There are five perils that endanger a sale.
Assuming the deal is yours at the onset.
Caring too much about winning the deal.
Displaying arrogance during a sales call.
Becoming principled on the “right way” of doing things with the client.
Letting worry languish advancement of the sale.
These are common failings that contribute to missed quotas.
When reflecting on lost sales,
these perils form the foundation of failure.
Respect the five perils.
I’ve decided to embark on a new adventure and start a podcast called Sales Babble. While the Tao Te Ching of Sales was focused on the Master Seller, Sales Babble will focus on the novice seller. I believe this new forum will allow me to better help the sales community in ways this blog could not.
I’m excited to start this new adventure despite the huge learning curve. Yet we know from the Tao that our lives are always in motion. That the world is a river, winding through rock and wood. It is never static, never stuck, but instead alive and ephemeral. My life is no different.
I deeply appreciate the subscribers who have been following this forum for the past two years. It has been a joyous effort and expression of the art of sale. I anticipate turning these posts into a book and have worked on it off and on. I also anticipate I’ll continue to post here when the mood strikes. The Tao is like that. The Master Seller is often inspired by the events of the day. That event creates opportunity and a teachable moment. When that moment occurs you can assure a new post will be published. The Master Seller can do no other. I hope someday to be that person.
In the meantime I urge you to listen to an episode that was made specifically for friends and followers of the Tao Te Ching of Sales.
You can find the post at
See you there.
Can you stop your mind wandering
and advance the sale?
Can you find the decision maker
not those who bluster “they make the choice”?
Can you find their process
how they will decide to buy?
Can you find their timeline
when the project is complete?
Can you find their budget
and every issue that feeds inertia?
Advancement occurs through discovery.
Organizations cough up reality in due time.
The Master Seller is awake,
overcoming objections as they arise,
Allowing the sale to progress
from opportunity to deal,
Advancing each day.
Awake to the sale
Advances happen as a matter of course
Asleep to the sale
You are surprised by events.
It is easy to react
Next easiest to respond
The hardest is to initiate
Knowing the next step.
In pursuit of advancing the sale,
every day an objection appears.
In pursuit of closing a sale,
each day an objection is dropped.
How are you paying?
Who will decide?
What compels change?
Where else are you shopping?
Why shop now?
When will you decide?
How will you decide?
Objections tumble until non-objection is achieved
This is closing the sale.
Last night I was at the clothing store, shopping for clothes for my upcoming vacation. There was a wide selection of garments and I took a number of them into the changing room. One by one I tried each one of them on, deciding whether or not they would meet my needs. Some of the garments I kept for purchase, while the rest were placed back on the racks.
This is the same thing our prospects do when buying. They survey the products, both yours and the competition, to see if it meets their requirements. And oftentimes that means not just them, but the needs of a large number of people, with multiple roles across a large organization. Disorganized and grasping on their true needs, these prospects demand a large amount of patience and coaching. The Master Seller walk them through the process step by step. They are wise to the process, yet collaborative with a deft touch.
Sometimes you can help these folks, sometimes you can’t. They may not be ready, or they’re just tire kickers. The Master Seller is awake to reality and knows that this is the way the world works. They don’t burn bridges, they know it takes a compelling event to drive a purchase, and this moment, right now, may not be that time.
Mindful of your dress
Choose your dinnerware carefully.
When making your pitch
Spoon feed the details slowly.
Table any issues
You can’t address to completion.
Cut your pitch
Into bite size amounts.
Be careful not to have the horse
Follow the ala carte.
And when you come to a fork in the conversation,
Pick it up
Lest the listener gets bored.
With Deliberate and measured growth
The sapling reaches great heights.
Knowing it’s not an absence of action,
The Master Seller sees Patience as power,
They wait for the right time to act.
With steady follow-up
they advance the sale,
Guiding the close with a steady hand.
With each question
Comes an answer
The Master Seller
Finding common ground.
Getting a prospect to generate ownership language is crucial for advancing the sale. Again consider the question “What would you do if…” and let’s see how you can apply this question in real life.
List three benefits that differentiate your product or service from you competition or the status quo. For each of these benefits create one or more “What would you do if” questions. During a sales call, the moment will arrive and you will have the opportunity to ask them if they can see the benefits of a part of your solution, e.g. “Can you see how this is faster?”. When they say “yes”, you will ask “What would you do if you had more time?” Patiently wait for their answer until they start describing what their future would look like if they had your solution.
The Master Seller is infinitely patient, asking questions, allowing the sale to precede at its own pace.