Do you use the 7 steps of selling?


What do humans do to make sense of a complex world? We try to simplify, and one well know way of doing this is to systemise and/or categorise the complexity into smaller pieces and put them in order. You probably heard the saying: How do you eat an elephant? :One piece at the time.

In his paper from 1980/81 Alan Dubinsky of Edwin L. Cox Scholl of business presented a paradigm in selling namely the “7 steps of selling” (Dubinsky 1980/81).

This systemised approach towards the selling process have since then been the foundation of tons books and training courses about selling.

The seven steps presented was:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Preapproach
  3. Approach
  4. Presentations
  5. Overcoming objections
  6. Close
  7. Follow-up

It was not until about 25 years later someone else decided to really go through these seven steps o see if they where still valid in the sales world. Moncrief and Marshall presented “The evolution of the seven steps of selling” (Moncrief et. al 2005). Their conclusion was that a lot had happened in the world of sales since 1981 especially when it came to the digital revolution and the focus on relationship selling. So they revised the original 7 steps and ended up with a set of updated steps. Another important factor was that their steps were not so sequential as Dubinskys, as the process could go back and forth several times and moving from one step to the next could take a long time.

Their revised set of steps (still 7) was:

  1. Customer retention and deletion
  2. Database and knowledge management
  3. Nurturing the relationship (relationship selling)
  4. Marketing the product
  5. Problem solving
  6. Adding value/satisfying needs
  7. Customer relationship maintenances

Now, my question is: Are you using these steps, either the original 7 or the revised one from 2005? Or do you have your own steps acquired through training or experience you feel work best for you?

Would love you feedback!

Dubinsky, A. J. (1980). A Factor Analytic Study of the Personal Selling Process. Journal Of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 1(1), 26.

Moncrief, W. C., & Marshall, G. W. (2005). The evolution of the seven steps of selling. Industrial Marketing Management, 34(1), 13-22. doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2004.06.001

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