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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Steps of the Sale



Everybody in, or around, sales knows "The Steps of the Sale", right?


Do you know the 5 steps or the 7 or the 9 or the 11 or the 13 or the 15 steps
or the variations: the staircases, the ladders, the triangles or the circles?





ALL of these are based upon a beginning, middle and an end.
They are 'formula for success", RITUALS, rain dances and, sadly, just like rain dances they do not work!

The adept Rain-dancer only dances on cloudy days, and then only in the rainy season.

He performs only when he is most likely to succeed, ideally when it is raining!

Hence, the belief in the power of the Rain-dance grows.

Witnesses confirmed that they saw him dancing while it was raining.

In Sales Rainmakers do not dance
and they do not follow the steps, any of the steps of the sale.

Rainmakers follow and lead the Buyer,

who follows a process from intellectual curiosity to emotional commitment then to engaged action.
The inconvenient fact is that Buyers are not aware of the Steps of the Sale so, instead they use their own process.

When, during sales training, I am challenged over this, killing a sacred cow.
I ask a closed question: "Can a buyer buy without a Sales Executive?"
The answer as we all know is YES, ask
My supplemental question is:
"Can a Sales Executive sell without a Buyer?"

Although the answer is clearly NO, they pause, feeling a belief being replaced by a fact.
The 'selling cycle', the 'steps of the sale' are a rain-dance, best done while a buyer is buying they simply do not exist.

You can make fish soup from fish, but you cannot make fish from fish soup!

I have observed more than 2000 sales calls, I log 'behaviours' and 'out comes', as well as 'objectives' pre-call. The conclusion is Sales Executives who follow a sales steps process rarely succeed, the more faithfully they follow their steps then the less success they enjoy. Yet they follow the steps faithfully to make it rain! Successful sales people do NOT follow the Steps of the Sale, they may report that they do in Sales Force Automation software, they may even pretend to believe in the ritual, but they do not follow the practice.

Instead, successful sales executives follow, influence and sometimes lead the Buying Process.

Sales Philosophy is interesting; the pragmatic application of it's conclusion is PERFORMANCE, sales achievement.

BMAC Sales Consultants will replace obsolete 'Steps of the Sales' models with a functional Sales Process which optimises your Sales force.


  1. I enjoyed this, Brian - and so true. t is clear to me that, while a sales process needs - broadly - to be in place, rather like a war strategy, from the moment of engagement it will need ongoing refinement - or even, in some instances, tearing down and starting again.

    1. I agree, the Sales process emerges from the buying process.