Home > Education > Universal Sales Process

Universal Sales Process

Do you believe there is or could be a universal sales process that is effective in all sales scenarios? - by Community Mailbox
Do you believe there is or could be a universal sales process that is effective in all sales scenarios?
I have quoted a passage from Neil Rackham's "SPIN Selling" that you may find helpful.

Major sales are significantly different from smaller sales in terms of customer psychology. As a result, they require some very different selling skills. It would be tempting, based on these psychological differences, to go further and to argue that everything about the major sale should be unique and different, but this would be just as untrus as the traditional assumption that all sales, whether large or small, require identical skills. However, one of the simplest models of a sales call does seem to be applicable to any size of sale; almost every sales call you can think of, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, goes through four distinct stages:
  • Preliminaries - "They include such things as the way you introduce yourself and how you begin the conversation."
  • Investigating - "Uncovering needs or getting a better understanding of your customers and their organizations."
  • Demonstrating Capabilities - "Show customers that you have a solutions and that it makes a worthwhile contribution to helping solve their problems."
  • Obtaining Commitment - "A successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer. In smaller sales the commitment is usually in the form of a purchase, but in larger sales there may be a whole range of other commitments you have to obtain before you reach the order stage. Your call objective may, for example, be to get the customer's agreement to attend a product demonstration, or to test a new material..."
- by Jeff Blackwell
I would agree with Rackham and add that this is additional proof that complex sales can be scripted (not word for word) in a way that will benefit the whole sales organization.

By laying out the specific best practices for your sale in these categories you can assist salespeople in handling them better. - by Flyn L. Penoyer
Do you believe there is or could be a universal sales process that is effective in all sales scenarios?
I would rather call it a "Universal State of Being." Processes are dictated by the business climate and formed by culture. Processes are also learned and therefore dependent on the variations of training quality.

I do believe there is a "Universal State of Being" that resides beneath the learned sales processes.

Not everyone can be a cop, or an accountant, or a pilot or a doctor. Opportunity has nothing to do with it. This has been proven in case studies and life itself. You may say that you just don't want to be a doctor out of choice. But start exploring the reasons why, and you will find something fundamental that prevents you from becoming a doctor.

So the question becomes what do cops have that accountants don't? What do accountants have that cops don't. What does a sales agent have that a pilot doesn't?

If you believe that these are real separations, as studies show, then there must be a shared universal quality within each category.

For sales agents, that single quality seems to be the ability to appear revealing their authentic self, and draw out that same authenticity from the prospect.

For me, sales occur when humanity communicates between people, beneath the veil of social protocol, and mutual contribution occurs.

Now, how that is done is determined by personal processing. - by John Voris
For sales agents, that single quality seems to be the ability to appear revealing their authentic self, and draw out that same authenticity from the prospect.

For me, sales occur when humanity communicates between people, beneath the veil of social protocol, and mutual contribution occurs.

Now, how that is done is determined by personal processing.
That is food for too much thought to respond immediately.

Sometimes when a person provides such personal insight, it is an opportunity to dissect and see if another layer of discovery is there somewhere.

I want to think about that. - by Gary A Boye
That is food for too much thought to respond immediately.

Sometimes when a person provides such personal insight, it is an opportunity to dissect and see if another layer of discovery is there somewhere.

I want to think about that.
I appreciate and look forward to your assessment. :D - by John Voris
I would agree with Rackham and add that this is additional proof that complex sales can be scripted (not word for word) in a way that will benefit the whole sales organization.

By laying out the specific best practices for your sale in these categories you can assist salespeople in handling them better.
I don't know if "scripted" is literally accurate, but it's probably close enough, conceptually. As longtime sales coaches have observed, at each stage of an investigation and decision-support process, there are a finite number of variables, and those are well-known by experienced sales people. From that standpoint, such interactions are reasonably predictable.

Speaking only in the context of complex, multi-stakeholder B2B sales, and at the risk of gross oversimplification, we've distilled the entire marketing>sales>client retention spectrum to three key interactions:
1. The "door-opener" business issue that begins and sustains a willing conversation with at least one stakeholder and, over time, allows you to establish thought leadership that draws additional prospects to you.
2. The "Cost of Doing Nothing" Socratic questioning to determine if the impact of the problem demands action, investment and decision. If the cost of not deciding is acceptable, they won't decide. People only make the decisions they MUST make. No product or service offering can be attractive enough to change that.
3. Stakeholder Alignment, i.e., the facilitative process by which skilled salespeople help groups of stakeholders actually make a well-informed, self-interested, sustainable decision without regard to the seller's self-interest. If you're trying to engineer a specific decision outcome, e.g., "yes," your decision process has no integrity and the buyers will sense that and resist it.

IMO, the last component is where too few salespeople are sufficiently strong.

We just automated all this into interactive virtual training, by which lawyers (our market) manage an avatar through virtual networking events, sales calls, beauty contests, etc., choosing between five subtle options at each decision juncture, and receiving context-sensitive video coaching throughout. - by legalsalescoach
That is food for too much thought to respond immediately.

Sometimes when a person provides such personal insight, it is an opportunity to dissect and see if another layer of discovery is there somewhere.

I want to think about that.
Gary,

Also, when I use the word "universal," it is just that "universal." If an ideology is universal, it will apply to the (past) Sixteenth Century Quitan Incas of Peru, to (Present Capitalists) Wall Street executives as well as (Present Developing) Yanomami Indians of the Brazilian rain forest. That is my test for universal. - by John Voris
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.