We've covered prospecting, the initial contact, qualifying the client, the presentation, and meeting objections and concerns. The final two steps of the seven-step selling cycle are closing the sale and referrals.

Closing the sale. If you've done a good job with the first five steps then this step will be easy. To close the sale you have to ask for the order. Create an agenda for the final “closing the sale” meeting. Go over plans, sign off, go over timing, price, and what to expect during the project. Reiterate the key features and benefits. Touch on the original main concerns and objections to be sure they're still covered. Generally when clients are getting close, they'll ask questions about the terms of the sale and about meeting their time frame.

You should have shown and explained the contract to the client early in the sales process. You need a system that forces you to call, e-mail, or visit every client until they say “go” or “no.”

Referrals. The selling does not end when the project ends. If you do everything you say and have a satisfied client, you'll have a referral opportunity. Some happy clients automatically tell other people about what your company did, but you can't take this for granted. Ask clients if you can take a photo of the completed job. Ask them if they will write a letter of thanks and a testimonial. Put both of these in your scrapbook and use them as a sales tool. Offer clients an incentive for referrals, such as gift certificates. Place these clients on a mailing list and keep them up to date on your company and products. Take care of these clients. They are your greatest source of new prospects and take you back to step one in the selling cycle. —Hank Darlington is a sales consultant and instructor. Contact Darlington Consulting at 916.652.6855 or cod5@juno.com.