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So what is a sales process & do I really need one?

by John Kettley

So what is a Sales process & do I need one?


The sales subject is a subject many people almost avoid learning because they have a misconception about i.e. they believe that it is almost immoral to reach out and sell to people stuff they don’t want to buy!


The truth is sales is actually about ‘giving’ people what they WANT to buy, because it gives them a gain…


To give you a foundation, sales essentially consists of 3 basic elements, each of which must seamlessly flow from one to another.


It begins in your basic business model i.e. what is the thing that you ‘offer’ that ‘solves’ a challenge or gives your customer a significant gain?


Once you have the answer to these 2 questions it then moves you to thinking about ‘WHO’ that person and organisation ‘is’; commonly called your ideal customer avatar.


Now that we have the basics done, we can move to the next step of creating a list of potential customers to make initial contact with. (This is quite different from marketing which is about creating brand awareness in the hope that it attracts enquiries, a very different subject than sales)


Now that we know ‘why’ a person & organisation would want us in their life and ‘who’ they are, it’s time to make contact and begin the sales process that will lead to us doing deals and delivering our services.


The soft approach is to connect with them via LinkedIn or send them a direct message via an e-mail or a letter in the post. This first move simply creates awareness of you and what it is that you offer, which if you include a call to action will hopefully result in a call from the prospective customer. (I did say this is the soft approach)


A more direct approach is to simply pick up the telephone and call them direct.


If you do this more direct approach one of 2 things will happen, you’ll either get through to them or you’ll typically (depending on the size of the company) speak to a receptionist or personal secretary (often called a gate keeper by salespeople).


This is the moment when I believe true sales skills begin to shine because it’s at this moment you are on the pin and it's at this moment that you need to have a nice, easy, elegant method for moving forward, if you haven’t learned how to do this, chances are you’re going to ‘feel’ anxious and awkward which will massively drop your chances of achieving success (this is easy to learn by the way).


But let’s assume you’ve invested some time in learning how to easily and effortlessly capitalise on the conversation.


If you are now speaking to a gate keeper, you’ll know that this person can be a fountain of useful information and will if you cultivate rapport quickly, will help you to not only gain everything you need to know about the decision maker, but will also put you through to the decision maker.


If on the other hand you get straight through to the decision maker, you’ll know that your opening statement is the thing that will transport both of you forward and at the end of the conversation result in you agreeing to meet and potentially do business.


Only a small percentage of business services will sell over the telephone, for those who do this I’ll write a different article on the process of how to take that conversation to a sale, but for the majority who sell services to business, a meeting is normally the stepping stone to agreeing to do business.


When we walk into someone’s place of business, we are walking into their home environment as a stranger, which is why it is crucial that we have done our homework about the customer and their business before we arrive so that we can move effortlessly from frivolous opening rapport to asking quality questions about the person we are speaking to, their perspective of their business, it’s challenges and the opportunities they have on the horizon.


I’ve found over my many years in business that if we ask enough ‘quality’ questions, we ‘will’ find a way that we can help them from what it is that we do and offer to our clients…


It's at this point that most people (untrained people) then launch into a huge monolog of all the things that they and their company do in an attempt to impress the customer and ‘sell’ them into buying from them, please do not do this, nobody likes to hear this and I mean nobody!!


At the point that the light bulb goes on in your head of exactly what you can do to help the prospective customer solve or gain what they most want… I highly recommend that you simply begin by making the following statement


From what you’ve just said (then simply repeat what they said in the way that they said it)”

e.g. The biggest problem you’ve got is


If they agree with 100% enthusiasm, simply ask this question


“ok great, why don’t I take that off your plate for you so that you can focus on…?


9 times out of 10 they’ll say "let’s do it"…. (Deal done)


Please don’t get me wrong, there are an almost infinite number of scenarios, and this is just one example, what I’m endeavouring to share with you is the need to have a well-crafted sales process that will put you in the room and a method for taking the conversation in a direction that feels comfortable for both you and the customer to arrive at a point to do a deal.


Sales is so much easier than most people think BUT it has a cost, either you have to learn from the school of hard knocks or who have to carve out the time to invest in accelerating your learning by working with someone who can teach you how to cut years off of your journey to your ultimate success…


Finally, I’ll leave you with a 5-step conversation process


The 5 Step conversation process

  1. Rapport
  2. Asking questions – Quality questions with active listening
    1. What is the goal
    2. What are the options
  3. Finding the DBM – The dominant buying motive
  4. Matching across – Specifically how you will solve or give them a solution
  5. Ask – if this works for them?


If you'd like to take a personal deep dive into accelerating your sales revenues please do get in touch


John Kettley

John F Kettley is the founder of the Sales Masters Guild


A serial entrepreneur from his teenage years, John and his companies have sold a vast range of products and services across just about every market sector and medium there is, both here in Europe and the USA.


Find out more about John on his Sales Masters Guild profile page


Read more blogs from John


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