Posts Tagged overcoming sales objections

The 7 Step Sales Process

The 7 Step Sales Process

The Origin of the Sales Process

While the business of selling goods and services has been around for thousands of years, it is important to note the history of the sales process.

It is thought that the first structured sales process was developed by John Henry Patterson, of National Manufacturing Company (later National Cash Register, or NCR) in Dayton, Ohio. He applied his philosophy on developing “scientific” methods and procedures that led to great efficiency in manufacturing to other aspects of the business such as sales.

By the late 20th century, Patterson had developed a huge sales force motivated by sales quotas and complete with territories. Patterson organized and created the first sales training event in 1884, and established the first sales training school in 1893. He taught a very simple sales philosophy which is still used to this day and is the underlying framework for the Seven Step Sales Process:

  1. Identify the customer’s problems
  2. Develop a specific value proposition
  3. Demonstrate how the solution will fit
  4. Ask for the order

 The 7 Step Process For IT Sales

You can utilize the Seven Step Sales Process to effectively sell IT Solutions to your prospects and customers. The Seven Step Sales process is a step by step methodology to ensure consistency and predictability in selling a product or service. The Seven Steps are:

  1. Preparation
  2. Warm-Up
  3. Qualifying
  4. Presentation
  5. Overcoming Objections
  6. Closing
  7. Follow-Up

Each step in the process is equal in its importance to increasing the odds of earning a prospect’s business.

When the steps are executed out of order or not followed through correctly, the prospect can feel pressured or uncomfortable with making a commitment. For example, a prospect will not buy a product or service (Close) and certainly not continue to buy (Follow-Up) without first knowing how that solution or service will provide value (Objection).

Most objections are simply misunderstandings or a lack of information which may be the result of and improperly conducted customer meeting or demonstration (Presentation). It is very difficult to present value without first understanding and uncovering what pains the customer is facing and whether or not the proposed solution will make sense for them (Qualifying).

It is impossible to get answers to some of the tough questions asked during the needs development or qualifying phase of the process without first developing rapport and credibility (Warm-Up). The most successful first impressions/warm-ups are developed from understanding and forecasting what the prospect might need in advance (Preparation).

A successful sales process for IT Solutions provides the framework for continuous improvement and growth. While simply executing the steps of the sales process will not ensure success, it will allow for more consistent results and the ability to forecast growth and scalability.

The Seven Step Sales Process works more effectively when combined with the consistent practice of sales skills through role-playing each phase of a sales engagement. Sales professionals who practice regularly are more able to navigate a customer from introduction all the way through earning commitment by reducing risk and positioning their value proposition according to prospects’ or customers’ specific needs.


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MSPU Overcoming IT Sales Objections

The ability to successfully overcome sales objections for your IT products, services and solutions is step 5 of the 7 step sales process. Mastering this ability can seem daunting to some, but here is a step-by-step process to follow that can help you through it.

The first step in overcoming IT Sales objections is to properly conduct each step of the sales process effectively. This will help reduce the number, type and severity of objections you may receive when preparing to close an opportunity with a prospect or client.

Proper Preparation is step 1 of the 7 step sales process. This entails researching your prospect in advance of your first meeting, in order to discover everything that you can in order to strengthen your Warm-Up (the 2nd step of the sales process) once you meet with them the first time. Your effectiveness during the Warm-Up will build confidence and trust in with prospect in you and your organization.

Once you’ve built the necessary confidence and trust with your prospect, you are able to more effectively Qualify them for your services (step 3), as they will be more apt to provide you candid answers to your questions during your needs analysis. The information gathered during these activities will arm you with the information you need to create and deliver a powerful Presentation (step 4) of your recommended solution to the prospect. You will want to carefully address your most common objections during the presentation phase of the sales process.

Only after you have successfully conducted these steps with the prospect are you ready to begin to Overcome Objections (step 5), begin Closing (step 6) and finally conduct Follow-Up activities (step 7). You should never attempt to conduct these critical sales steps out of order, or at the incorrect time. If you deliver these sales steps properly, the prospect will let you know when they are ready to be closed if you are carefully monitoring their body language and comments for common buying signs.

When a prospect or client raises an objection, this simply signifies a misunderstanding, or lack of information on their part, preventing them from moving forward. Understanding this, when overcoming objections, there are some additional things to keep in mind. First, acknowledge the objection. It is critically important that you do not ignore your prospect’s questions. Next, don’t oversell the features and benefits of your solution – you have already delivered your value proposition during the Presentation phase of the sales process. Finally, don’t continue towards the Close until you have addressed the objection and confirmed your prospect’s understanding of your response and their readiness to move forward.

The 4 Steps To Overcoming an IT Sales Objection Are:

  1. Identify the Objection
  2. Acknowledge the Objection
  3. Qualify the Objection
  4. Answer the Objection

There are 3 type of Objections, 2 of which can be overcome, and 1 that cannot. In order to determine whether or not we can overcome the prospect’s Objection, we must first identify whether it is a Minor, Major or Conditional Objection.

A Minor Objection is an Objection that can be overcome today, and is the prospect’s way of telling you to slow down. An example of a Minor Objection is the common “I want to think about it” Objection. A Major Objection is an Objection that can be overcome, but not today. An example of a Major Objection may be “Our budget cycle doesn’t begin until next Quarter”. Finally, a Conditional Objection is an Objection that cannot be overcome, as it is a term for doing business. An example of a Conditional Objection is a scenario where your solution does not meet the prospect’s regulatory compliance requirements.

The next step is to Acknowledge the Objection. This can be done by simplifying and re-phrasing the prospect’s objection, and letting them know you hear and understand their concern. An example of acknowledging an objection is: “If I understand correctly; Mr. Prospect, you will not be able to authorize the project until your 4th Quarter Budget is approved?”.

Once you have acknowledged the prospect’s Objection, you can Qualify it by asking additional clarifying, or “funneling” questions in order to discover what information is needed to provide to the prospect in order to move forward. An example of qualifying the objection is: “Mr. Prospect, is the Budget the only issue preventing us from moving forward today?”.

The final step in overcoming objections is to clear the Objection and move towards the Close. An example of this is: “So; Mr. Prospect, what date do you expect your Budget to be approved? Would you like me to go ahead and draw up the Agreement now, so it is ready for your authorization on that date?”. In this example, we have not only cleared the Objection, but have also attempted a Trial Close to gauge the prospect’s readiness to be closed.

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