Sales 2.0 Is Listening & The Death Of The 8 Step Sales Process

The customer is always right? At least that is how it should be- or once was?

I have come across several instances lately where the “Sales Process” superseded the need of the customer- namely me! Maybe I am hyper sensitive to the sales process because of my sales background, or maybe it is something larger. Maybe the writing is on the wall? Is the sales process of old obsolete? Are we in fact entering a new age of sales- Sales2.0 if you will? Gone are the days of the 8 step sales process that bring is in an army of experts to sell you on one product?

I entered a meeting today with a vendor that is already working with our organization. The purpose of the meeting was to go over the capabilities we had already purchased. 20 minutes of up-selling and chest thumping- and we finally started the overview of the purchased product. When is it time to stop selling and start servicing? It is proven that when you service a customer to extreme satisfaction they will purchase again and new sales ops organically develop. Turn the page and service your customer and ye shall find organic sales ops!

Another example: I was on the second sales call with a prospectus vendor. The mission for them was to show us their product with our brand in mind. Our own data points, a test drive if you will! No using Coke and Walmart as examples of how powerful the product is. Instead I was met with the following:

  1. “It costs us money to use your data in a demo”
  2. “We don’t have a playground for you to try it out, but we do have screen shots”
  3. “Just follow along with the slide deck- it’ll answer most if not all of your questions.”

My thought was “Maybe car salespeople aren’t so stupid- they at least let you test it before you buy it!” Ultimately both situations were a supreme waste of time for me. Time is of the essence to many of us in business today, so losing time for the sake of a sales process is futile. Barry Libert once said “When you give your customers, peers, constituents and family what they want, when they want it, and how they want it- you win them over- over and over again!” That resonated with me!

According to wikipedia a sales process is a systematic approach to selling a product or service. Traditional sales process definition breaks a selling cycle into the following phases:

  1. Prospect
  2. Qualify
  3. Propose
  4. Negotiate
  5. Close

So what is Sales2.0? I would argue it is listening more than you sell. Ask questions to get to the fundamentals of selling which is “find the need and fill the need.” But to do that you must listen. To listen you need to abandon the traditional sales process dictated by your organization and let the prospect tell you what they want. In order to do this I suggest giving the prospect an information sheet ahead of your call/meeting. In the age of online shopping and testimonials it has become a greater practice to research before you buy. A trend that will continue to grow as technology infiltrates all facets of our lives.

In addition to listening, I suspect large ticket items are going to all move into a “try it before you buy it” approach to sales. If you have nothing to hide – then have at it. Have faith that your product to will perform to the prospectus customers expectations. In many instances this will actually speed up the process and remove unneeded steps.

Finally, think about selling activities that allow both sides of the fence to learn from each other about what they would like. This helps build trust, mutual understanding and a true feeling of partnership from the outset. This is finding the need and filling the need collaboratively and in a far more productive way.

Be sure to check out a swell site called Sales2.0: Next Generation Sales Tip & Sales Strategies and here is something to think about if you service your customer. If you stop selling and service them- you will open pandora’s box for new organic sales without the need of a sales process.

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10 responses to “Sales 2.0 Is Listening & The Death Of The 8 Step Sales Process

  • Sales 2.0 Is Listening & The Death Of The 8 Step Sales Process … | Drakz Free Online Service

    […] more from the original source: Sales 2.0 Is Listening & The Death Of The 8 Step Sales Process … Share and […]

  • Mark Wallace

    Great post Derek. I cannot tell you how many times I get pitched about something each week.

    The other day I interviewed 4 vendors with very limited time and left clear and concise next steps with each. The one point I politely stressed is don’t call me until x date, I will call you and even explained the reasons why. I liked two of the four products. Three didn’t listen. One did. Guess who earned the sale? And, he told me that he used the case study as an example to train his reps on how listening to instructions is important and can be the difference at the end of the day.

    If you combine a services oriented sales approach with knowledge, I would be willing to bet the sales close % goes up significantly as do WOM referrals – both in person and over the web.


  • Nigel Edelshain


    Right on. I am championing a prospecting process called “Social Calling”. This process is all about sales people preparing so they know something about the prospect and then customizing their conversation (two-way conversation not one-way!)

    “Sales 2.0” tools out there give sales people the chance to prepare and then customize what they say much more easily than ever before. There are NO excuses for the “show-up and throw-up” approach you mention in this post. Those days are long gone.

    Sales people must LISTEN! And there are more-and-more tools to help them do just that. No excuses if you don’t use them.


  • derekshowerman

    Nigel and Mark, thanks for commenting. Nigel, it is interesting to me how out of touch sales professionals have become. The world is changing around them- yet the same old still applies. I have to give props to marketing folks for seeing the change and being the change.

    Nigel, please feel free to be sales like here, I would love to learn more! If there is more info on what you are talking about- feel free to share those links.

  • Nigel Edelshain


    Thanks for allowing me to blow my own horn. You can find out more about “Social Calling” from:

    1. My ebook:
    2. My ecourse:
    3. My blog:
    4. Our website:


  • Tweets that mention Sales 2.0 Is Listening & The Death Of The 8 Step Sales Process « Social Schmoozing --

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  • Stuart Armstrong

    Listening= do your research. (not asking endless questions to C levels about ROI issues etc. that should be part of the prelim research)

    Agreed, with the tools available to-day to build your ideal customer profiles/model some potential benefits, no need to do “intro’s”, etc. Reps should have YOUR NEEDS profile at the front of their PPT’s.
    (and buyers already know all about your company, products etc. thats why your are being engaged so NO need for reps to do detailed intros).

    ie when I presented to Microsoft’s GM Canada, I had slides titled “Our understanding of your ecosystem to-day” (= detailed research that took 3 weeks to collect). 1st slide. No company or product intro- bang right into the “listening” part. Then she asked “where did you get all this info about us”……(gee a small buying clue), which triggered a revealing discussion about Microsoft’s VARs sales reps low productivity and the effect on sales of MSoft etc. AND our possible solution. Result? She said I’ll introduced you to our Marketing Mgrs- no need to call me anymore. (good enough for me!-thanks)

    Sales Managers (sales 1.0) tend to forget that buyers are building their “ISP” ideal supplier profiles WAY before the first call.

    So IF these Managers are not tuned in to the feedback the rep gave them after they have exhanged info with a potential client- then they pressure the rep to “follow-Up” even though YOU the prospect said DO NOT CALL ME for x weeks, etc.

    So even with sophisticated sales reps, solutions and your complex business problems you’ll get reps callling and saying “just checking in”.

    Hello McFy!

    ..just checkin out….

    Stuart Armstrong

  • why human resources recruits « HR for a New Generation

    […] like dealing with recruiters, no offense I was one too in a former life (that reminds me, check out Derek Showerman’s blog post on listening to your customers, it applies to recruiters too!). It’s tough because I spend hours […]

  • Santosh Shukla

    Derek, Listening has always been very rewarding. Even more today when the Customer is speaking too much (read social media).
    There was never better time to know about customers. I feel Sales2.0 means spending 95%Selling and spending 5%time learning new technology.
    After all how much time did it take to learn tweeting. More of my thoughts on Sales2.0 at

  • Sales Training & Sales Management

    Today, with proper training, a new breed of sales professionals has emerged – 2.0 Sales Pros if you will. The breed contains every variety of personality identified in typical personality-style assessments. Yes, well-trained amiables and analyticals can sell the socks off the untrained drivers and expressives of yesterday.

    Granted, if you arm a driver (who can put two sentences together) with a genuinely effective sales strategy you might have a dangerously successful salesperson on your hands. But I am convinced that the personality pigeonholing we have done in the past doesn’t hold water anymore. Why not? Because there is far better training available today.

    The characteristics of the 2.0 Sales Pro require that the salesperson must learn and develop certain skills for managing sales relationships. But they can do this and still live in their own skin. No personality overhaul is required.

    The reason is that the skills required to be a 2.0 Sales Pro are teachable and learnable. They’re not tied to the salesperson’s deep-seated and virtually unchangeable personality style. For example, “competitive” and “collaborative” don’t have to be mutually exclusive traits. The same person can have both of these great characteristics. You just change the game a bit. The single-handed gunslinger no longer wins in today’s sales world. The new game is to leverage all your available human capital by involving coworkers and various departments in your existing sales process.

    You must become an Orchestrator of resources. Of course, this works best when your sales process is effective and everyone is trained on the same process. When I say “sales process”, I don’t mean a canned sales presentation or data dump given to the prospect as you describe above as an “8 step sales process”. What I mean is a clearly defined road map of how each milestone of the sales cycle will be handled and how and when each key selling skill will be used to follow the decision-makling process of the buyer. And in most cases, this is a fact. Those decisions are always made in the same order – Salesperson, Company, Product, Price and Time to Buy.

    Since selling is a team sport today, companies need to arm their service reps, technical nerds, inside sales reps and management team with the same skill sets that 2.0 sales professionals have. When you do this, your salespeople will feel more comfortable bringing these resources to the table. They will trust that people in other parts of the company know and understand how to participate without screwing things up.

    Characteristics of 2.0 Sales Pros

    1. Follow a well-documented and effective process that can be used consistently by everyone in every sales call.
    2. Have training that is focused on the specific selling skills that make the greatest difference in sales performance.
    3. Take part in a learning system that effectively transfers the newly learned skills into consistent field success.

    To Your Success

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