Selling Techniques

Selling Techniques vary from those used in the highly customer centric consultative selling that facilitate buying (rather than selling) to those used in the heavily pressured "hard close".

Now, lets get the focus of this page clear up-front. I'll be discussing some specific techniques used in selling as distinct from what I call selling models that bring together a bunch of techniques that fit into a pattern.

The Major Sales Models:

  • SPIN Selling
  • Soft Sell
  • Consultative selling
  • Solution selling
  • Strategic Selling
  • Reverse Selling
  • Open plan selling
  • Collaborative Selling
  • Customer Focused Selling
  • Integrity Selling
  • Question Based Selling
  • The CRAPS Model
  • Coaching a sale
  • Helping the buyer to buy

Can I offer a unique definition of selling borrowed from another modality?

I COULD define selling as an Attitude and a Methodology that leaves behind a trail of Techniques.

The Attitude would be curiosity with a desire to help the customer.

The Methodology could be any of those listed above.

And, by the way, my belief is that if you do not have the Attitude all the techniques in the world will not make you a really good sales person.

In examining these Models or Methodologies certain selling techniques are common to many of them. That's what this page is about.


Any sale involves first getting the customer to have an open discussion with you. That means you need to build some sort of rapport. 

The customer feels some tension in a sales discussion derived from the belief that you are either going to ask them to spend some money (if they will buy directly) or to do some work (by switching from their current supplier to your company, if they are employed as the buyer for a bigger company).

For a customer to consider doing either of these they need to have sufficient trust in you to enter into a discussion. One-way sales discussions seldom get very far.

So, the first selling technique is Rapport Building.
( See "Sales Rapport" in navigation bar at top of page under heading"Sell More".)

Asking Questions

Asking good questions is critical to selling.
About half the selling models listed above focus on asking questions.
It's a pity that so few sales people do it well.

Why do we ask questions?Well, most of the models above would say you ask questions to "uncover a need" or to "find the customer's problem" or to "link into the customer's pain" or to "find the customers Dominant Buying Motive" and they would all be correct but incomplete.

In asking questions far to many sales people stop too early, before they know what the customer is really saying. 
It's important that your questions lead you to an understanding of what the customer is talking about. 
So, asking questions is critical
(See "Sales Questions" in "Free Articles", under "Free Stuff" on top navbar .)

I mentioned before that most of the models above were incomplete in their motive for asking questions. I say that because they do not refer to finding out about the buyer and how they think and how that relates to how they buy. 
You can make sales without knowing this but generally less often and much less often in selling big ticket items.
You need to know your customer.

That's a more advanced selling technique based on persuasion psychology.


It's no point asking questions unless you listen to the answers.

I noted the comments below on the Internet just this week.

"As a client, some of my best experiences with sales people were with those who honestly listened to my needs, and showed an interest in more than just the business. They came in with a low pressure, open, and honest approach and won my business. I didn't mind setting up appointments for their visits. I looked forward to them. …when competitors called, I quickly told them we were happy with our current vendor - even if they may have been able to give us a better price! That's part of the power of relationship selling!"

Notice it all started with listening another important selling technique.
(See my article on Listening & Selling ... "Free Articles" under "Free Stuff" navbar above)

Establish the Value of Your Offer

OK, you've built some rapport while you've asked questions and listened to the answers. You know a bit about how the customer thinks and what they want. Now to sell you have to relate your product to their want as you build the value of it in their mind.

You need to make sure as you establish the value of your offer that you are focused on the customer's DBM. 
I have a preferred method of asking questions to uncover the customer's Dominant Buying Motive.
(See "Free Article" # 36, NavBar at top of page under Free Stuff>>Free Articles)

Once you have the DBM you focus most of your efforts on building value in relation to their DBM.

Building value in your offer is something we'll have to cover in a later issue but it's a very important selling technique.


At some point during the sales call a customer might start voicing some objections, which may be strong or maybe stalls or maybe just thinking out loud as to how you offer will fit in with their situation.

At that point you need to know how to handle objections.
(See "Sales Objections" under "Sell More" in top navbar)


Finally, Closing is a selling technique that many sales trainers promoted for many years as the ultimate technique.
I don't believe that's true.

If you have followed the other selling techniques listed above all that should be needed is to ask for the order, although, it is important to remain calm and confident at this time. 
Think about the teller at K-Mart, do they get all flustered after they've scanned in all your purchases or do they just calmly say "cash or credit card?".

There are some closing techniques and some that I especially like related to how the customer thinks but they'll have to wait for another day.

Greasing the Wheel

I'll bet you've never heard this one before.

During my days at my previous business my business card had no title on it and people used to ask me what I did. 

My answer was almost always, "I grease the wheels".

What I meant buy that is that I did my absolute best to make it easy for my customer's to buy.

Sometimes that meant calling the customer before reorder time to alert them of favourable market conditions that would make it cheaper for them to place their order now. (Funny, it always worked out more profitable for me too?)

Sometimes it was a matter of looking into the systems at work and removing any potential bottlenecks. 
Sometimes it was a matter of putting something in place with a colleague to monitor stocks of a critical product my customer used.
These instances are more related to follow up and after sales service however I also applied the concept to making it easy for a client to order during a sales visit too.
I'm sure you can think of some things if you put your mind to it.