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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Proven Sales Process in a Softer Economy

Proven Sales Process in a Softer Economy

Although face-to-face meetings are happening more often, being creative and using video to stay connected with customers as well as propose and close business with new prospects is still a trend that’s not slowing down.

The best sellers know it’s time to move from playing defense to playing offense because customers and prospects need help. They need solutions. They need the problem-solving expertise that a quality salesperson brings to the table.

Simply put, customers are more open to ideas and solutions than ever before because their level of pain is high.

A Sales Process That Works

Sales is a step-by-step process. Here are the steps of a proven sales process used by the best sellers:

  • Identify: find, select, and qualify high-potential prospects
  • Connect: use business insights to develop a valid business reason to make a connection
  • Discover: lead with insights and discover desired business results (customer needs)
  • Advise: recommend the best solutions or solutions to deliver the desired business results
  • Close: gain final approval with a proposal that minimizes surprises (a no-surprise proposal)
  • Grow: keep promises, deliver results, sell success and grow the account

This process works because it’s intuitive, and it allows the seller and the customer or prospect to form a partnership built on transparency, honesty, and results.

The Ultimate Guide to Using the Sales Process to Improve Sales Performance

Adjusting a Proven Sales Process to a Softer Economy

Using creativity and video are not necessarily a new way of conducting business. In a softer economy, these ways after often more efficient than previous ways of doing business. Here are a couple of examples:


When setting an appointment with a new prospect, sellers need to stand out. The best way to do this is by using a valid business reason based on business insight that communicates empathy, expertise, and problem-solving. Being creative when connecting with a new business prospect helps as well. Creativity enhances the seller’s ability to stand out from the pack.


The 4Needs Analysis process is an excellent way to discover the desired business results of a prospect or client. Here’s a summary of the 4A process:

  • Assessment: discover the desired results the business is looking to achieve
  • Assignment: summarize all the desired business results and select one to focus on when building a solution
  • Analysis: once the assignment is clear, analyze the problem to solve to find out what is getting in the way of achieving the desired business result
  • Agreement: agree on how to measure success and determine expectations and how the client will measure the results

Coaching the Sales Process: Overlooked Points in the DISCOVER Step

A new adjustment to this proven process is conducting a 4A needs analysis discovery meeting virtually using the following:

  • Email to start the process using a video message
  • Phone conversation to continue the process
  • Use technology like Zoom or GoToMeeting to build a partnership and conclude the needs analysis process

Savvy sellers have figured out this method delivers the same result as face-to-face sales activity, plus it saves time and, in some cases, travel expenses. Here are a few tips to help sellers look awesome on video:

  • Avoid background clutter and moving objects—like a ceiling fan 
  • Sit upright and look straight at the camera—avoid being slumped over or appearing too casual
  • Position the camera so that you fill 2/3 of the screen
  • Face the light, do not have it behind you to avoid the shadow effect

Close and Grow

The use of screen share technology like Zoom and GoToMeeting can also be used to present a proposal and close a deal, and conduct follow-up meetings to discuss performance, ROI, and delivery on expectations.

Many managers and sellers are quickly discovering these tweaks are helping to improve sales performance because they save time and increase the sales capacity of sellers. How are you adjusting your sales process to a softer economy?

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Topics: sales process