You can’t sell the product before you sell yourself

When Joe finished his drawing and turned it around, Matt saw a big question mark divided into five sections. These, Joe explained, are the five buying decisions every customer makes in the course of any major purchase.

“The critical thing to understand,” he said, “is that these decisions are made in a predetermined order.”

Action Selling, Joe explained, is a process that follows the same sequence by which the buyer ultimately decides to do business with you. This allows customers to make commitments in a manner that is most natural and comfortable for them, thereby increasing the salesperson’s effectiveness.

Here is how Joe described the progression:

First the buyer makes a decision about the salesperson. The verdict hinges on questions such as: Do I like you? Do I trust you? Are you honest, credible, and knowledgeable?

Second, the buyer considers the salesperson’s company: Is your company a good match for mine? Is it known for the kinds of things I expect from a supplier? Are your policies acceptable?

The third decision is about the product: Which of my problems will it solve? Will it create any new opportunities? Does it match my needs? How does its quality stack up against the competition?

Fourth, the buyer considers price: Is it a good value compared with competitive offerings? What must I invest—in terms of money, time, training, and hassle—to gain the benefits I want from the product? Is it worth the investment?

The fifth and final decision concerns the time to buy: How soon do I need to make up my mind? When do I need the results that the product will deliver? Should I stall…?

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).