No matter what type of product or service you're selling, the more organized you are in your approach to customers, the more successful you will be. Corporations spend millions of dollars every year analyzing every last detail of how their salespeople are presenting. An intelligent, systematic approach can make the difference between building a solid retail foundation for your business and running your distributorship like a wholesale buying club.

Here are seven laws of selling that will greatly increase your odds of success if you follow them faithfully.

Law #1: Assess Their Needs
Nothing inflicts more damage on your long-term sales like trying to sell people things they don't want or need. Therefore, it makes sense to do a needs assessment with each prospect before you start recommending your products and services. Ask questions and pay attention to what the prospect is saying--and how he or she is saying it.

For example, if I were representing a nutritional line, my first question would be, "Do you believe in nutritional supplements?" If the prospect doesn't believe in the value of your product, you can tailor the presentation to convince them of the validity of what you offer.

My second question would be, "Are you currently taking nutritional supplements"? If yes, "What type and for how long have you been using them?" Be sure to formulate a series of questions that fit well with every possible response from the prospect.

Law #2: Prepare
The four most dangerous words in any presentation are, "I'll just wing it." Professional presenters never gamble their futures on a seat-of-the-pants approach.

The only thing more important than your desire to win is your desire to prepare to win. The real work in sales is done long before the presentation is made. Prepare your presentation well in advance of your meeting; rehearse it with your sponsor or upline leader, role-playing and re-rehearsing as often as possible. Have your sponsor or upline leader throw every possible objection at you and practice responding.

Law #3: Listen
One of the greatest secrets of great salespeople is that people love to buy but hate to be sold. If you will listen, they will tell you how to sell them.

Listen carefully and be sensitive to the feedback you're getting from your prospect. If you're truly prepared for the presentation, your attention will be available to allow you to read in between the lines and sense how your prospect is truly responding to you and your presentation.

Law #4: Ask for the Order
Once you have uncovered your prospect's needs and know what she wants, it's time to ask for the order. This is precisely the moment when many of us get squeamish and start to stutter and stammer; with proper practice and rehearsal, asking for the order will become routine.

Remember that people love to buy when they see how they will benefit from what you're offering. Don't be shy! Ask for the order.

Law #5: Follow Up
Once you ask for the order, no matter what answer you get, make sure that you always follow up. Your follow-up may take the form of a phone call, or perhaps a hand-written note expressing your appreciation for their allowing you to make your presentation.

If you do in fact get the order, follow-up is critical. And if you don't get the order, follow-up is even more critical: You'll need to maintain that relationship if you want to be able to make another presentation to that prospect in the future.

Law #6: Over-Deliver
Once you have the order, make certain that you over-deliver on every promise you've made. If your company ships products directly to the customer, make sure that you maintain contact with your customers by calling them to ensure that their products arrive on time and that they are happy with them.

Remember that one of the keys to your long-term success is not simply to make a sale but to maintain customers and steadily increase the amount of their average orders. For those of you with commodities, you want to gradually switch your customers' buying habits to your store. Since they're buying the products anyway, why not have them buy from you? Over-delivering is the key to repeat business and to consistently increasing orders.  

Law #7: Ask for Referrals
Once you have over-delivered on your promises to the customer, don't forget to ask for referrals! Most successful salespeople will tell you that they live and die on their referrals. Referrals give you an ongoing list of people to present your offerings to.

Many of us are embarrassed to ask our customers to help us. Don't be. People love to refer products and services they are satisfied with. Just like asking for the order, this is a skill that can be honed in rehearsal.

And once you have a referral, simply follow the seven laws again from the beginning.

I cannot overstate the importance of each one of these seven laws. Each is quite simple, yet extraordinarily powerful. And I've noticed that whenever I've blown a sale, I find that I have broken one or more of these seven laws, though this happens less and less often as the years go by.

With a little practice, patience, and attention to detail, you can become a master in the game of selling!

DAWN SIEBOLD
is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group, a training organization
that helps networkers develop world-class communication skills.

www.networkingtimes.com/link/siebold