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Selling Before The Buying Process Starts

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 10, 2010 6:00:10 AM

The definition of a great salesperson – or a Demand Creator – is someone who can sell when there is nothing to buy.

I don’t mean that you can sell ice to Eskimos, but that you can get conversations started before the customer/prospect has identified their need and begun the buying process.  When you can do this, you gain two critical advantages:


  1. You are able to provoke awareness and create demand.

  2. Because there is nothing to buy, none of your competition will be there.


To be able to create demand like this, you must stop thinking of yourself (or acting) as a salesperson.  Instead, you must truly become a businessperson who sells.

To begin the process of creating demand, and selling when there is nothing to buy, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Identify the problem you intend to solve.  This should be a high probability/high value problem that impacts the types of customers you best serve.

Step 2: Answer the question – “Who gets fired if this problem isn’t solved?”  The reality is, in today’s sales drought if the problem you want to provoke isn’t big enough for someone to potentially lose his or her job over, it’s not a big enough problem to create budget for.

Step 3: Determine if the person you have targeted has the authority to do something about it.  There are two types of authority worth pursuing:


  • The best is the authority to launch an initiative and allocate budgets to fix the problem.

  • The second type is the authority to get you the attention of someone who can launch an initiative or allocate budget.


Step 4: If the answer to Step 3 is “no,” then you must go back to Step 1 and identify a bigger problem you can impact.

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation