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Choosing Your Sales Process Instead of the Buyer’s Process

Mistakenly, some salespeople (and sales organizations) believe that their buyer’s process is actually their sales process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of their prospective clients have a buying process that is inherently transactional—and inherently bad for value creation.

Choosing the Buyer’s Process

The buying company determines what they need on their own. Then they develop their own idea of what a solution should look like. After they’ve done this work, they ask salespeople the salesperson to respond to a request for a proposal. The buying company evaluate the bids, often selecting the lowest bidder, and then they make a purchase.

This process eliminates the ability for a salesperson or sales organization to create value for that buyer. By doing so, the purchase is “arm’s-length” and transactional.

This is not a sales process. It’s not. It’s a buying process.

Choosing a Value Creating Sales Process

The sales process begins when a salesperson helps their dream client discover and determine their needs together. This is part of what a salesperson does to create value. The salesperson then helps their dream client develop an effective solution, creating even more value. In a larger, more complex sale, the salesperson works inside the organization to help build consensus around that solution. This creates a tremendous amount of value for the salesperson’s prospective client.

If the buyer does evaluate options, and many times when you follow a process like this is that they don’t, by creating value the salesperson has positioned themselves to win the opportunity. If it ever goes to purchasing or a pure economic buyer, the salesperson has the ability to combat a pure price discussion by leaning on the value that they created throughout the process.

This is a sales process.

The Difference Is the Difference

By mistakenly believing that a buying process—especially a transactional buying process—is a sales process, the sales organization and salespeople who subscribe to this belief end up competing on price in what is a pure transactional purchase. By believing that the buying process is a sales process the salesperson eliminates their ability to create value as well as any opportunity to capture value.

As it turns out, you cannot capture value unless you create value first.

The right answer is to push very hard to follow a sales process that allows you to create value instead of following the buyer process that eliminates the ability to create value.


How does a transactional buying process destroy value creation?

What is the difference between a buying process and a sales process?

How does following your process allow you to create value?

How does your process allow you to capture the value you need to deliver?

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  • Maureen Blandford

    Yep. About time for this perspective. Spot on.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Maureen!

  • Brett

    I just sent a note to our sales team about how we default to bid/price wars because we assume the client knows how our product/service creates value for their business. The client doesn’t often know… or is so used to other salesfolks defaulting to price that they have forgotten to consider the potential value our product can give toward their business goals.

    Just bringing up the connection between our product and the client’s overall goals can be a breath of fresh air. We have the opportunity to be leaders instead of RFP serfs.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I agree, Brett. I believe it matters how you engage early in the process as to how easy it is to connect to value.

  • Michael Koory

    Anthony, well said. The real “Art” for the sales professional is then to determine, when, where and how to disrupt the thinking. Or as per the current popular theme “Challenge” their buying process.

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