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By Rhona Melsky

Close the deal. Make the sale. That's the ultimate accomplishment for the salesperson. For those in sales, you know the road leading to the sale is not always easy. There most definitely is a path that follows with a strategy tied in to make it all happen. It doesn't always happen so fast. Sometimes the more steps you take, the slower the process.

What steps do you actually need? Can you cut out some steps? Maybe take a shortcut leading to the sale? There are probably some time-wasting steps you can avoid. In the end, what can you do to accelerate the sales cycle leading to the prize at the end – the actual sale?

Waste Not, Want Not

There's no need to waste time with the people who cannot help. You can go from person to person, department to department and not hit the right target - the actual decision maker. Do your research about the company: find out what the company does and find out all you can about the decision makers–those you need to get to in order to make that sale. Do your due diligence first; it will pay off in the end.

An infographic included in Matt Wesson's blog, "How to Accelerate Your Sales Cycle," describes an easy four-step process for sales leaders:

  1. Embrace Team Selling

  2. Leverage Social Media

  3. Become More Efficient

  4. Partner With Customers

You can't fly by the seat of your pants when trying to break in the door to make a sale. An effective step-by-step strategy that includes a team effort is the way to bring results.

Know Your Product, Your Customers and Build Trust

How can you really sell anything if you don't know your product? How can you sell that product until you know your customers? Get those answers and then you can build trust. Without the answers, it will be really hard to sell anything.

Learn about your products, and research everything you need to know so you are not constantly looking for answers, according to Wendy Connick in her article "Accelerate the Sales Cycle." Become the expert on what you are selling. You will instill confidence in your buyers when you prove to be an expert, she wrote. They'll be more willing to trust you and will be more open about their objections and less fearful about buying from you overall."

When you know your product, know your customers, and use relevant strategies to create relationships you assure a relationship that goes beyond the initial sale, one that will grow and boost your position in the marketplace. You have then raised the bar where it concerns your competitors, giving you a great advantage.

Rhona Melsky is a digital marketing editor at Dun & Bradstreet. She most recently worked as marketing copywriter at B2B CFO, which serves owners of privately-held companies. Melsky is an experienced journalist, writer, and editor. She has written and edited forThe Arizona Republic, Scottsdale Times, BizAZ, and Arizona Woman, among others. Melsky also worked the copy desk of various trade magazines, including Nation's Restaurant News, and managed the copy desk of Chain Store Age Executive.