January SMAC Talk

The Sales Three-Step


If ever you want to ensure that a sales call fails, just follow these three steps:

Step 1: Be overly excited about your product or service, your story and yourself.

Step 2: Ask your prospect two questions and then tell them more about you.

Step 3: Believe you are going to get the deal because they share your enthusiasm.

Sounds like a sure fire way to fail in sales, right? The fact of the matter is that, for years, I closed a lot of business using this method. Today, however, I understand that I actually rarely sold anything. The customer had already determined they were going to buy before they met me. All I had to do was not mess it up. I was likeable, knowledgeable and enthusiastic… so they often bought from me. However… I sold nothing.

Today we live in the world of “relationship building” and “solution selling.” These concepts are great except in and of themselves, they are inadequate in the new normal. The buyer has a lot of info and if they self-diagnose they can close themselves and then call on you to facilitate the transaction.

NEWSFLASH: This isn’t selling! True sales leaders are problem finders, not just solvers. Dan Pink highlights this in his book “To Sell is Human.” We must learn to control the sales call in such a way that we bring to light the problems the buyer didn’t see were there. More importantly, we must also bring the emotion connected with that problem to the surface.

Biologically, it is impossible to make a decision without emotion. Dr. Antonio Demasio proved this in his book “Descartes’ Error.” Therefore, as sales leaders we must change our 3 steps to reflect these truths. The new method looks more like this:

Step 1: Seek, with sincerity, to understand everything about the prospect’s story, needs, and previously attempted solutions.

Step 2: Empathetically dig into the problem areas until the prospect visibly and audibly confesses the emotion behind the problem.

Step 3: Confidently propose the solution in such a way that it addresses their motivation to buy, not yours.

This may seem simple at first glance, but I challenge you to evaluate if your selling process is systematically designed to ensure this occurs in every selling situation. The vast majority of sales people I know miss this boat on a regular basis. Don’t let your system drive you to fail.

Do you have a great sales manager tip or are you interested in joining a SMAC Roundtable? Contact Thom Pirone at

The RedRock Team

The RedRock Team

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.