If You Need a Sales Process to Tell You When to Close… – by Andy Paul

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Do you need a sales process to tell you when a sale is ready to close?

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Recently I read an article that was written from the perspective of a sales rep and it stated: “..unless you give me a smart sales process to follow, I can’t tell you when the sale will close.”


That’s like saying that after 10 years of commuting to the same office for work, you still need to use your nav system to tell you how to get home every day.

If you think that you can passively rely on a sales process to tell you when to close a sale, then you’re looking for help in the wrong place. That complacency will not lead you to success.

Don’t get me wrong. A well defined sales process is an essential element of any effective sales strategy. But, to assume that your buyers are going to map their decision-making process and follow in lockstep with your scripted sales process ignores the most basic truth about sales. People buy from people; not from a process.

Of course, there are products and services that are very transactional and that can be sold in one or two calls. In these cases it is all about the process. The seller and the buyer begin both the sales and buying process knowing that time is of the essence. A decision will quickly be made because the price point and value proposition don’t justify the expenditure of much time on the part of either the buyer or seller.

As the nature of the sale grows in complexity, as the quantity and diversity of interests of the people drawn into the decision making process increases, and, as the duration of the buying process lengthens, it becomes unrealistic to presume that the buyer will follow the yellow brick road that sellers have neatly have laid out for them.

The stages of your process are useful milestones to measure your progress. But even with well defined exit criteria for each stage of your process, a process won’t tell you when the sale will close.

However, your buyers will. Instead of blind reliance on a process, talk to your prospects. Don’t email. Pick up the phone and talk to them. If you ask them the right questions, and, carefully listen to their answers, you might be surprised what you learn.


Andy is the host of the top-rated 6-day per week podcast, Accelerate!, the go-to resource for the best sales advice online, and is a leading SMB sales expert and the author of Zero-Time Selling, 10 Essential Steps To Accelerate Every Company’s Sales and Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions. He is committed to helping every CEO and sales manager transform their sales efforts by integrating higher levels of responsiveness, information content and speed into every step of their selling process. For more information, visit his website at www.zerotimeselling.com. Contact Andy at andy@zerotimeselling.com or 619-980-4002.

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