High Impact Selling – Timeless Sales Advice

My re-reading of William T. Brooks’ 1988 book, High Impact Selling: Power Strategies for Successful Selling, reminded me that the keys to successful sales have been known for years. They just need to be implemented and followed.

Fundamentals of High Impact Selling

  • People buy for their own reasons, not for yours or mine
    • WII-FM – What’s In It for Me?
    • Thus, make your every appeal to the prospect’s self-interests
  • People do not want to be sold; they want to buy
    • People buy benefits – not features, products or services
      • What do you do to appeal to your customer’s interests and desires?
      • What value does the purchase of your product and service create for the customer?
    • Customer empathy is vital
      • Do you see your primary activity as selling or as helping people make buying decisions?
  • The High Impact Salesperson is capable of producing maximum sales with minimum time and effort.
    • They are the sort of salesperson people enjoy doing business with
    • They are experts at building and maintaining the right kinds of relationships with prospective customers
    • They exude credibility and integrity

IMPACT = Investigate | Meet | Probe | Apply | Convince | Tie It Up

Investigate: Investigate to discover who is interested in your business proposal

  • A Qualified Prospect is someone
    • You have rapport with
    • Has a need you can satisfy and knows it
    • Has the resources to satisfy the need
    • Has agreed to listen to you
  • The better the job of finding qualified prospects that you do, the higher your closing average will be!!
  • The salesperson who asks enough of the right questions, of the right persons, in the right places, will always have plenty of qualified prospects.
  • You never know when your prospect’s motivation to buy will suddenly, dramatically increase. Thus, the only certain way to be thought of first is through frequent, repetitious contact

Meet: Meet with interested persons to talk about your proposal

  • Create Trust
    • Eliminate tension inducers
    • Look for tangible ways to help your customer relax
  • Build Rapport
    • Start off well
    • Get to the point of your visit quickly
    • Ask questions to get the customer to talk

Probe: Probe to find out what potential customers want most and under what conditions they will buy it

  • Listen people into buying instead of talking your way out of the sale
    • Focus on what your prospects want to happen not on what you want to happen
    • Ask – if you ask enough of the right questions throughout you will more likely get an order
    • Listen – paying attention to what the prospect is saying (and not saying) is the most important task of a salesperson
  • The best way to serve your own interests is to put the needs and desires of your customer first
    • In order for me to be of service to you, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
    • To deliver value to the prospect, you must see yourself primarily as a value resource for the prospect. As such, you must discover what the prospect perceives as value.
  • How to Ask the Right Questions
    • Prepare in advance the questions you will ask
    • Ask open ended and indirect questions
    • Ask questions to determine the dominant needs
      • Car salesperson – what do you least like about your present car?
    • Ask questions that help determine the dominant buying motivations
      • Who are you buying from now?
      • What do they do well?
      • What do you wish they would do better?
    • Start with broad questions, then move toward questions with a narrower focus
    • Ask questions that are easy to answer using the questions to guide the interview and keep it positive
  • Ask – then shut up and listen

Apply: Apply your most desirable solution to their most compelling needs and desires

  • To a prospect, any price is too high until he or she understands the value of a product or service
  • To apply means that you show prospects how they can get what they want most by buying what you are selling
  • In many situations, salespeople skip over the Probe step and go right to the demonstration.
  • In demonstration, do not focus on the product, the company, or yourself. Instead focus on the customer –what they want and what they will gain by buying your products.
    • Always point out the benefit a feature offers
  • All values are intangible until someone makes them tangible, and all intangible values can be made tangible with a little creativity. But focus on what most satisfies the customer’s most compelling need
    • “What you will get out of this is…”
  • Key is to find the most compelling need – “hot button”
    • Stay alert for it
    • If you do not know, ask

Convince: Convince the prospect that they can fulfill their needs and wishes by buying whatever you are selling.

  • Prove your claims
    • It makes little difference what you believe is true, unless you can prove it to your prospect
  • Reinforce, where possible, all claims visually
  • Repeat important claims and proofs again and again
  • Bring your own witnesses; prospects expect salespeople to make claims for what they are selling, but they are impressed when someone else makes or endorses those claims
    • Case studies
    • Testimonials – Try to get written endorsements from every customer
    • Try to involve happy customers with prospects
    • Viral marketing
  • Prove value to justify price
  • Sell the key benefit
    • The question is: What is your unique selling proposition?
    • The answer is: The benefit this prospect finds most attractive

Tie It Up: Tie it up and take it home

  • Open the negotiation with the question – “Is there anything that would keep you from going ahead with this?” STOP and then listen
  • Or the statement: “I know you have some concerns. I want to help you deal with those concerns so you can have the value I have created and the benefits that you want.”
  • Clear away objections
    • Objections are often from emotion
    • Simplify the objection – state the problem clearly and succinctly
    • Tactics
      • I understand how you feel about…
      • Many of my other customers felt the same way…
      • But, they found that…
      • Test – Can you see how you might find the same thing to be true for you?
    • Ensure that they understand the benefits
  • Ask for the order
    • Is there anything that would keep you from buying now?
    • Ask them to buy then shut up
    • “First, always ask for the order, and second, when the customer says yes, stop talking.” Michael Bloomberg – Mayor of New York City
  • Deal with the fear of making a decision
    • After they buy, compliment them on their wise choice

Salesperson Time Management Skills (Added Bonus)

  • Focus on increasing your prime selling time – the precious minutes you spend before your prospect, actually selling
  • In considering your activities
    • Focus not on “What are you doing?”, but instead on “Why are you doing it.”
    • The question is not “How hard do you work?”, but “What do you work at doing?”
    • Keep a detailed time log and analyze where time is spent
  • Tips
    • Make planning a way of life
    • Put yourself on a schedule
    • Discover and stop doing your time wasting habits
    • Get your life organized
      • Don’t just shuffle papers or E-Mails – process them
      • Keep your life uncluttered
      • Practice decisiveness
    • Concentrate on results, not activities
    • Develop time awareness
    • Learn to use little tidbits of time productively
    • Keep your priorities straight with To Do lists
    • Learn to say “No”
    • Enjoy your free time
      • Relaxing is all about “sharpening your saw” so you can work more effectively


  • Listen people into buying your product.

About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Growth and Strategy, Sales and Marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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