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The Sales Process

Feb. 27, 2024
Cembre's Desiree Grace says a consistent and proven sales process will ensure a higher success rate on your sales calls.

Mr. Miyagi tries to teach young Daniel in The Karate Kid movies and Cobra Kai television series the importance of preparation and follow-through, among other things. Seasoned sales professionals also try to pass on best practices to those new to sales. Whether breaking a board or breaking into a new customer, you still need preparation and follow-through. It’s part of having a disciplined process.

The term process sometimes makes salespeople cringe. It shouldn’t. A consistent and proven process will ensure a higher success rate. For example, if you follow a consistent process when conducting a printer demonstration, your success rate of converting that demonstration into a sale should be higher than the average rate of 50%.  This applies to all sales professionals in the electrical arena: rep agents, manufacturer direct and distributor sales.

Many new salespeople think that if they know their product and have good people skills, their job is done. It’s the essential bookends to the sales call or demonstration that often get overlooked. Let’s break down those essential bookends of pre-call and post-call, and why they are important.


  • Before the sales call, do your research. Even if you aren’t calling on a brand-new customer or contact, ask yourself the following:
  • Have you reviewed the company web-site? Are you current with their press releases?
  • Have you reviewed the customer contact’s LinkedIn page to get an overview of who they are and what’s important to them?
  • Do you understand broad trends in their industry? For example, if calling on mass transit, do you know that ridership is still below pre-COVID levels?
  • What’s the current state of their business? Check internal company records and resources so you know where they area at with your company. For example, Are they growing? Shrinking? In what product categories?

Why do this? Being prepared and demonstrating interest and customer knowledge instills confidence and trust in you from your customer. Being prepared can prevent costly mistakes and surprises that slow or stop the sale. How stupid and uninformed would you appear if you didn’t know your best customer just made an acquisition? Do you want to look like an amateur if you don’t know about a recent large return? How confident are you in a salesperson that doesn’t know about major trends in their sector?

Before the sales call, have an objective and a plan. Possible objectives include:

1. Gain Information. This could be contact information of another person in the decision-making process, pricing feedback, key performance indicators, clarity on the purchasing process, other.

2.  Move the sales process forward. Bring the sample you promised, confirm test results, provide comparison data regarding your competitor, any other actions needed to move the lead to an opportunity to a decision.

3. Follow-through. Maybe you are simply confirming the information was received and evaluated, maybe you are confirming all questions are answered, but it’s imperative you don’t assume your customer got your answer and your job is done. Follow-up and confirm.

4. Maintain the business. This is not the showy, impressive part of your job, but it’s as important as practicing your forms in martial arts. If you don’t maintain your customer, a competitor will start paying attention to them. This could take the form of making sure their contact list and catalog are current, they are updated on company events relevant to them, that they are still happy with the level of service you provide.


  • Follow-up via email confirming action items for all parties.
  • Execute said action items.
  • Follow-up, again, to check for questions, concerns, roadblocks.
  • If you receive an order, thank the customer.
  • Check back later to ensure there is no buyer’s remorse.
  • If you don’t receive an order, ask for constructive feedback. Did you lose the opportunity due to price, delivery, quality, other? Find out so you can improve next time.  This also strengthens the relationship between you and your customer.

Proactive follow-up keeps the sales process moving forward, clarifies action items and next steps, and ensures the customer feels valued, and, in many cases, reinforces they made the right decision when buying from you.  You also have the opportunity to demonstrate a high Say/Do ratio, which earns trust and respect from your customers.

To summarize, sales calls should include:

  1. Preparation and research
  2. Developing a call objective
  3. Conducting the sales call
  4. Post-call follow up

If you don’t believe salespeople need a consistent process, compare those that do against those that don’t. I challenge you to not only measure quantitative results like revenue growth and customer retention, but to also measure qualitative results like customer satisfaction. Fortunately, these behaviors can be learned.

Disciplined pre- and post-call processes are critical to success, much like practicing forms and focus are critical to breaking a board in martial arts. If you don’t prepare thoroughly and follow-through, people may like seeing you and chatting with you, but you won’t be effective. That’s what good salesmanship is all about: Results.

Desiree Grace is president of Cembre, a manufacturer of electrical connectors, terminal & distribution blocks, tools & labeling equipment, cable glands and wiring accessories. You can contact her at [email protected].

About the Author

Desiree Grace

Desiree Grace is president of Cembre. You can contact her at [email protected].

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