more leads and win more clients (your benefit). We just helped a client double their leads and increase their revenue by 20% (proof).

One thing that’s important to note here is that you’re not just going to position yourself once. Positioning isn’t just for your introduction. You want to remind your prospect of your main benefit throughout the conversation.

Whenever it’s appropriate, insert your positioning into the conversation. At some points, it may be a good idea to remind them what benefit your company brings. It also may be a good idea to give some other examples of how you have solved other customer’s problems.


Step 3: Discovering Your Prospect’s Needs

I would argue that this is the most important part of the sales process. Unfortunately, it tends to be the most neglected. Many beginners make the mistake of rushing through this part.

That’s the last thing you want to do. I’m serious. Don’t do it.

If I catch you rushing through this part of the process, it won’t be pretty!

Now then, this is the part of the process when you get to know your prospect. It’s when you find out as much about them as possible. The reason this is so important is that it becomes almost impossible to pitch effectively when you’re not really sure what your prospect’s pain points are.

If you try to present a solution to your prospect before you really know them, you’re basically shooting in the dark. Take your time and ask the right questions. You’ll be glad you did.

The types of questions you should ask should fall into these categories:

  • Qualifying: Find out if your customer will need, want, or be able to afford your offering before going any further in the conversation.
  • Current state: Find out how things are for your customer right now. Find out how they feel about it.
  • Goals: Find out where your prospect wants to be. How do they want things to change?
  • Obstacles: After finding out where your prospect wants to be, find out what’s keeping them from getting there. This is where you discover their pain points.

Along with getting to know your prospect, there’s another reason you should take the time to ask questions. It builds trust.

The more someone talks to you, the more they grow to like and trust. This is especially true if you’re an attentive listener. It shows your prospect that you’re truly interested in getting to know them, not just selling your product.

In his book “How To Win Friends And Influence People” Dale Carnegie discusses the importance of encouraging others to talk. It’s one of the best ways to get people to like you.

Before we go forward, I’ll give one word of warning: do not pitch in this stage. Seriously. You’ll be tempted to pitch, but don’t do it. There will be plenty of time for that later, I promise.


Step 4: Presenting The Solution

Now it’s time to pitch. See? I kept my promise.

This is the part where you will pitch your solution. Note that I said “solution.” Not product or service.

Of course, you are going to use your product or service to solve your prospect’s problems. But you need to approach this with the mindset that you’re helping your customer, not just selling your offering.

If you handled the previous stage the right way, you have a full understanding of your prospect. You know what things are like for them right now, you know how they want things to be, and you know what’s keeping them from getting there. Because of this, you can give an effective pitch.

Here’s the basic rule of thumb when it comes to presenting a solution: talk about benefits more than features.

What the heck does this mean?

Here’s the difference between features and benefits:

  • Features: Describes what your offering does. Can also describe the parts and pieces that make up your offering.
  • Benefit: Describes how your offering makes your prospect’s life easier. It’s the positive impact that your offering has on your prospect.

I believe an example is in order.

Let’s say you sell mattresses. A feature would be the superior support your mattresses provide. A benefit would be the fact that this superior support gives the customer a better night’s sleep, which means she will feel much more rested in the morning.

See the difference? Let’s try another.

You’re a law firm that specializes in intellectual property. A feature would be the fact that you give legal advice on intellectual property. A benefit would be the fact that your clients are able to ensure that nobody can infringe on their intellectual property.

Here’s the thing: nobody cares about features until they know how these features make their lives better.

That’s why it’s so important to focus more on the benefit your prospect will get from your offer. They need to know how your offering is going to improve their lives. That’s why it’s better to talk more about the outcome of doing business with you rather than what you actually provide.

After you tell your customer how they will benefit from your company, then you can discuss features.


Step 5: The Close

This is the part that many people forget. It’s the moment when you ask for the business. Many times, entrepreneurs are afraid to do this.

Yes, it’s silly. I know.

But it’s true. The reason is because they don’t want to appear to be too pushy or aggressive. That’s understandable.

But here’s the thing…

If you have invested the time to position yourself the right way, gotten to know your prospect, and present an effective solution,  you have earned the right to ask for the business. There’s no need to feel like you’re being pushy.

Of course, the fact that you’ve earned the right to ask for the business doesn’t mean they will say “yes.” But it’s still something you must remember to do.

Your prospect’s response will be to either accept your offer, or raise an objection. You have to be prepared for both.

If your prospect objects, you need to make sure you understand the real reasons they’re objecting and see if you can address them. Overcoming objections isn’t always easy, but there are things you can do to address your prospect’s concerns.


Step 6: Fulfillment And Fostering Relationships

The sales process doesn’t stop after you finally make the sale. It can be tempting to simply take the customer’s order, then move on. This isn’t a good idea if you’re looking to earn more business.

After the sale you must make sure that you’re continuing to build the relationship. There’s a couple reasons for this:

  • You want to ensure that you retain the customer. Repeat business is a good thing!
  • When you focus on the relationship. your customers are more likely to refer you to others.

The best way to grow the relationship between you and your customers is to provide value at every opportunity. Depending on your type of business, you may be able to position yourself as more of a consultant.

One way to provide value is to continue to educate and inform your clients on things they need to know in your industry. Every time your customer interacts with your company, they should walk away from it better than they were before.

Yes, it’s a hefty goal, but it’s a great way to build your brand. If your customer views you as their resource, they will be more likely to remain loyal to your company.



When you have more control over the conversations you have with your prospects, you dramatically increase the odds that you will earn their business. Remember, your sales process serves as a guideline, not a rigid set of instructions that you must adhere to 100% on each interaction.

Having a roadmap will make it easier for you to navigate your way through your sales interactions. Simply put, a viable sales process will help you earn more business. Period. That’s what entrepreneurial selling is all about. 

If you need help developing your own sales process, I’ve created a tool that can help you figure this out. Check it out and shoot me an email if you need more input!

You can start the first part of the entrepreneurial sales process series here.


Keep moving forward.


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