No matter what type of business you are in, at the end of each day, there is one thing that tells you whether it’s been a successful day: sales. Sales is the water in the pipeline, the oxygen in your business air tank, whatever you want to call it. For all the attention and skill you may put into doing your business, it is critical to remember that without the getting, there’s no doing.

You’ve undoubtedly been subjected to ads for hundreds of slickly marketed magical sales formulas and techniques touted as containing mystical processes unique to only the seller of that system. The premise is that there is some secret formula out there that outdoes all the sales experience and collective wisdom of the ages. I hope you don’t believe that!

So, since sales is the biggest indicator of a successful day, how do you get potential customers and clients to “yes?” Here are four reliable, time-tested basic truths. No magic, no secret sauce, just real-world experience that is tried and true:

Start By Asking Questions

            Nobody ever looked like the cliched slick salesperson by genuinely asking questions. Don’t start out by talking about yourself or your product. This gives the impression that your main concern is YOU, not the customer or client. Ask them about their wants and needs. Show that you’re listening. One way to show this is to use their own words in a statement or in another question. Show that you are listening and be sincere.

Get Successive Yes” Answers

Making a sale is a process of getting informational responses and “yes” responses. The more the prospect says “yes” to questions, the more likely they are to say “yes” when asked if they are ready to buy now. For instance, if a car buying prospect answered that they wanted a car for traveling, the salesperson should ask, “You want a great deal of storage or trunk space, right?” This moves the process along. Another “yes.” When a prospect has repeatedly said “yes,” this indicates a psychologically positive attitude, and a sale is much more likely.

Educate, Don’t Sell

            Selling can be hard, so don’t try to sell. Educate and help.

I heard a story of a guy selling CDs at a music festival. Instead of trying to sell people the music, he simply asked passerby’s to try on headphones. When they tried on the headphones, they heard the music he was selling. They either liked it or they didn’t, and guess what? This guy sold far more CDs than anyone else at the festival. People don’t like to be sold to, they like to be helped.

Ask For The Sale

You’d be amazed at the number of people who don’t actually ask for the sale. Remember, if you’ve followed the process of getting sequential “yes” answers, the prospect is much more likely to say yes to the sale at this point. Don’t use closing techniques, though. They all stink. People know them when they see them and it puts distance between the prospect and you. For instance, I hate it when rather than asking me if I’m ready to buy, a salesperson asks me which credit card I will be using. Closing techniques are always seen for what they are.

            Don’t be a salesperson. Be someone who helps. In the words of Jim Cathcart, “Become the person who attracts the results you seek.” So be someone who helps prospects get the information and products and services they need, NOT someone who “makes sales.”

Give these four ways to “yes” some thought. Refine your own technique and be authentic. One size doesn’t fit all so be yourself. You are never more authentic than when you are truly being yourself because you are the only one who can.