By Susan LaPlante-Dube, Precision Marketing Group

It's very exciting to get a sales lead, even more exciting to convert it into a qualified prospect. Getting that prospect to the point of buying from you can take minutes or months, depending on your business. Along the way, it's critical to know when slowing down or even stopping the sales effort can serve you well. Let us explain!

Creating First Impressions

If you have made mistakes with your leads and clients in the past, think about them. Did you start by bombarding them with questions? Were you using hackneyed mumbo-jumbo 'sales talk'? Believe it or not, some people can pick up on the fact that they are getting a generic pitch rather than something that is tailored to their unique needs. Instead, have a conversation and address specifically with them the issues and problems they are facing. You don't want to run this like a formal, one-way presentation; establish yourself as a knowledgeable person of trust by providing some meaningful conversation.

Don't Come Off as Smothering

If you come off as desperate during your sales pitch, you run the risk of chasing away your prospect entirely. Don't think that by not pressuring potential business, you are giving up - because you aren't. It is just more effective to focus the sales efforts on the prospect's needs, on building a relationship and on delivering value throughout the process than it is to talk about yourself and your company the entire time.  While you need to be able to ask for the sale when the time is right, how much nicer it is to get to the place where the prospect is asking you how they can take the next step to becoming a client?

Focus on the Relationship

You have made your pitch and the sale has been made. Hopefully, you recognize the moment that this conversion takes place, because it often occurs before any money exchanges hands. Now it's time to put your best foot forward in execution mode. Start working to deliver top-quality, effective work. This is what will solidify a long-term engagement. Focus on building a relationship with your customers and let your work be a reason for them to continue coming back.