The selling process beings with the upfront impressions others have of us. Just as a visitor can click an X on the computer screen to make the view go away, our persona will either deter or attract attention. Therefore, a few tips are listed below to help you advance the sales cycle.

Notice the method of initial contact.

Initially, continue the dialogue via the same method that was initiated. But as the conversations become more frequent and lengthier, ask if the prospect would be interested in speaking over the phone, using Skype, or meeting in person if you are located nearby.

This is how opportunities are born, business develops and partnerships are formed.

Using simple etiquette will go a long way.

Have you ever been invited to a coffee meeting where the inviting party already bought his coffee and snack? I view this as rude and begin to question other behaviors of the person. The initial silent critique can easily becomes a downward spiral further diminishing the credibility of the other person.

When attempting to sell or develop a relationship, it is far better to get the other person’s perspective first and show that you’re attentive to their needs. In the coffee meeting example, wait until the person arrives and ask what they might like. Offer to pay and enjoy the treats together. This proves to be a far more hospitable approach. The conversation will be far more relaxed and more likely to be rewarding at the end.

Speaking of eating, should you invite a prospect or client to join you for lunch or dinner, be certain to have a lively conversation on everything except business. Only speak about business if the other party brings the subject up. Otherwise, try to get to know your companion on a personal level such as family, hobbies, or other special interests such as travel.

Your lunch companion will be thrilled that you attempted to become better acquainted instead of trying to sell to them throughout the meal. Toward the end of the meal, or when you are waiting for the check to arrive, will be the perfect time to bring up the matter of business and purpose for getting together. You earned the right to do so by being a gracious host and paying the bill.

People buy you as much as the product or service you sell.

While the quality of your offering is important, other businesses probably also offer competing products and services. It becomes essential to convey you and your business’ unique approach to business.

In all you do, communicate what makes you special and include an underlying theme of why people should purchase from you. Marketing experts refer to this as developing your personal brand.

The more succinct and intriguing you make your brand sound, the more attention you will bring to your business. Once you have this well articulated, then you are ready to spread your message everywhere for an all out branding campaign.

Before you attempt to go “everywhere” promoting your campaign, consider the time commitment and where your preferred audience resides. The answer will correlate with your priorities and what interests you the most. Whatever seems like drudge-work should be discarded or outsourced to another.

Just as advertising sometimes captures our attention because of the new product or clever verbiage, your personal or small business branding messaging should come across the same way.

In summary, establish credibility first, build the relationship and then you will more easily be able to secure the sale. You now have the secret to securing the Smooth Sale!