From Knowledgeable to Mastery

The mechanics of sales are well organized and presented in the precursor to this course, Professional Selling Essentials: Process and Plays. That first course unfolds the organization, workings, and principles behind process and plays. Passing that course certifies the student as a knowledgeable sales mechanic.

The sales process is the foundation of the practice of persuasion. It provides a step-by-step approach to moving a suspect or potential buyer from “hello” to close. The entirety of the process marks the path the human mind prefers. Each step of the sales process is placed in a sequence that is comfortable, acceptable, and useful to the way humans process information and make decisions. The very existence of a stepwise sales process is evidence of the science of persuasion. Persuasion occurs incrementally, not in one fell swoop.

Sales plays motivate the sales process. They are the application of the scientific principles of persuasion. Every step in the sales process is animated by a specific set of concepts that move the mind through the sales process. Each play provides answers the mind is seeking. When sellers are very skilled, buyers are not likely to be consciously aware of this progression from one state to the next. Progress is smooth and easy rather than a bumpy, jarring, and jolting ride. That is the power of plays grouped around stages in the sales process. Each play meets the psycho-emotional needs of the prospective buyer in their current state and readies them for the next.

When plays are matched with a stage of the sales process, a series of plays becomes a complete routine. A sales routine is a coordinated set of principles acting together to accomplish a desired outcome.

The study of Professional Selling Essentials: Process and Plays provides students with a foundation upon which they can build a career, a profession, and a productive life. Students certified in process and plays are knowledgeable mechanics. They are ready for the next step.

From knowledgeable mechanic to master artist, there is yet a distance to travel. Advanced Selling Strategy: Science and Practice of Persuasion helps the student take the next step forward. It moves the student from being able to describe or recognize the mechanical operation—the what—to a better understanding of the why.

Understanding the scientific why means the student has a command of why plays stimulate a potential buyer’s thoughts, decisions, and actions. When a salesperson understands the scientific why of process and plays, they can craft, choose, and execute plays to better effect.

Having a conscious understanding of what works (the mechanics of process and plays) and why it elicits the response that it does (psycho-emotional responses to plays as stimuli) helps the student become more skilled in the art of persuasion. When salespeople are instructed in the what and the why, the how becomes easier. The salesperson becomes more nimble—more able to choose the right play for the right situation. This agility, this skill, stacks the likelihood of success in favor of the salesperson.

That is why this textbook is so essential in the professional development of a salesperson. It moves the knowledgeable mechanic toward becoming a master mechanic. The knowledgeable mechanic knows how to take out the alternator and replace it. The master mechanic knows why he or she is doing it and the governing principles surrounding it.

This book introduces some of the scientific principles that motivate the sales process and plays. It is only a shallow dipping of our toes into a marvelous and deep ocean. But it is enough to get us started. It is enough to help the would-be professional salesperson to understand that there are scientific underpinnings to the sales process and the associated plays. And that is enough–for now.

The precursor to this text was a gallop across the terrain of sales and selling. This book is more deliberate. It takes a deeper dive into key principles and provides practical examples. That is where the “practice” part of this book’s title comes into play. More examples of functional plays and playsets help model the principles so that salespeople can more easily adopt and adapt.

Adoption means that the student is able to embrace the sales process and related plays. They have confidence in them as a workable system. They yield to the science of them and apply them in orthodox ways. Adaptation means the student can customize the principles for their own personality and their own circumstances for a flow that is orthodox to the system and authentic to their nature.