Reprinted by permission from Don Crawford, SV SBDC Business Advisor

Well, it’s here. 2021 has begun. Are you ready? One way to check is to look at your selling tools inventory. Every one of us great salespeople have a particular skill set we use in each sales pursuit. So take a few minutes to think back over the successes in selling during the past year. What did you do well? What skills need improvement? And most importantly what skills don’t you have?


Great salespeople have a sales process which is proven and repeatable. Here’s mine: first I need to get prospects to like me enough to answer my questions. I call that building “rapport”. Next I want to find out whether they have a significant problem I can solve. That’s the “pain” step. Now I want to know if they have the “budget” to solve the problem. Throughout all of the sales pursuit I want to be dealing with the “decision maker.” When I’m sure I’m dealing with the decision maker and have determined they have a problem they want to solve and can commit funds to do it, I “ask for the order”!


I have a selection of tools to use during the selling process. The most important is asking good questions. Open ended questions to get the prospect talking. Closed ended questions to confirm what I heard. Of course asking good questions is complemented by active listening. Reversing the conversation to keep the prospect speaking. A positive, optimistic attitude keeps me moving through the process. Realistic achievable goals set the direction. Planning each sales pursuit, each day, each week and each month keeps me focused. Doing the goal achieving activities like prospecting, setting appointments and following up are important to success. Like all great salespeople I have an extensive selling tools inventory.


Great salespeople practice their craft every day. For each sales call, I make a plan. After the meeting with the prospect I review my performance. What selling tools did I use? How well did I do? What could I have done better? And most important what skill did I need that I don’t have in my selling tools inventory? Based on the results of the sales calls each day and each week, I can see what skills need improvement. And where I need additional training.


This blog is one place. There are over 100 posts most of which focus on one selling skill you can put into practice right away. Do have a mentor? Mentors or coaches can help you fill your selling skill toolbox. How about the top performing salesperson in your company? They have the skill set to reach the top of our profession and they will help you. Then there are many books on professional selling, on-line groups, and other blogs. Take advantage of whatever is available to you. At the end of this blog post is a link to the book Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. Each chapter focusses on one or two selling skills to help you reach the top of your profession.


  • Make a list of your most used selling tools
  • Determine what important tools are missing from your inventory
  • Get the training or mentoring to gain new selling tools
  • To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Eight, The Six-Step Selling Process, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales encouragement, join our FREE Sales Club!

Good selling!
Don Crawford