Business Bridge Supplier Toolkit

Core Principles of the Sales Process

Researched and written for Business Bridge by Strategic Insights Inc. | Thursday, March 14, 2024

Understanding the core principles of the sales process is vital to any business. The process falls into seven distinct steps, starting before you even contact a prospect and ending with maintaining your new relationship. When these steps work together and flow successfully, you get more leads, convert leads more readily to contracts and make the most of those conversions.

Step 1: Prospecting

Prospecting is the process of searching for potential clients. You can divide these into qualified prospects with a preexisting interest in your goods or services, and cold prospects that have yet to show interest in your products.

The first stage of prospecting is identifying potential clients. From there, you can distinguish cold and qualified prospects by researching company news, monitoring social media content and interviewing decision-makers within the company.

Step 2: Making contact and qualifying

Your next step is to contact and qualify each prospect. Many people make the mistake of starting their first conversations with a sales pitch, but it is not yet time for that. You should try to make a connection and evaluate the potential for a partnership.

At this stage, it is important to avoid dominating the conversation with the client; instead, focus on asking open-ended questions. Those questions tend to start with “what,” “why” or “how.” Inquire about the client’s overall pain points, past attempted solutions, desired outcomes, your point-of-contact’s authority to buy and their budget. This is how to understand what kind of challenges the potential client has and how you can be the best, competitively priced solution.

Step 3: Uncovering client needs

Once you know your prospect’s challenges and goals, it is time to have meaningful conversations to discuss these topics in more detail. Focus on listening, but your questions should address what you learned in earlier communications.

Step 4: Making a product or service presentation

Take what you have learned about the prospective client’s pain points and goals and let them know how your goods and services are the solution. Frame any advantages and benefits in terms of solving specific prospect problems or needs. Provide a benefit for each feature of your product or service mix.

Step 5: Uncovering and handling objections

Sometimes a presentation goes off without a hitch. However, prospects often have objections and questions that you need to be as prepared as possible to answer. Consider likely objections and how to respond to them beforehand, especially common points of objection such as:

  • Price

  • Unfamiliarity with your company

  • Remaining unconvinced about your product’s value

Knowing what kind of objections may arise from decision-makers is very beneficial. Prepare and rehearse your responses in advance.

Step 6: Closing

After answering objections, it’s time to close the sale. During this phase, be sensitive to any lingering doubts the prospect may have. Go over the key points of the previous steps with new, open-ended questions about how the product will help them, as well as any improvements or special requests they offer. Keep in mind that you should only promise what you can deliver in the timeframe and at the agreed-upon price. Avoid making promises that you cannot deliver.

Step 7: Following up

Regardless of whether you closed the sale or not, seeking feedback is an important step. If you closed the sale, send notes of appreciation and commitment to good service to everyone involved in the selling process. If you were not the selected supplier, it’s just as important to thank the main players for considering your company. This leaves a good impression for future opportunities you may pursue with them.


Too many suppliers overlook key stages of the sales process. While making contact, pitching your product and closing the sale are the basics, the other four steps are just as important. They connect each step, inform your approach and help you maximize the value of each client relationship. Together, these principles amount to a holistic sales strategy that can help you take your business to the next level.

Further Reading:

  1. Gosnell, Ken. “A Five-Step Selling Process For Any Business.” Forbes, 17 Jan. 2023,

  2. Gordon, Will. “How to Build a Sales Process: The Complete Guide.” Nutshell, 22 Dec. 2023,

  3. Connaughton, Brendan. “Mastering Sales Excellence: Strategies, Culture, and Tools.” Qwilr, 16 Dec. 2023,

Full toolkit bibliography.


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