The 10 Commandments of Selling

Every successful entrepreneur must achieve a level of sales competence. Short of spending valuable capital on hiring sales professionals, there is no alternative. Selling is to business as fertilizer is to agriculture.

Nothing happens in a company until somebody sells something. There are natural born salesmen. However, with application, practice and determination, anyone can hone selling skills and develop a style compatible with their personality.

As an old sales manager, I have had the opportunity to work with every level of sales talent. A few were great: many were average, some were poor. The following is a list of the qualities and traits I have observed in every excellent sales person I have come in contact with:

1. Successful Sales People Have Passion for Selling and Their Product!
Passion can not be faked. It is not possible to be a success in sales without conviction that the product being sold is beneficial, important.

2. The Word “No” Really Just Means “Not Yet”!
The word “No” is an absolute that no successful sales person accepts as anything but a temporary hurdle to be overcome.

3. Prospect, Prospect, Prospect!
Generating qualified leads is the lifeblood of any great sales person. Digging, research and networking produce entree to new clients.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice the Presentation!
Using customers, a friend, video or a mirror practice the presentation of a product until it is hard wired to your being.

5. Preparation Before the Meeting Leads to More, and Larger Sales!
Know everything possible about the customer, the industry, trends, competition, newest technology and pricing before the sales meeting.

6. Hard Work makes for Sales Luck!
You might not be smarter than the competition, but you can outwork and out hustle them. Harder working sales persons are often lucky, as well.
7. Never Ask a Question You Do Not Know the Answer Too!
The quickest road to selling failure is to ask a question with open-ended answers that are potentially harmful to your product position.

8. Ask Plenty of Questions and Listen to the Answers!
Asking questions will educate you as to customer needs and show your concern for their needs. Listening is the great educator.

9. Do Not Sell Low Price, Never Offer a Price Cut Unless No other Choice!
Selling price is usually not selling, but buying business. Great salesmen know the competition and tout their products superior benefits.

10. Start Closing Immediately!
Selling is like a kabuki dance: there is a rhythm to any presentation. The right time to close the sale is the earliest moment possible, then shut up.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.