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How This 4-Step Sales Process Has Earned Me $5 Million in the Last 18 Months Sales gets a bad rap, but it's essential to your business.

By Scott Oldford Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Sales has a bad a reputation, and rightly so because so many people go about sales all wrong.

But, good sales is like having a good relationship: Both of you should get something positive out of it.

Related: 7 Key Selling Habits All Sales Professionals Must Develop

If you're not both leaving the sales call feeling inspired and motivated about talking the next step, you don't have your sales game down.

So, if you feel like you're leaving a lot of money on the table, and that you and your sales team aren't closing enough deals (or wasting too much time on too many sales calls), listen up because this article is what you need.

My friend Jesse Elder taught me this four-step sales process, and it's helped me and my team generate $5 million-plus in sales over the last 18 months (and we're growing month-on-month). It's changed how we approach our entire sales engine, and if you generate most of your revenue through sales calls and one-to-one meetings, it will change your entire approach, too.

Step 1: Illuminate your customers' pain.

Your first step is to help your prospect appreciate their current pain, so the beginning of every sales call needs to focus on them, their story and their business -- so you can establish common ground.

You have to understand their situation, and where they currently are on their journey. Listen to them. Ask them about their business and life, and sit back as they tell you their story. Takes notes and take it all in, and then flip their focus onto their current situation by asking, "How's your month been?"

This simple question is one of the most powerful you can ask, as it gets them to think about where they are now: the good and the bad. It's rare you'll come across entrepreneurs who are completely content with where they are. They'll likely share some good news with you, but also focus on what they're unhappy with.

Take notes as they tell you about their pain, problems and challenges. You don't need to illuminate their pain, because with that simple question they'll do it on their own.

Related: 7 Tips for Getting More Sales Meetings With Prospects

Step 2: Visualize their vision.

Once you have an understanding of where they are -- and they've reflected on their current pain -- flip the script and ask them to share their plans for the future. Ask them to describe their goals, vision and what motivates them.

You want them to dive deep into where they want to go, and talk passionately about their vision -- as though they're imagining this vision for the first time; picturing it, tasting it and touching it.

Pain alone isn't enough to sell someone a solution. Your potential customers need to desire what's in front of them, and realize what's holding them back.

At this stage, relay what you've learned so far:

"If I'm hearing you right, Joe, you're struggling to scale from six to seven figures, and consistent (automated) lead generation seems to be your challenge." (The pain)

"You want to scale to seven figures so you can finally build a team to do most the work for you, and spend more time with your family and to travel." (The vision)

"Is this right, Joe? Does that sound like where you currently are?"

Good listening leads to good understanding, meaning your role isn't to do most of the talking (or to sell much at all), but rather point out what they already know.

Related: The 15 Characteristics of People Who Succeed at Sales

Step 3: Highlight the gap.

At this stage they know their pain, and they have passionately visualized their vision. It's time to highlight the gap between where they are and want to be.

However -- and this is important -- allow them to describe this gap, not you.

Although you're tempted to tell them what their solution is, instead ask them what they think needs to change:

  • What do you think needs to happen to change all this?
  • What support would help you the most?
  • What would be most valuable to you over the next 90 days?

Force them to get specific. If you tend to work with someone over a 90-day period (or six months, a year, etc.) ask them to share what they think they need to do during this period. Allow them to highlight their own gap, because this way they create their own solution -- meaning all you have to do is tailor your offer around their needs.

Finally, repeat all this back to them once again. Ask them if they agree. Ask if you've heard them right. Each time they say yes, it creates a micro-commitment that makes what comes next much easier.

Related: 11 Ways to Boost Your Sales Performance

Step 4: Create a commitment.

Until now, your prospects have done most of the talking. Now it's time for you to speak up.

Based on everything they have told you so far (the pain, vision and gap), show them the solution they need based on the methods you use with your clients. But, do not make this about you or your offer!

Say something like, "Here's how I think someone could help you achieve this over the next 90 days." This isn't about how you can help them, but rather helping them see that this is the help they need.

Once you've described this solution, ask them, "If you had this, would it be valuable to you?"

Another micro-commitment. Another opportunity for them to make their own choice. Up until now, at no point has this been about you or your program or how you can help them. It's 100 percent focused on them and the help they need.

"If you don't do this, what's the cost to you?" you ask. "If you don't take action on this now, what cost will this have on you, your family and business in the coming months?"

Asking them this brings them back to their pain and their current situation. They are desperate to change this, so the only question left to ask is: "Are you ready to commit?"

This is when you ask them whether they are ready to work with you. This is when you get specific on your offer, and ask them to commit.

No manipulation or scarcity tactics; none of the tricks that give sales such a bad name. Just you providing them the value and help they need, so the both of you leave the call inspired and motivated to take the next step with each other.

Scott Oldford

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Mentor, Advisor & Investor for Online Entrepreneurs

Scott Oldford has helped build and scale countless 6, 7 & 8-figure online businesses in the education, certification, coaching, consulting and courses niche.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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