How We Sold

“Now that you have your inner game calibrated for success (are you practising the 5 principles?) it is time to learn the 5 outer game skillset habits of all prolific salespeople – learn these, and get out there – because if you’re not out selling, you’re being outsold!”  Paul Atherton, Managing director, Atherton Sales consultants ltd

Train Like You’ve Never Won, Sell Like You’ve Never Lost !

“Now that you have your inner game calibrated for success (are you practising the 5 principles?) it is time to learn the 5 outer game skillset habits of all prolific salespeople – learn these, and get out there – because if you’re not out selling, you’re being outsold!”  Paul Atherton, Managing director, Atherton Sales consultants ltd

•    Are you able to get the buyer talking 80% of the time, with you speaking 20% of the time?
•    Are you able to get to buyer motives quickly? To totally satisfy need and want quickly?
•    Do you find closing effortless, “objection-less”, “resistance-less”?

If the answer to any of these questions is not a firm YES – then help is at hand!
Here are 5 proven strategies for success for mastery of your “Outer Game” to ensure that you sell more than you don’t! Yes, a 50% + conversion! It takes 28 days to form a habit – So, do these things each day for 1 month and you will begin to unleash selling power you never knew you had!


Ask outstanding, world class open questions to gather information and learn about your prospect and their needs, wants and motives – I had 6 honest serving men, they taught me all I knew, their names were “what” and “Where” and “When” and ”why” and “how”  and “Who”.  This Rudyard Kipling quote has always helped me to remember how to start an open question! They are questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no” – instead with information. When you get information, write it down, this is crucial for the next step if you’re going to add value. For now, probe further into answers – this is where average salespeople stop – you won’t stop – ask how current problems affect them, what other consequences they have, how they make them feel, who else is affected, how long have they been living with this problem, how much longer are they going to tolerate it, what cost can be put on this problem over time? You need to have childlike curiosity, asking why? why? why? until you have your motives ! Genuine curiosity is the key – and you will discover things you could never had imagined! This is where you will experience serendipity (a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it). Where other sales people get surface information, you will discover diamonds! For now, write them all down, leave nothing to memory. Ask open questions – listen – write – Ask open questions – Listen – write – Loop this process, punctuating it with congruent (matching) body language that demonstrates listening (eye contact, nodding, naturally -don’t act, be authentic!) They talk 80% of the time, you only talk to ask questions – 20% of the time. As you read this now are you internally realising its power? It’s truth? It’s magic? Well believe it – it is sales magic!

You have already begun the process of building trust, more than you may realise, and now you need to well and truly nail it. Look at all the stuff you have written down – If you have done your job properly in step1 there will be at least 1 page of a4 paper full of bullet points.
Now all you need to do is organise them into priorities with the buyers help. This is where “closed” questions come into their own. Re-state what they told you – the problem, when & how it came about, how it affects them, what other impacts it has, it’s full consequences, it’s cost to the buyer, the business, the further consequences and cost if it goes unresolved, and it’s resolution urgency and importance on a scale of 1-10. Repeat this process for every problem / desired outcome, until you have a definitive list, each one numbered 1-10 for urgency / importance. You then summarise your list, in order of importance and urgency, each time asking the buyer if you have got it spot on. When you have finished your list, ask if there is anything you have omitted, misunderstood, or measured incorrectly. The answer should be no. This is the point at which the buyer feels totally understood – true empathy has been established. You have gone further than 80% of sales people on the planet! You have now earned the right to move on and “serve” the buyer.


Starting with point No1 on your list – Show (don’t tell!) how you WILL solve the problem. Talk in future tense, not in “could’s” – talk in “will’s” – We will! Certainty is everything!

Use TRUE stories of other clients who had this exact problem, got your help, and no longer have the problem – and prove it – with testimonials – photographs – video – audio  – comments and features on your website / social media, sales samples, product literature – and even be prepared to make a live call to a client from the buyers office – in fact offer it – so that you can “actually” prove your words ! Do not sell features, sell benefits – don’t sell what you do, sell what you cause – people want to know their future AFTER you begin to serve them – show them what will happen after you start working on their problems ! Turn all this into VALUE! If a problem / solution that your product/service can resolve/deliver is costing the buyer £500 per day now, or even £5 per day now, show how AFTER having you in their corner the COST will turn into VALUE! Repeat this for each problem on your list. Add all the value together. After each point in which you are “serving need or want” ask the buyer if they have any doubt of what you have demonstrated. The answer should be no. It is also crucial in this stage not to talk in technobabble, jargon or acronyms – unless it is absolutely given that the buyer understands your terminology. Make no assumptions! After you have “served” every need and want, from your list, in order of urgency and importance, when everything is ticked off, and I mean everything, you may now move on to step4.


If you want to get commitment, you first need to make commitment, to commit! Do not hesitate, do not allow any momentum to slip – the natural congruent outcome of everything you have achieved so far, it to exchange commitments, and you need to initiate! So, what you do is simple – you look them in the eye, and it’s just you and them, and you tell them that as of today you are in their corner, and that step1 is to solve problem 1, and that will be done by ………process & time……. Then problem 2, then problem 3 all the way until the list is done. You tell them who else will be involved in delivering, and how you will make the introductions, and how each stage will unfold. This must be delivered with absolute confidence and integrity. Promise what you can deliver – but make sure you can deliver!

At the end of this commitment initiation, you state the value based outcome – cost / value / financials / offers – and confidently hold out your hand to the buyer and state that you are delighted to be welcoming them as a partner / client, and that you are now in their corner. I know what you are thinking – where was the big close, the objections, all the tough stuff – the big “do I or don’t I ?” decision – it’s not here – because IF you have followed my advice from last month around your inner game, and IF you have followed these outer game steps 1-3 to the letter – and step 4 to the letter, then all this awkward closing / objection nonsense will not even feature – nowhere! Judge on experiential results when you put this into action – not on what your mind may be telling you now as you read! This works, for you and the buyer! It is the kindest, straightest way to serve, to sell and to do business right now – in fact it always has been!


Follow up on what you have promised. Deliver every day. Make sure that everybody in your business understands the new client partner’s precise needs, wants and motives. Give your mobile number, personal e-mail details etc. Keep a personal eye on progress and stay involved throughout. Do not let anything stand in the way of your promises being delivered. Speak to the client as regular as is required and some! Build an ongoing relationship – stay loyal, and as you give loyalty, so shall ye receive! Once you have delivered, and your client is enjoying all the benefits of your products / services – visit them and ask them for a personal testimonial for you to use as necessary to show future potential clients how you helped them. They will be delighted to oblige. Ask them if you can call them personally if ever you are with a customer who needs re-assurance – again they will be happy to oblige. This is how you build loyalty, again and again!

You now have the Inner & Outer Game strategies employed by prolific sales people all over this planet! So, what are you going to do with them? It takes 28 days to form a habit – 1 month – follow this for 4 weeks one day at a time with no days off, before you judge – and as many before you – you WILL unleash selling power you never knew you had!

I would love some feedback from those of you who are using these strategies – it would be my privilege to listen, coach and assist you in making them a successful permanent part of your sales armoury! With my respect and sincerity, Every Success to you – after all, you deserve it, don’t you?


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