The “Five Step Activity Control Model” allows people to learn the “Why” relating to sales psychology in addition to the “How” relating to sales procedures which is traditionally taught. The end result will be that an individual will be able to be more successful in their personal and business environment by applying this model without worrying about remembering the details. Unfortunately, with this type of training, not all people will improve their sales skills dramatically, however, this system will allow a few to reach a “superstar” status.
Traditionally, most sales training involves the following elements.
2). Information gathering
The reason that most sales training involves these steps is that “in order for the human brain to make a decision and take action, it must go through certain steps or processes.” The traditional elements listed above are designed to lead the prospect to a decision and action. However, to be the “most efficient” at this process, we believe that the salesperson must also understand the mental steps that the human brain must go through to reach a decision and take action. The reason for this belief is that, we as sales people, will naturally violate the model! Therefore, we as sales people must learn to resist human nature.
Draw a representation of a 5 tier stairway on a piece of paper.
In the upper left corner write – Needs & Desires. In the upper right corner write – Yes or No.
Number each tier from bottom to top and label 1. Curiosity 2. Interest 3. Information, 4. Belief and 5. Action
Continue to make notes we as you read.
Five Step ACTION & CONTROL Model
In order for the human brain to make a decision and take action, it must first have Curiosity, which then must grow into sincere Interest. At that time, and only then, can the brain objectively digest larger amounts of Information. When and if the brain reaches a sufficient level of Belief, a decision can be made and Action will occur.
Please note that the first step of the model is Curiosity and the third step is Information. Unfortunately, even trained salespeople have the tendency to give endless information immediately. By starting at Step Three, (Draw an arrow upward under and towards Information) the required mental process is short-circuited. The prospect then is not able to make a decision or take action; thus there is “No Decision”. (Make note to the right of Information). The salesperson then interprets that response as a “No” decision and a potentially good prospect is lost.
The next mistake the salesperson makes is not understanding what Action is desired. Most salespeople enter each approach expecting to sell each prospect and become disappointed when that doesn’t happen. Positive expectation is wonderful, but in this case misdirected. In order to be able to accept this concept emotionally, we must understand and embrace the concept of the “Law of Large Numbers” which says that only a certain percentage of the people we approach will be real prospects for potential sales. It falls upon us to get real “Yes’s” and real “No’s, and be able to accept each result the same emotionally.
The Model is designed to control our own environment while “leading the true prospect to Action and eliminate the non-prospect in the most efficient manner possible” and eliminate the “No Decisions”. Therefore, the desired Action is either a sale or the efficient termination of the process whichever is appropriate! We will get Yes’s or true No’s and eliminate the “Maybes”
If they are a Prospect but today is just not the right timing, we set up an impending event for the future to revisit the proposal.
If we are to expect a prospect to take Action, we must provide them with a process which allows them to create a high level of Belief that our desired Action will satisfy their Needs or Desires. Therefore, we must first identify their Desires and Needs, then relate those Desires and Needs to our desired Action. In addition, if we are to do this in the most efficient manner, we must control the process.
There exist two rules of Control which we must follow:
Less is More: Just the opposite of what our natural tendencies are, we must give the least amount of information possible until we get to the Information step. So, the process is to give bits of information, less than expected, and relate that information to the prospects Needs and Desires. To establish their Needs and Desires, instead of Telling more we must be continually Asking questions.
No Three in a Row: The second rule of the process is that we never answer Three questions in a row without following with one, if we are to maintain control of the process.
Questions: There are two basic types of questions we use in this process:
1. Open-ended questions which solicit general information and encourage the respondent to provide general information. These types of questions are used more in the Curiosity and Interest steps while identifying the prospects Needs and Desires. Use open questions to find out who, what, where, when, how, and why.
2. Closed-end questions, which basically solicit yes/no, type answers. Sometimes these can be either/or type questions that imply a yes or no. These types of questions are used to solidify a prospects response, to test if the prospect is moving to the next step and in the closing or Belief step. (Mr.Mrs. Prospect, if you could qualify… , would you… )(… if we could solve those problems for you, would you… )
The Five Steps
This model is to be used as an outline for the sales process. It provides the agent with the freedom to utilize their own words, personality and style. Once the model and rules are internalized, the agent will always be able to evaluate where the prospect is in the mental process and know where to go and what to say next.
During the first two steps, it is extremely important that we answer three basic qualifying questions. Never proceed to the Information step, if appropriate answers aren’t given for these questions!
1. What is the prospects ability to pay?
2. Are you talking to the decision maker?
3. Is the timing right for a decision?
Remember that people buy “mental concepts” and not things. Even when buying “things”, they are relating to mental images of how that “thing” can effect their life.
Step One: CURIOSITY
The object is to identify the prospects Desires and Needs as quickly and as efficiently as possible and resist the temptation to regurgitate information. Therefore, the most important phase of the sales process is the first phase where we approach the prospect initially. As the old saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression”. That same principle applies in the sales process. Most sales are lost during the approach.
Remember, in this step, the object is to generate enough Curiosity that the prospect wants more information. However, it is NOT where we give much information. We give bits and pieces of information, less than expected, relating our desired Action to their Needs and Desires until we have cultivated their Curiosity into sincere Interest. We check for their level of Curiosity with closed questions.
Step Two: INTEREST
This is merely a process of cultivating the prospects Curiosity to a level of Interest sufficient to mentally accept larger amounts of information. It’s a simple, yet difficult process. The salesperson asks a question and gives a bit of information relating Action to Needs and Desires.
If the process is working, the prospects will also be asking questions requesting more information. The difficult part is to resist the temptation to give too much information. The proper process is to give small bits of information mixed with questions which either relate desired Action to Needs and Desires or checks for the prospects level of Interest.
If the process is not working, either the prospect is not a true prospect,, the salesperson has failed to establish the relationship between the prospects Needs and Desires and their desired Action or has violated at least one of the rules of the model. If no relationship exists between the prospects Needs and Desires and your desired Action, this indicates that the prospect is not really a prospect for you. If the salesperson has violated a rule, the first procedure is to simply backtrack to the previous step and start over.
Step Three: INFORMATION
Once it has been established, through questioning, that the prospect is sincerely interested and understands the potential for the desired Action to satisfy his/her Needs or Desires, it is the salesperson’s responsibility to give any and all Information necessary for the prospect to achieve a level of Belief necessary to take Action. Again, do not give more than is necessary!
Therefore, as you are presenting Information, it is important to qualify with closed questions. Confirm that they understand the relationship, confirm that they understand the information and finally confirm that you have provided all the information they want or need.
Step Four: BELIEF
Checking to determine if the prospect has a significant level of Belief to take Action has traditionally been the dreaded process, the Close. Thousands of hours have been spent memorizing Closes and when to apply which one.
Step Five: ACTION
With the five step model, closes do not need to be memorized and are merely a continuation of the same processes used from the beginning. We simply check for the level of belief! We do this simply by asking the prospect if they believe that our desired Action satisfies their Need or Desire. We then assume the Close with a minor decision question.
We follow-up for two reasons, either behind a sale or a non-sale. If we’re following up behind a sale, the situation will dictate the necessary follow-up. If we are following up behind a non-sale, it is extremely important to do so in a punctual manner. It is important that we have the information from previous calls and that we start the process over again from the beginning, if necessary.
ALWAYS set Impending Event unless you have forever totally eliminated as a Prospect.