Action Selling

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Both myself and my sales team have been studying material from a fabulous book called ACTION SELLING by Duane Sparks

Here is my summary of the book…



You are going to make a lot of money.

A sale is a  drama  with the action moving toward a predetermined conclusion.

Act 1   The Commitment Objective

A goal that we set for ourselves to gain agreement for the customer that moves the sales process forward.

No commitment objectives, no sales call, – period.

Every sale is a series of steps,  a progression of milestones and every mileston demands a commitment objective.


Milestone:    Commitment Objective:

1. Phone Call    Schedule Needs Analysis
2. Needs Analysis Meeting  Set Presentation Meeting with D-makers
3. Meet with D Makers   Schedule Proposal Meeting
Present Product
4. Proposal Meeting   GAIN SALE

You can shave 25% off your sell cycle time with a commitment objective.

If you skip vital Acts early on in the sales process, you will pay later.

Establishing a Commitment Objective takes place before the curtain rises on the actual drama – before the interaction with the client begins.

Act 2   People Skills

The five Buying Decisions are made in a predetermined order as follows:

Decision 1 Salesperson
Decision 2 Company
Decision 3 Product
Decision 4 Price
Decision 5 Time to Buy

All 5 Buying Decisions take place in a major purchase.

They are made in sequence.  Our presentation must match the sequence of the Buyer’s Decision.

To gain a $50K commitment, you need a $50K relationship.

Great listeners ask great questions, take careful notes, and then summarize what they have heard.

Act 3   Ask the Best Questions

1. “Asking the Best Questions” lets you establish that you’re a good listener and that you’re genuinely interested in helping the client find solutions to his needs.  In Action Selling’s terms, it helps you sell yourself.  That’s the customer’s first buying decision.
2. It allows you to identify and clarify the best targets to aim at when you present your company and product – the needs that let you differentiate yourself from competitors by selling a solution, not a commodity.
3. It enables you to leverage the emotional side of the buying decision by further zeroing in on high-yield needs – the ones that have the greatest personal urgency to the client.
4. It allows you to sell strategically, and to adjust your Commitment Objective so that you can keep the process moving forward with the right people and at the right pace.

Act Dumb/ Dig Deep

Finds emotional needs..

Act 4   Agree on Need

From what you’ve told me you are looking for … (insert needs). Is that correct?

Whoever does the best job of uncovering needs for the strengths of their solution will WIN.

Back-tracking benefit: Uncover a minimum of 3 high-yield needs for your product.

To help – this process identify the feature if product, benefit, need and then note relevant questions and also leverage questions.

Act 5   Sell The Company

Acts 2, 3 and 4 sell the salesperson Act 5 you sell the company.

In Act 5 the salesperson changes roles and does more of the talking.

To sell your company – provide the answers to these questions

1. What does it do?
2. What is it known for?
3. Are we a good match?

Act 6   Sell the Product

Two thirds of the selling decision is found in Act 3

Tie – Back – connect to an agreed upon need
Feature – What is it?
Benefit – What will it do for the customer?
Reaction – How does the customer perceive this as a solution?

Repeat the TBFR process for each need.  Save the most important ones for last.

Keep a TFBR – reserve in case you hear a stall when you ask for commitment.

At the end of Act 6 ask
Do you have any questions?
If they say No – head for the price
If they say Yes – head back to Act 3

Use the Word investment not cost.
Investment is more positive.

Act 7  Ask for Commitment

62% of all salespeople don’t close.

3 Reasons why salespeople don’t close
1. No plan
2. No procedure
3. Missed Opportunities

Never try and pressure, manipulate, trap or trick the customer into buying.

To ask for commitment:

1. Summarize – features and quote price
2. Ask – ‘How does that sound?’
3. Positive – Ask ‘Would you like to go ahead with this?’
Negative – Return to Act 3 and ask more questions.

A stall measures that the customer is not quite sold yet but has no specific reason.

With an objection, the customer has a specific reason for not buying yet.

Never challenge a stall.

Handle a stall by:

1. Say: ‘I understand’
2. Review: reinstate features the customer liked
3. Act 6:  Add new TFBR
4. Act 7: Ask for commitment

When you ask for commitment the second time and don’t get it, what you will hear is almost certainly an objection.

Action Selling defines an objection as a customer response to an unasked question.

When an objection surfaces return to Act 3.

Handling Objections

1. Act 3  Ask the Best Question – clarify, qualify, identify
2. Act 4  Summarise objection as a need
3. Act 5  Positive Company Statement
4. Act 6 Present solution – TBFR

Act 8  Confirm the Sale

How to fight FUD – fear, uncertainty, doubt.
Do this by assuring, appreciating and scheduling a future event.
By scheduling a future event you have replaced the clients worry over the money they’ve just spent.

Act 9  Replay the Call

A professional salesperson will replay every call.

The best way to replay a call is to go over each Act and determine what worked and what you could have done better.

Great questions shine a light on problems or opportunities which gives you direction for later – the call….

You always learn something by replaying the call.

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