Posted by: midpen | March 10, 2011

The ‘Killer App’ for Sales Interviews and Presentations

The ‘Killer App’ for Sales Interviews & Presentations

Photo of Eric Doner, speaker at April MPPA event

Eric Doner, Achievement Training Associates

It is a pretty well established fact that most well-managed sales organizations follow some type of consultative selling process. Such a process requires learning about customers needs and requirements before presenting a solution. This means that successful sellers must ask good questions and do more listening than talking. To do anything less results in premature presentation, which creates buyer resistance and either produces an unsuccessful outcome or at minimum, delays the sale.

Our model provides a planned sequence of communication steps for sales interviews that enables sellers to  earn the right to present their solution. By consistently following these steps, sellers can pinpoint customers’ needs and pain points, and fully qualify the sales opportunity. They then can make precise presentations, tailoring their solution specifically to customers’ needs. By carefully sticking to the process,  and not getting ahead of their customer, sellers experience virtually no resistance when it comes time to ask for a commitment. We like to emphasize that if you slow down the process, you can speed up the sale.

The steps and skills in our model are not new; what makes them effective is practicing the behavior to perform them in order, and not skip a step. This questioning part of this process can be customized to fit any product or service – if you know the answers you are seeking. In a training activity, we explain each step in the context of the sales environment and provide insights and examples for each step.

Question Open, Closed and Leading
Listen Active attending; not feigned
Observe Verbal and non-verbal signals
Verify Confirm, paraphrase
Explain Tie features & benefits to needs
Recommend Tell them next step – don’t ask
Secure commitment Confirm agreement

The Explain Step can best be accomplished using our N-F-B sales aid. This chart can be constructed during the sales interview; either in writing – or mentally by experienced and disciplined sellers.


Customer’s need, pain point or problem


Compelling characteristics of your solution that directly relate to customer’s need


How your solution will save the customer time & money and remove their pain

By presenting their solution in this format, sellers demonstrate that they have been listening, and address only the needs important to the customer. They avoid disclosing unnecessary product knowledge and easily set the stage for the buying decision.

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