Salespeople sometimes make too much of their sales process, sales managers make too little of it. While a good sales process by itself isn’t enough to guarantee success, it does give you better odds of winning.

The word “process” makes the sales process sound more confining than it is in reality. A sales process is nothing more than a plan; a collection of best practices that reverse engineer what works to win your dream client opportunities.

An Enlightening Question

This question can frame your thinking about the sales process: “If you could have your opportunity go exactly as you wanted it to go, from target to close, what would have to happen at each stage, and what commitments would you need to make and receive?”


If you could call on exactly the right prospect, your dream client, what would that dream client look like? What attributes would they have to possess to be perfect?


If you could have your dream client meet any criteria, what attributes would make your targeted dream client perfectly qualified? What needs would make them align perfectly with your capabilities?

If you could have any commitments from your dream client at this point, what commitments would you want?


If you could learn anything and everything you need to know, from anyone within your dream client, what you need to know?

If you could, just by asking, have access to any individual within your dream client’s company, with no limitation on time and no restrictions, who would you want to spend time with developing relationships and developing your understanding of their business needs?

What commitments would you want, if you could have anything?


If you could have anything you wanted before presenting, what would it be?

If you could have anyone from your dream client present for your presentation, whom would you want there?

What would you want to be able to demonstrate that would be so compelling that your dream client wouldn’t be able to choose any other solution over yours?

Post Presentation

After presenting, what commitments would you want from your dream client?

While answering these questions won’t build you the perfect sales process, it does help to understand how to think about process.

The idea behind process is to try to find a way to repeat the activities that stack the deck in your favor and increases the likelihood that you win—and that allow you to later succeed for your dream client.

Instead of resisting or ignoring your sales process, spend time perfecting it, improving it, and using it to gain a competitive advantage.

ANNOUNCEMENT: On January 14, 2011, Future Selling Institute is being launched. It’s focused on sales leaders and aspiring leaders—sales managers, executives, general managers responsible for the sales function. It’s packed full of resources to help sales leaders excel! Any sales leader interested in their personal, professional and career development will want to join this community. Join us on January 14, 2011 for the kickoff conference.

For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4729.

Join the Future Selling Institute and connect, learn and grow with a community of sales managers, sales leaders, and salespeople who aspire to lead.

Read my interview with Tom Peters (Part One and Part Two).

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Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on January 10, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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