Click here -  Compelling Selling – The Lund Fish


* All skilled sales negotiations have a structure: a beginning, a middle and an end.  You must start at the beginning, handle the middle with no stone unturned, and sail through to the end, closing successfully on the enticing offer.  They are not conversations that drift around in the hope you will somehow arrive in the right place

* The 3 areas you must succeed in covering are

  1. Does the customer want your product or service?
  2. Does the customer want it from you?
  3. And how is (s)he going to have it??


* Questions give you control of the subject under discussion

* As Kipling said, “I keep six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names were HOW and WHY and WHEN and WHAT and WHERE and WHO

Questions beginning HOW, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, WHAT & WHO elicit qualitative response which tells you what the customer actually thinks about it

* Questioning begins with the general and moves to the specific – the objective: Is there a market for your product or service here?  They start with the weather, or something you notice in the office (not too long but you are clearly a nice, interesting & interested guy), move on to the markets the customer competes in, then on to the area in which the customer works and manages; and finally on to the specific subject of future discussion

*Remember.  You only have one chance to make a good first impression

*Two key decsions have to be reached now. Are there issues here which your product or service can resolve?  And is the customer you are speaking to the decision maker?  Make sure he is




*With the customer’s operational issues identified, you must now determine the criteria he will wish to satisfy to remedy them in the decision

*The customer knows more about the issues; but you know more about the solutions and how they will innovate on the customer’s needs.  You continue with your same Kiplingesque question patterns.

*The customer will tell you his view of the best solutions for each of the operational needs; and with your expertise you can weight and agree the order of their importance. You can even add new solution deliveries particular to your ‘product’; and outweigh those where you are a little weaker or where your competitor perhaps has an advantage.

*If you do this beautifully, the customer will agree a description for the total solution sought which, surprise surprise, matches almost exactly the benefits your product or service deliver

*Make sure nothing is omitted: “Are there any aspects you would like to add to your list?” And then resummarise: “You said you want this for this very good reason, and also this (2) which is equally important too, and this (3)…; and you said this (4) was’nt particulary important (funnily enough, a competitor benefit too!) if you could have this (5) instead…..” etc

*Personalise your comments with YOU and YOUR

*During this phase, you must prehandle any likely objections such delay in ordering: “If the solution only sorted out this one issue, it would be worth doing immediately, wouldn’t it?

*Same with value. Value reduces cost. You must add value to the decision wherever you can: “Imagine the saving this would bring you alone”  “It would be worth buying the product or service if it only added this attribute to your operational performance, wouldn’t it? It’s a game changer!

*But never mention competition by name.  It is only free advertising.  If competition does come up, kill it with faint praise: “Yes.  This is a very good product or service and an excellent competitor.  Unfortunately (and as it happens, I am plesed to say) in your particular circumstance it would not fit in with your particular requirements.

*And then the TRIAL CLOSE: “IF I COULD show you that my product or service would solve all these issues we have discussed and solve them cost effectively, WOULD YOU place your order with me?”

*Note you have not discussed your product or service yet in any detail!!


*But you do now.  You talk about your product for the first time.  You show how the benefits that flow from the feautures of your product or service meet each of the customer’s decision criterion, one by one

*You extend each benefit with the words “which means……which means… and which in turn means” to extend the implications of each benefit as they apply to the customers criterion, so creating a benefit chain.  “This is quite exciting” says the customer

*And you add weight to each positive benefit chain by comparing it with the negative benefit chain.  What would happen if the customer did not have these benefits: “Imagine what would happen if you stayed where you are. This would happen which means your staff would be thrown into confusion which means you would suffer these organisation failures which means you would have to face these crippling costs as well as unhappy customers”

*As you handle each criterion for ordering, you check to make sure the customer agrees your product does in fact handle this particular issue: “Are you happy that this approach will provide the solution you are looking for with this particular issue?”

*Each of the criteria now handled, you must now check the customer is happy with the total solution: “You said your current system gave this major problem which is the reason you wanted to talk with me in the first place;  and you agreed that our offering more than gave you the solution you are seeking.  You also said that you have these other issues 2..3..& 5 and agreed our benefits 2..3..& 4 would create the ideal environment for you.  Are you still in agreement with this way forward?  Or is there anything I have omitted?

*Yes” says the customer. “I am extremely happy with this solution.  Your product for service is exactly what I have been looking for for a number of years.  In fact it gives me far more than I could have hoped for”

* You are now ready to close.  “Are you now happy to proceed on this basis?”

*You have shown the customer what the customer wants.  Now you must show how it can happen.


*Objections will show exactly what must be done for the order to be placed, for the ‘sale’ to go ahead.  They are ‘the signposts’ for the way to the decision

*Price is always an objection.  No-one buys things because they are cheap.  They must want it first.  They will want it if you show it to be particularly good value.  It will be cheap if the value to be delivered far outweighs the cost of purchase; and vice versa

*Price should never be discussed until now, until you have successfully showed value

*First you must check if it is a ‘sincere’ objection: “If I could sort this out for you, would you be ready to go ahead on the basis we have discussed?”  The trial close again

*I would have one if it were blue?…Where could I install it?….What are the payment terms?… When could you deliver it?…are all buying signals.  The customer is ready to place the order.  Make sure you cover off any remaining key points…..and close



*There are 5 closing techniques to keep in mind -

  • The alternative close.  You reduce the pressure by offering a choice instead of asking directly: “Would you like the big one or would you prefer to start with the small one?”  “Would you prefer a red one of a blue one?” It’s a great way to set an appointment: Shall we meet Monday at 3; or would you prefer Wednesday at 11.30?”
  • The assumptive close. Again you reduce the pressure by assuming the decision is made and it is only a question of – “Where would you like it installed?” or “When would you like it delivered” or “How would you like to arrange payment?”
  • The trial close.  “If I could….would you…?”  “If I could sort out this issue for you, would you be happy to go ahead with your order?”
  • The provisional order close. “As this has to go to the Board, may I suggest you place your order now, provisional on Board acceptance.  This will expedite delivery for you.”
  • The direct close.  “Are you happy to place your order now?” A positive negotiation, a positive agreement to proceed, a positive close.  There is nothing stronger when you have done it beautifully and, so, nothing better.

*Remeber. For the customer signing the order is an emotional moment.  It precludes any further choice.  Be sure you have made the decision easy

*Remember too the power of SILENCE.  When you have asked for the acceptance of anything throughout the sale, say what you have to say and be SILENT.  Never be drawn in by the customer’s silence to answer the question for him, to offer compensatory remarks.  Decisions take time for the customer.  Give that respect

*With the decision made, put the order in your pocket, congratulate a good decision, detail the steps to be taken to assure a good delivery; AND LEAVE.  Be a good leaver


*…is made even more enticing by the high value the customer perceives he will gain by buying your product or service


*If you want to fill in the details of the sale, go to

*If you know the details but want a handbook of reminders, go to

*If you know the details, and don’t need any reminding, go to Confucius