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All About Sales

All About Sales

Sections in This Topic Include

Foundations for Successful Sales

What is Sales?
— Understanding the Sales Process
— Understanding the Sales Cycle
Value of Product Knowledge
Useful Skills to Have in Sales
— Useful Business Skills for Salespeople
— Useful People Skills for Salespeople
Understanding Types of Clients and How to Engage Them
— Types of Clients
— Multi-cultural Customers and Sales

Sales Process and Sales Pipeline

1. Generating Leads – Using Sales Channels
— Direct Postal Mail
— Email
— Face-to-face
— Internet and Web
— Social Networking
— Telemarketing (Phone)
— Trade Shows

2. Qualifying the Client — Is Client a Prospect?
— First Impressions and Establishing Rapport With Leads
— Understand the Needs and Wants of Each Lead — Ask the Right Questions
— Getting to Decision-Makers

3. Sales Interviews and Presentations With Prospects
— Opening Statements
— Establishing Rapport and Trust
— Really Listening (Verbal and Nonverbal)
— Effective Sales Presentations
— Dealing With Objections

4. Sales Proposals and Negotiations
— Proposals and Sales Letters
— Negotiations

5. Closing the Sale
— Techniques for Closing
— Sales Contracts

6. Account Maintenance and Management
— Customer Service
— Customer Satisfaction

Miscellaneous Perspectives — and Challenges and Pitfalls

Various Philosophies of Marketing and Sales
Challenges and Pitfalls

Managing Yourself for Successful Sales

Staying Motivated
Keeping Positive Attitude
Organizing Yourself
Managing Your Time and Stress

Managing Sales Activities and Sales Force

Sales Staffing and Training
Sales Success Rules – Free Sales Training
Sales Forecasting and Goals
Motivating Sales Force
Measuring and Evaluating Sales Activities
Compensating Sales Force

General Resources

Resources Providing Many Resources
Glossary and Dictionaries About Sales
Free Tools and Templates

Also see
Related Library Topics

Also See the Library’s Blogs Related to Sales

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Sales. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library’s Business Planning Blog
Library’s Building a Business Blog
Library’s Customer Service Blog
Library’s Marketing Blog


Foundations for Successful Sales

What is Sales?

Before learning more about how to do successful sales and selling, it’s important first to get a sense of what sales is, so you can more accurately understand the guidelines, tips and tools provided throughout this topic. Also, it’s useful to understand different viewpoints about sales, especially so you can more accurately understand how your clients talk about sales.

What’s “Advertising, Marketing, Promotion, Public Relations and Publicity, and Sales?”
Unlocking the True Definition of Sales
Legal Definition of Sale
Sales – Definition

Also see
Marketing (scan the subtopics to understand Marketing)

Understanding the Sales Process (Sales Pipeline)

There is a general, overall process that successful sales people follow, although there are different perspectives on that process, including names for the various steps along the way. The next major section in this topic includes more detailed guidelines, tips and tools for each stage of one perspective on the sales process, or sales pipeline as some people refer to it.

Sales Process
What is a Sale Process?
Basics of the Sales Process
Sales vs. Procurement — tips from an expert.

Understanding the Sales Cycle

The sales cycle is often referred to as the time it takes to do the sales process mentioned above. Timing is critical because the faster and shorter the sales cycle, the faster that more revenue is generated, customers are satisfied and more customers can be gotten by the organization.

What is the Sales Cycle?
Sales Cycle Steps
The Best Way to Shorten the Sales Cycle

Value of Product Knowledge

There’s an old saying that a “good salesman can sell anything.” That’s not so true today when the nature of products and services can be highly complex and the nature of customers and clients can be highly demanding. Yet there’s an ongoing argument about which is best — product knowledge or sales skills.

Benefits of Product Knowledge
How Product Knowledge Can Mean More Sales
How Much Product Knowledge is Enough?

Also see
Product Development

Useful Knowledge and Skills to Have in Sales

You don’t have to read all of the resources referenced from the following links. Rather, a quick scan will give you an impression of the different types of knowledge and skills to start learning over time. Perhaps for now, realize that there’s more to being a good salesperson than learning the sales process and sales cycle. Many of the following are also more directly associated with other subtopics in this overall topic of Sales.

Useful Business Skills for Salespeople

Advertising and Marketing Laws
Advertising and Promotion
Communications (Writing)
Contracts (Business)
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Service
Ethics: Practical Toolkit for Business
Etiquette (Manners)
Positioning: Deciding and Conveying Your Unique Selling Position
Public and Media Relations

Useful People Skills for Salespeople

Conflict (Interpersonal)
Etiquette (Manners)
Handling Difficult People
Non-Verbal Communications
Presenting / Speaking
Team Building
Diversity and Inclusion

Understanding Types of Clients and How to Engage Them

How to Understand Your Customers
Know Your Customers’ Needs
Customer Relationship Management

Also see
Product Development
Useful People Skills for Salespeople

Types of Clients

8 Types of Clients — Adjust Your Pitch, Increase Your Sales
5 Types of Customers
8 Types Of Client To Avoid At All Costs

Multi-cultural Customers and Sales

How to Develop a Multicultural Sales Force
Multicultural Client Skills For Small Businesses – 8 Point Strategy For Intercultural Negotiations
Selling to Multicultural Customers

Also see
Diversity and Inclusion

Sales Process and Sales Pipeline

1. Generating Leads — Using Sales Channels

21 Lead Generation Strategies
7 Deadly Sins of Lead Generation
Marketing Benefits of Using Lead Generation
Five Ways to Beat Prospecting Anxiety
How to Generate More Leads

A lead is a potential customer. (Later, in the sales process, you will qualify the lead to determine if he/she is a prospect, that is, is someone who is very likely to buy from you.) Sales channels are the methods by which salespeople and customers communicate with each other. The resources that are referenced in this subtopic usually give advice about how best to use a particular channel in sales, but don’t go primarily with that advice — also follow the guidelines in each phase of a sales process, so that you’re following guidelines in a systematic manner.

Direct Postal Mail (Sales Letters)

How to Write Direct Mail Sales Letters
Sample Images of Sales Letters
Direct Mail Marketing – 101
10 Direct Mail Order Ideas to Boost Your Response

Also see
Using Direct Mail
Business Writing


Steps to Selling by Email
Writing Email Copy That Turns Into Sales

Email Marketing vs. Email Sales

Also see
Email Marketing
Email Writing, Management and Policies


The Importance of Face-to-Face Selling
Face-to-Face Sales Training
The Importance of Face-to-Face Sales in a Sales 2.0 World

Also see
Communications (Interpersonal)
Interpersonal Skills

Internet and Web

The 10 Secrets of Selling Online
Birth of an E-Salesman: A Tragedy in One Act

Also see
Computer, Internet and Web
Social Networking

Social Networking

Boosting Your Sales With Social Networking
5 Social Networking Steps for Sales Professionals

Also see
Computer, Internet and Web
Social Networking

Telemarketing (Phone)

Cold Calls
Selling on the Phone
It Takes Practice to Sell Successfully Over the Phone

Also see
Communications (Interpersonal)
Interpersonal Skills

Trade Shows

Ten Trade Show Exhibit Best Practices
How to Increase Your Trade Show Sales
Learn How to Maximize Your Trade Show Success

2. Qualifying the Client — Is Client a Prospect?

Once you have a list of leads, you need to qualify them, that is, you need to assess whether they are likely to buy your product or service based on, for example, their needs and wants, match between their needs and wants and the nature of your products and services, key decisions by the decision makers, ability to pay and preferences for the timing to buy. A qualified lead is a prospect. (Depending on the nature of your product or service, you might be asked to provide a proposal, even without having an opportunity to more carefully qualify the lead. In that situation, you can skip to the section Proposals.)

7 Prospecting Ideas That Work
Sales Prospecting Myths
Sales Prospecting Techniques — How Winners Prospect
80-20 Rule of Customers: Stop Thinking 20th Century! Attract Only the Top 20%

First Impressions and Establishing Rapport With Leads

10 easy ways to build a quick rapport with anyone
Value of Building Rapport

Also see
Communications (Interpersonal)
Interpersonal Skills

Understand the Needs and Wants of Each Lead — Ask the Right Questions

One of the worst approaches now is to start “pitching” or pushing your product or service. Instead, learn more about the lead, especially by asking useful questions. Here’s where the guidelines in the previous topic Understanding Types of Clients and How to Engage Them are especially useful because you’ll need to really understand more about the lead in order to discern if they are a prospect, if they are likely to buy from you.

What are the Secrets of Question Based Selling ?
World’s Best Sales Questions
Your Customer is Lying — Did You Catch It?

Also see
Skills in Questioning

Getting to Decision-Makers

Often, the person you first contact is not the person who ultimately will decide whether to buy from you. So even if the first person really likes your product or service, it’s as important that you influence the real decision maker. Many times, that person is a very busy upper manager who does not want to be bothered by someone trying to sell something to him or her.

Identifying Sales Prospects: Gatekeepers, Influencers, and Decision Makers
Reaching the Decision Maker
How to Reach Decision Makers

Following-Up With Potential Prospects

Effective follow-up shows you are thorough in your work and are sincerely committed to working with the prospect. Also, your follow-up often reminds the prospect of your initial contact– a contact that they might have forgotten in their busy work lives.

How to Be Persistent in Sales Without Annoying Your Prospects
Follow-Up Marketing — How to Win More Sales With Less Effort
Follow-Up Calls Can Give You the Competitive Edge
Knowing When to Follow-Up a Sale (includes for prospects)

3. Sales Interviews and Presentations With Prospects

Effective Sales Presentations

Keys to Great Sales Presentations
How to Creata Powerful Sales Presentation
How to Recession-Proof Your Sales Pitch

Also see

Convincing the Customer and Dealing With Objections

6 Techniques for Effective Objection Handling
Dealing with Difficult Customers
The Ultimate Guide to Objection Handling: 40 Common Sales Objections & How to Respond

Also see
Power and Influence

4. Sales Proposals and Negotiations

Proposals and Sales Letters

If you have been successful in prospecting the lead and the prospect indeed is interested in your product or service, then you might be asked to provide a proposal that provides more information about your organization, its products and services, and how you would work with the potential client. The client also might be asking several vendors to provide proposals, so that the client can have more choices from which to choose.

How to Write the Perfect Sales Letter
Proposal Checklist
Sales Letters and Proposals
How to Write a Sales Proposal


Often, your proposal or sales letter is the first time that the client really absorbs the details of the opportunity that you’re bring to him or her. It’s not uncommon that the client wants to modify certain terms or pricing. Thus, it’s useful for you to have at least some basic skills in negotiating.

Negotiating the Price You Deserve – The Salesperson’s Dilemma
Managing the Sales Negotiation Process
Managing the Sales Negotiation Process
Sales Strategy Checkup

Also see
Conflicts (Interpersonal)

5. Closing the Sale

The closing process is getting the commitment of the prospect to buy your product or service. The close is when the client has committed. It represents the close, or ending, of the sale process. However, many would assert that the sales process really doesn’t end there, rather the sales process continues to ensure a strong, successful relationship with the client even after a contrast has been signed.

Techniques for Closing

Tips for Closing the Sale
Closing the Sale Is Just the Beginning
After You Close a Deal

Sales Contracts

Contract of Sale
Understanding Sales Contracts
Many Images of Sales Contracts Sample Sales Contracts

Also see
Business Contracts

6. Account Maintenance and Management

What’s Account Maintenance and Management?

Account Maintenance
How to Development Key Account Management Strategy
After You Close a Deal

Also see

Customer Service

One of the main responsibilities in this phase of the sales process is responding to the needs and questions from customers. This phase also is where you can learn a lot about how well your product or service is meeting the needs of customers, and about any changes that you might want to make to those products and services. The following link is to many other links about customer service.
Customer Service

Customer Satisfaction

The ultimate goals of a sales process should be customer satisfaction. Without that, the revenue won’t follow. The necessary learning won’t follow about how to continue to improve products and services, about how to innovate to produce new products and services. The following link is to many other links about customer satisfaction.

Also see
Customer Satisfaction


Miscellaneous Perspectives — Challenges and Pitfalls

Various Philosophies of Marketing and Sales

Before reading the following links, the reader is encouraged (if he or she has not yet) to scan the subtopics in this overall topic to get a sense of the activities required in sales and the order of those activities. This is in lieu of trying to learn about sales primarily be reading numerous different perspectives and opinions. Do come back to read some of the following after getting an overall impression of sales.

The Ultimate Guide to Relationship-Selling
Who is selling your product?
Don’t Take the Sales Order
Are you Pushy? How do you Pull in Sales Instead?
Mean Target Marketing-Parents Beware

Challenges and Pitfalls

6 Trailblazing Ways Around Sales Productivity Pitfalls 
Hard Sell — Solutions to the 21 Biggest Sales Problems
Pitfalls in Your Direct Sales Business

Managing Yourself for Succussful Sales

Staying Motivated

Achieving Sales Goals Requires Drive and Motivation
Images for Self Motivation
Motivating and Inspiring Yourself
Sales Motivation: A Game-Changing Strategy to Beat Your Competitors

Also see

Keeping Positive Attitude

Do You Have a “Sales Success” Attitude?
In Sales, Your Attitude is Important
What Sales Attitude Should You Have?
Change That Negative Attitude and Increase Your Sales

Also see

Organizing Yourself

Organizing Yourself From the Inside Out
You Can Do It: No Fail Ways to Finally Get Yourself Organized
Organizing Yourself Isn’t an Instant Process

Also see
Organizing Yourself

Managing Your Time and Stress

Are You In Control of or Controlled By Technology?

Basics of everyday planning and tasks management
Triple Your Personal Productivity

Also see
Stress Management
Time Management
Work-Life Balance

Managing Sales Activities and Sales Forces

Sales Staffing and Training

Sales Force Structure
Expand Your Sales Force – Part 1 of 2
Expand Your Sales Force – Part 2 of 2
Sales Training
Sales Training & Techniques
Sales Success Rules – Free Sales Training
The Dirty Secret of Effective Sales Coaching
How to Use Virtual Sales Clerks

Also see
Team Building

Sales Forecasting and Goals

3 Methods of Sales Forecasting
Conduct a Sales Forecast
7 Steps to Achieving Your Sales Goals

Also see
Team Building

Motivating Sales Force

Expand Your Sales Force – Part 1 of 2
Expand Your Sales Force – Part 2 of 2
Optimizing Sales Performance
Sales Managers: Are You Motivating in the Middle?
Building the Killer Sales Force
How to Manage a Virtual Sales Force
Five Ways to Re-Energize Sales

Also see
Employee Performance Management

Measuring and Evaluating Sales Effectiveness

5 Ways You Should Be Measuring Sales Performance
Evaluating Your Sales Techniques
Measuring Sales Force Performance
When to Set Sales Performance Reviews
Are Your Sales Reps Spending Too Much Time in Front of Customers?

Also see
Evaluating Performance

Compensating Sales Force

How to Set Up a Sales Commission Plan
The State of Sales Compensation
3 Tips to Design a Sales Compensation Plan

Also see
Benefits and Compensation

General Reources

Resources Providing Many Resources

Websites With Many Free Resources for Nonprofits and For-Profits
Optimizing Sales Performance (an online book)
Inc’s numerous articles about sales
SalesMarks.com articles
B2B sales leads tools for business-to-business marketing

Glossary and Dictionaries About Sales

Sales Dictionary
Glossary of Sales Definitions
Glossary of Sales and Selling Terms

Free Tools and Templates

10 Free Sales and Resources
Free Sales Plan Templates
15 Free Online Sales Tools