Changing The Gears of Selling

Monday, November 12th, 2012

An ICAC report dated October 2012, “Investigation into allegations that staff from a number of Local Councils and other public authorities accepted secret benefits from suppliers and that staff from the local councils facilitated payment of false invoices from suppliers”, included revelatory findings.

In some quarters there is a ‘heads in the sand’ mentality where, it is wrongly believed that all third parties entering into contracts can be trusted. Quite recently, we held an event to debate how sellers rip off buyers. Some of it was tongue in cheek but behind the input lay logic and facts to illustrate how rip offs occur. The ICAC report fleshes out some specific detail.

“This investigation by the Commission uncovered a corrupt practice that appears to be endemic in the process of selling in bulk, where profits are dependent on repeat business. The practice is insidious because it proceeds on the pretence of friendship and is cloaked with false values that are used to seduce buyers.

Many of the salespeople whose conduct was investigated by the Commission were specifically trained in a selling process called the “Gears of Selling”. This process encouraged salespeople to pretend to have a friendship with the buyers. They were trained to ask questions about a buyer’s family, interests and health, and to portray an interest in these matters that they did not really have. This is apparent from the fact that once a buyer left his or her position, the interest and concern disappeared.”

We have always thought that the view of buyers as a ‘prospect’ is demeaning. The first gear of selling mentions that a positive professional salesperson doesn’t immediately start selling their products or services, what they do is to sell themselves as a person who is sincerely interested in the customer’s job, family, problems and hobbies, etc.

So, how can a professional buyer deal with this approach?

Tell the salesperson to change gear! There is a clue there!

Tell the salesperson you do not discuss personal matters outside of your family and friends. There is a clue there!

In fact, there are many responses and approaches to managing sales people, not all of them need to be adversarial or particularly complicated.  We just need to ensure that you enable and equip your people who are involved in buying to manage the gears of selling.

Coaching and Training

At we deliver two primary services to enable and equip you to manage ‘the gears of selling’: coaching and training.

With coaching, we work personally with the individual to identify their major challenges and opportunities and create a strategy or plan to address them. We then work through that plan over time and support them in its implementation.

Coaching usually takes place via structured 60-90 minute meetings or calls where we review progress and learnings since the last session, discuss priorities and options, and plan for the next time period.

We also deliver tailored training courses in areas such as:

  • Enhancing buying skills for professionals
  • Handling difficult sales team – by growing your buying capabilities
  • Commercial negotiation and influencing skills
  • How to set up and manage vendor engagements
  • Commercial awareness for project managers

Changing The Gears of Selling

So, what can we do for you?  We can probably help you achieve your objectives – through our consultancy, training and coaching services – let’s start a conversation.

If you can spend a few minutes on the phone with me, I can assess the potential ROI of working with us.

If this is interesting to you, please email me and I’ll set something up.

Or call me on 01744 20698



Twitter: @ProcureChange