Everyone is in sales. Why? Because from the time we wake up until our heads hit the pillow at night, we are continually communicating, negotiating, persuading, influencing and selling ideas.

Do you want to nail the sale? The tool I use is called the Mackay Sales Scalpel. It's my surefire way to sharpen and pinpoint every sales situation.

As I see it, expert selling demands five essentials:

Fire: The drive to strive.

Formulate: The art of planning.

Fascinate: The gift of sizzle.

Follow-up: The discipline to control.

Finalize: Opening the door to maximum opportunity.

Let's start with fire. When you love what you do, you will never have to work another day in your life. In fact, the subtitle to one of my books reads: "Do what you love. Love what you do. Deliver more than you promise." That's the spirit of the salesperson's creed.

When times are tough, it may not be your fault for being down. But it is always your fault for not getting up. You have to be a believer to be an achiever. Only a fired-up, high-energy workplace ignites tomorrow's ideas. The job of sales management? It's to keep the fire roaring.

But no amount of fire will take you anywhere without a plan. That brings us to ingredient No. 2 of the Mackay Sales Scalpel: formulate. You need to formulate a plan.

Central to your plan: figuring out how to demonstrate the product. Dawn dishwashing liquid came up with a brilliant product demonstration. Remember the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010? Dawn went to work sprucing up oil-caked wild ducks and made them spanking clean using their product. What could be more convincing? Great salespeople are always on the lookout for potent proof of product effectiveness.

Statistics are at the heart of formulating your plan, starting with where you get the bulk of your business. Most salespeople are familiar with the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Well, this trend is headed strongly for 90/10. That gives you a great idea of how to prioritize your time.

The third essential of the Mackay Sales Scalpel is fascinate. Advertising pioneer David Ogilvy said no one ever sold anyone anything by boring people to death. There's not a lot of difference between showmanship and salesmanship. Mostly, you have to be likable, pleasant and an excellent listener.

Want to fascinate people? Start by smiling and listening. Oh, yes, there's one other thing to keep in mind, but you probably know that already: The sweetest sound in the English language is the sound of your name on someone else's lips.

That brings us to the fourth element of the Mackay Sales Scalpel: follow-through.

Why is follow-through so important? Selling is easy, but only if you work hard at it. You have to do the details — relentlessly.

Few things drive repeat sales more than expert customer service. No customer service, and pretty soon, no business.

In customer service, nothing counts like honoring commitments and meeting deadlines. The key is to latch onto your customers and hold them fast. Don't just meet their needs; anticipate them.

Now we come to finalize. It's all about closing. The close is only the very last stage of the process. You'll never close effectively without mastering the whole process of negotiating first. Find ways for both sides to legitimately win. At any close, the super salesperson is already thinking about the service needed to support the deal or the referrals that a satisfied customer is bound to deliver.

Mackay's Moral: The sale begins when the customer says yes.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.