If your salespeople have studied the Action Selling ® System, they’re aware of the research-proven fact that every customer makes Five Key Buying Decisions—and always makes them in the same order, whether consciously or not.

First the customer decides whether to “buy” the salesperson. Then the salesperson’s company. Then the product. Then the price. Then the time to buy.

Sales calls are far more likely to succeed when they progress in that natural order. First salespeople need to sell themselves, then sell their company, and so on. The question of price should not arise until the customer has made the previous buying decisions in the salesperson’s favor.

Yet even salespeople who know this can feel forced into discussing price too soon. Training can help enormously. But if the problem lies in your company’s recommended sales process, this needs to be changed first.

Is it your company’s recommended sales process?

Customers often will ask about price before the salesperson wants to talk about it. Some will demand a price quote up front. If your competitors sell on price (“Meet with me because I can save you money”), they have educated your customers to expect an early price quote.

Those pressures are tough, but they can be overcome by training. The Action Selling ® system imparts the skills, knowledge, and discipline necessary to deal with such customer expectations and keep a sales call on track.

But what if your own internal process is pushing your sales force into the price trap? How does your customer relationship management (CRM) system guide salespeople to manage the sales process? What milestones does it set for the sales cycle, and in what order? Does your management system force your salespeople to sell on price, even while you teach them not to?

Action Selling ® In Action

During an Action Selling ® workshop for salespeople from medical-instrument maker Alfa Wassermann Inc., executive vice president Jim McClain recognized what he called a “fatal flaw” in the company’s recommended sales process.

As the workshop discussion turned to Alfa Wassermann’s current sales cycle and the milestones tracked by its customer relationship management (CRM) system, McClain realized that the system was prodding salespeople into price conversations before they could establish any extraordinary value.

“We were talking about price and even attempting to complete full ROI studies too early in the process,” McClain says. “Our existing practice automatically sent many opportunities into a stalled situation. Our salespeople found themselves dealing with price objections far too often.”

With the help of Action Selling ®’s workshop facilitators, McClain went straight to work to adjust his company’s sales process (and its CRM system) to match the milestones in the new and improved sales cycle the company adopted.