Do you remember in elementary school learning about math problem “order of operations”?  You first solved things inside the parenthesis, then the exponents, etc, etc…  When you followed the right order you almost always got the right answer. Right?


Selling also has an important “order of operations”, it is called the professional selling process.  When we follow the right steps when we sell we immediately increase the likelihood of closing more sales.  However, we quickly run into trouble when we get the steps out of order.


In most B2B selling environments the following four step professional selling process steps work the best. Let’s review:

Step One:  Introduction

Step Two:  Needs Analysis

Step Three:  Presentation of Solution

Step Four:  Closing and Confirming the Sale


These four steps are not new, however, we sometimes run into problems when we skip Step Two, or put Step Three or Four ahead of Step Two.  When we do, we typically hear our sales prospects say things like:


  • “Let me think it over and get back to you.”

  • “We decided to go another direction.”

  • “We just don’t have it in our budget this year.”

  • “Your competitor will do it for 15% less.”

  • “We reviewed your proposal and we are not interested in doing anything right now.”


These problems come because we get too excited and anxious to share with our prospects how we can help them.  Before, or right after, the Introduction Stage we jump into the Presentation Stage and start talking about our company, our products, our high profile clients, etc.  When we do this, we lose two vital elements of the sale:


  • CONTROL of the sale and our position as a consultant

  • The opportunity to create VALUE and build buying motivation


All of this can be avoided if we will slow down and not be in such a hurry to tell our sales prospects how wonderful our companies are and, instead, spend more quality time in the Needs Analysis Stage.  When we slow down and ask questions about the buyers problems and challenge (or goals and objectives), identify the impact those problems are having, explore the buyer budget and decision making elements, we put ourselves in a winning position to present stronger solutions and close more sales.

So, how do you close more sales in 2017?  Make sure to get your sales process in the right order. Do not skim the surface of the Needs Analysis Stage. Instead dive deep and be an explorer.  Otherwise you will become (or stay) the best sales person your competitors ever had.  Too bad they never say thank you.


Until next time: Don’t just sell.  Create value, do work that matters and make a difference for your clients.

PS – Join my clients and I for the Fundamentals of Professional Selling course Monday’s and Tuesdays at 10am MST as my guest.  RSVP here:

Terry Hansen

Toll Free: 844-205-5054

Direct: 208-696-0589