It’s Still About The People!

A sale is always about the people involved. The process, method or procedure is always secondary in importance to the people

This is important enough that it deserves to be restated.

All sales and selling is still about the people. And always will be.

The focus must always be about the people involved, not the process.  The order of importance is: handle the people first and the process second. The process never bought anything. No procedure every sold anything. There never has been a selling method that found a prospect, qualified them, gave the presentations or closed the deal.

A live person was always involved. It always has been that way and it always will be. Got it?

Good. Now we can now look at the process of selling.

There are four fundamental steps to any sale.  They must be taken in this order.  If you omit a step, you create problems for yourself and will fail.  There is no guarantee that you will make every sale if you follow these steps, but any sale you do make will always follow the four steps in this order, every time.


1.  Prospecting

2.  Qualifying

3.  Presenting

4.  Closing

To prospect means to search for and explore in expectations of finding a future client or customer.  It is an action verb. It is something you do.  While most sales people hate prospecting and avoid it at all costs, it is essential to your success.  If this step is not done, you will not close sales. Note: a prospect is a noun. It is what you find as a result of prospecting (a verb).

Prospecting is simply the causative action of interested looking combined with a willingness to communicate with people.  (Note: there is an important difference between communicating with people and talking to people.  Make sure you sort this out before you start.)

If you’re not interested and you’re not looking, you’ll never find a prospect or a potential customer.  If you are always interested and always looking, you’ll find there is no scarcity of potential clients and customers, in fact, they’ll usually find you if you’re searching for them.

In sales, qualifying is done to determine whether or not a prospect has the ability, authority or inclination to purchase what you are selling.  Not all prospects are qualified.  If they’ve already got a “solution” (even if imagined), they are not a qualified prospect for you. Non-qualified prospects have no money, no time, no need, and no desire. (With a tip of the hat to Zig Ziglar).

A qualified prospect is someone who now has or once had a purpose that you can help them achieve.  Only if they are “qualified” do you move to the next step in the process.

The Presenting
A sales presentation is usually a pre-arranged meeting where the salesperson or sales team presents detailed information, demonstrations and answer any questions. This is the key element of the process to turn a qualified prospect into a buying customer.  All decision makers should be present and it often requires more than one meeting.   It’s not just a canned sales pitch with a quick sale.

The sales presentation is still always about the people; finding a way to satisfy their purposes, needs, wants, and desires.  It can take many forms, ranging from formal, structured meetings with many visuals and props, to casual, informal discussions. In the end, it is always a live person who will say yes or no. And the higher up in the organization they are, the more likely they can say, yes. Lower-level managers usually specialize in saying, no.

Whether they like you and trust you will determine (to a large extent) whether they will do business with you.  This is the step where objections are voiced and handled.  Elements such as price, delivery, and other factors are discussed and agreed upon.  The customer purposes are clarified and ways of satisfying them are presented.  Done correctly, the presentation flows comfortably into the final step.

The Closing
The sales close.  The most discussed, digested, and over-analyzed stage of the sales process.   But it is the easiest if you’ve done the previous three steps properly.  It becomes a struggle only when you have failed to complete one of the other three steps.

This step, as much as any of the previous ones, is always about the people. It’s a human activity where you’re providing the benefit they have already decided they want. Human beings act and react in many different ways as they want to own, but often don’t want to buy.  Just remember that you’re showing them how they can achieve their purposes.  Keep their focus on the end result they are trying to achieve and the close will take care of itself.

And most important of all, remember: selling is still always about the people.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2009-2020, all rights reserved


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