The secret to selling is to focus on the customer, not the sale. Below is a simple four-step process we follow at Swift Straw to make sure our sales meetings are both customer-focused and effective.
Build a connection - Spend time getting to know the customer. Once you have learned about where they are from, their family, their interests, etc., you can find connections that are the foundational component of any relationship.
Mine for problems - Ask the potential customer about the problems that they are currently facing. As Stephen Covey says, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Find a solution - Once you have a solid understanding of what their problems are, shift your focus to finding a solution that includes your offering. Only offer your solution if you truly believe it is a fit. If not, don't be afraid to offer an alternative. Remember, it is about helping the customer, not about the sale.
Define action items - If you both agree that your offering is a good fit, do not leave the conversation until you have defined action items detailing your next steps. Be very specific and schedule while you are together. Meetings left with intentions of keeping in touch usually lead to missed opportunity.
You don't need a special degree or a PhD to sell. Focus on the customer. Create a simple process that works for you and will ultimately best serve them.