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With so many changes happening, including downsizing, explosive growth, new products to market, and buyers changing in such a short period of time, it's never been a better time to close more deals. But only if you're prepared to adapt to change while still emulating timeless approaches that work. As with most things, selling successfully is about balance.

Among the trends I've noticed, here are the ones I consider to be most critical: selling is far more relationship-based than it used to be, your buyer's decision-making process is longer but they make decisions quickly once they are ready and it's tougher than ever to attract and sustain the attention of your customers and prospects

The following seven habits are important, field-tested, timeless insights for business growth. They take work to adopt and implement, but if chart-smashing revenue growth matter you, they are well worth your time.

1. Know your maximum and minimum. Pinpoint what's needed for someone to make the decision to buy from you today. On every sales call, know in advance the maximum you expect out of the call versus the minimum level of commitment you need to obtain from the client or prospect to close the sale.

2. Always start with the draft approach. Never let the final proposal be the first proposal they see. Prepare a draft proposal first and walk the client though it point-by-point. This is where you address and respond to objections: not later.

3. Know how decisions get made. Get a clear explanation about the client's review process for every product or service proposal. Who decides what? How many steps are there before a decision is made? Know this and you can address objections skillfully, dealing with the right people at the right time.

4. Step back. Step back and look objectively at every qualified lead and make sure you're asking the right qualification questions upfront. Make sure you are operating on facts rather than feelings of what think is true.

5. Make persistence your eternal flame. A sale that seems lost can be found again, but only if you're persistent! Very rarely have I seen any of my clients lose a sale forever. We have one client in Vermont who sells in the dairy industry. For 25 years, she waited for the customer to say yes. And just last week, a business owner told me the story of his best client - one that he waited 17 years to win over!

6. Understand the why of no. When a prospect or customer says no to your proposal, understand the meaning behind "no." Ask probing, specific questions to determine why they are resisting or refusing to close.

7. Follow-up rigorously. It's not enough to just follow-up when you feel it's the right time to do so. Schedule all follow-ups in advance, set to a rigorous calendar. Make it a process, not a task. Stick to it like clockwork and your sales will do the same for you.

As the founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions, Colleen Francis helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.

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