I recently gave two presentations to MBA and BBA students at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto on the topics of Sales and Entrepreneurship. I shared with them the sales process that I find most effective when converting prospects into paying customers, and the feedback I received was tremendous. After the presentations, students came up to me one by one asking if I could elaborate on each milestone of the process.

Here’s the link to the slide show presentation on SlideShare going into details about each step: The 10-Step Sales Process

Organizations spend a ton of money on driving qualified traffic to their websites and on converting them into inbound leads. It’s methodical to the point that almost every pixel on their website, and every keyword they advertise, plays a specific role in generating more and more quality leads. The same attention to detail is often times missing when it comes to the follow up process once a lead is sent to a sales person. This is often done ad hoc, without planning, and it’s time to take the same methodical approach on the sales side of things and start generating more revenue for your business.

So today I’m going to share with you the 10-Step Sales Process that I learned and follow in which the completion of each step brings you closer to closing the deal. These 10 steps will be broken down into more detail in my upcoming book that I am co-writing with Earl Robertson that combines over 40 years of sales leadership, training, and hands-on selling experience.

1. Prospecting Stage: Determine who your target demographic is, how to target them, and what are the buying centers you need to reach out to.

2. Qualifying Stage: Confirm ability to make decisions, determine budget constraints, explore the need and understand their timeline.

3. Initial Meeting & Needs Discovery Stage: Build trust, outline your agenda, share valuable industry insights, bring value to the customer, and tailor the presentation to your customer’s needs.

4. Needs Analysis: Discuss the company’s background and current situation, explore challenges, discuss negative implications of not overcoming challenges, discover positive outcomes of solving challenges today.

5. Presentation/Product or Service Demo: Demonstrate the features, explain the benefits relating to the customer, and discuss the improvements that could occur to their overall business and career if they use your solution to address their challenges.

6. Proposal/Quotation Presentation: Double-check all spelling, grammar and calculations. Include all promises made and review with your prospect before sending to the final version.

7. Influencer Approves: Get feedback from your prospect and work through any issues, objections, or stalls that may arise. Determine the timeline for procurement and suggest that you present to the final decision maker or committee if their approval is still required.

8. Key Decision Maker or Committee Approves: Understand the key elements decisions are based on, how to approach committees and decision makers and how to handle objections.

Don’t celebrate yet; it may not be a done deal. Learn what can go wrong and how to address it.

9. Purchasing Approves: Purchasing might still have final vito power. If purchasing gets in the way, try to set up a meeting with them to take them through an expedited sales process to get them on the same page as your influencer or key decision maker/committee.

10. Product/Service Delivered & Payment Received: First payment is collected, and the work begins. The sales is considered closed at this time and your job now is to ensure a smooth on boarding takes place and the follow up process is setup and ready to deliver outstanding service and results and grow the relationship with your new customer.

By following this process, you are ensuring that either you and your customer are on the same page throughout their buying cycle otherwise you are better equipped to catch any mistakes that you’ve made and course correct. This process is better geared for business-to-business sales and needs to be altered to adapt to business-to-consumer sales.