Ask any experienced salesperson to describe to you the steps of his or her sales process and you will get a clear and concise answer. Salespeople know the steps of their selling process. The result is that during the sales process salespeople tend to think about what they’ve been taught – the steps of the sale. But if you asked this same salesperson to descibe the steps of the customer’s buying process the answer is not nearly as well defined or thought out.
In the history of the esteemed publication Harvard Business REview, HBR’s #1 most requested reprint is an article that appeared back in 1963 titled, “What Makes a Good Salesman.” The researchers conducted in-depth research on 7,500 sales people to determine what personal qualities distinguished the best sales people from the:also-rans.” The research identified two qualities possessed by the very best salespeople: empathy and ambition. Empathy is the ability to see things from the customer’s perspective, to think and feel like the customer throughout the selling process.