Sales Coach Christine Harrington

Popular Selling Processes..But Do They Work? Read to Learn More

I’ve got a lot to say today, so buckle up your seat belt.

Each day I talk to or meet salespeople who are frustrated, confused, and at their wit’s end. They use a sales process diligently and yet, their results are mostly average.

I’m constantly asked two questions:

“What does it take to succeed in sales?”

“Do I have what it takes to be a successful salesperson?”

And of course, the salesperson is looking for a better way to sell assuming what they’re doing is all wrong.

Monday, at a networking event, an account executive asked what sales modalities have I been trained on. The follow-up question was, what sales books do I recommend. She shared with me her frustrations and thought maybe she should learn a new sales process or read books on selling. I’m all for reading BUT…

As I told her, I only recommend the masters of the past, Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, to name a few.

Here’s why

Some current popular sales books concentrate on a selling process written by authors who regurgitate a sales process they once used as a salesperson. They have not invented a new process, though a few claim it’s their own proprietary process.

In my 42 years of selling in the insurance industry, here are the sales modalities I trained in, use and recommend.

Selling Processes

  • Professional Selling Skills (now a Miller-Heiman product)
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Sandler
  • Hopkins

All of the above sales modalities have common processes or variations. And even a few insurance companies I sold for, had their own quasi-training based on the above sales modalities.

Here’s a basic version of selling processes

  • Agenda to gain acceptance
  • Story (either your own story or the company you represent’s story. Some modalities include this, some don’t)
  • Questions or Probing to uncover and understand needs
  • Support the buyer by leading with the benefits that best align with the buyers’ needs or support desired outcomes and solutions.
  • Closing the deal.
  • Sprinkled throughout the process are mini-closes.

Everyone needs a sales process to stay in control of the sales appointment.


Here’s the problem and I’ve been saying this for over a decade.

If all it took was to learn a sales process then everyone who learns a sales process should be crazy successful…right?

You and I know something more is needed than a sales process to be crazy successful.

Here’s another popular selling phrase found in some current sales books…

“selling is doing something for the buyer, not to the buyer.”

I disagree.

Selling is doing something with the buyer not for or to the buyer.


If you’re selling your product for the buyer to solve a problem, then you may get at the highest level a satisfied customer.

However, if you’re selling a product with the buyer to solve a problem; there’s a collaboration between you and the buyer which produces a win/win sale.

And when you align with the buyer for her reasons to buy, whether it’s to solve an issue or resolve a situation, you are collaborating with her using your product to address her business needs. (see my recent YouTube video on this)

This collaboration begins a long-term mutual relationship of trust, and respect that turns into a loyal customer.

I don’t see salespeople as a hunter, farmer, or in a battle or whatever metaphor is being used to describe the salesperson or the sales process these days. 

Sales is a collaboration.

A relationship.

Not an adversarial struggle to conquer the sale.

Bottom line, you need more than just a sales process to be crazy successful.

I’m suggesting…

Blend the old masters with the new in selling. The new is not a recreated sales process sold as a new idea. The new is the breakthroughs in the last 10 years in cognitive science and neuroscience.

AND admit it. You (your mind) is holding yourself hostage. It’s not a “new way” or a different process you need. What you need is to be unleashed from the constraints and limited thinking you’ve imposed on YOU!

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP talks about the concept of “inner magic”, something we all possess. Watch his interview with Gerhard Gschwandtner here.

Each of you has your own inner magic, something you can withhold or share with the prospect, customer or anyone you meet.

Cognitive science shows that our thoughts do not work in our favor! Many times if you find yourself jumping to conclusions based on incomplete facts (see last weeks article  or watch the video here ) have high anxiety or engage in internal trash talk, you’re being ruled by your emotions.

As a result of all this negativity running amok in your mind, here’s what can happen. You perceive a relatively small setback (a bump in the road) as an enormous hurdle to jump over. Reality is skewed by your emotions.

As my dear dad would say..”You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”

Your “inner magic” as Bill McDermott calls it, is snuffed out because it can’t compete with all the internal trash talk.

And when that happens, no sales process can help you because your own self-sabotaging thoughts cause deep emotions which takes over your mind (anxiety) and hampers your performance.

Negative thought cycle
Negative thought cycle

See the vicious cycle?

“I knew I’d blow it”

“I’m not smart enough to be in sales”

“If only I could dress better, I’d be more successful”

“I don’t have the ‘sales’ personality”

When you beat yourself up from the last selling appointment while driving to the next selling appointment, how effective will you be? Not very effective. 

If you are your own worst enemy, it’s time to stop beating yourself up and instead become your own best friend.

Many times, we treat other people with more respect than we treat ourselves.

Sales is an admirable profession. You ARE needed and wanted as a sales professional.

In my coaching practice, I’ve watched sales professionals blossom into no limit thinking machines! And they’ve experienced tremendous growth and success. Here are a few testimonials.

Brent Thacker

Brian Recher and Pillar to Post

Start Here!

  • Whatever you feel you lack, you CAN learn a new skill or strategy.
  • Everyone, (who is serious about their career) needs a coach (short-term) to help guide them to get back on track, learn new skills and hold them accountable.
  • Commit to your own personal development and professional development. Come up with a concrete plan to execute your development areas in 2018.
  • Learn how to develop mental toughness. Learn about your mindset and how to grow it into no limit thinking. Be a lifelong learner.

Aren’t you tired of all those thoughts swirling around in your mind driving your day?

Take control of your mind, and develop your “Inner CEO” as we call it in the Peak Performance Mindset training.

If you need help in this area, (frankly, we all do!) schedule a free introductory phone call (click here) to explore more about how my sales coaching program can help you.

If you only need a one-time session, choose Sales Consultation. (fee-based service). (click here). 

OR…schedule a private Peak Performance Mindset 2-hour session to learn how YOU can take charge of your mind, and make it work for you, instead of against you. (click here and choose Peak Performance Mindset Coaching-Individual, fee-based service*.) *Price includes the Peak Performance 12 week workbook and journal to help continue the learning. 

Savvy Sales Lady


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