4 effective sales approaches to
incorporate into your sales
Ask several sales representatives about their favorite sales approach.
The responses you’ll get in return will be as interesting or diverse as
the individuals who offer them.
However, all sales approaches are essentially step-by-step
propositions—developed to make the act of selling much more
effective and reliable. Quite often, your personality, background,
and experience determine the selling approach that works best for
Even if you believe you’ve found your best sales approach, every
sales professional stands to benefit from trying different types of
sales approaches from time to time.
In fact, your best sales approach might just result from a
combination of several other sales approaches. So, which sales
approach examples should you consider? And how can you
incorporate the best elements of these methods into your own sales
No two sales professionals are alike—but everyone can benefit from
refining their skills.
In this article, we will outline four different sales approaches you can
immediately apply to any given selling situation. Each sales
approach has its own unique strengths—along with the potential to
revitalize your interest, enthusiasm, and understanding for the sales
Before long, you will begin feeling comfortable enough to
implement one, two, or a combination of all four of these
approaches into your sales process. And boost your numbers along
Let’s get started.
1. Premium sales approach
Everyone appreciates a free gift. Your prospective customers are no
With the premium sales approach, sales professionals offer their
prospects a giveaway or promotional item in an effort to build
excitement about their product or brand. A key advantage of this
selling approach is its ability to attract otherwise hesitant customers.
This free gift (or premium) can be as simple as a gift card. Other
times, it can be an item with some connection to the product or
service you sell for a living (e.g., if you’re in car sales, the premium
you offer could be a year of free gas fill-ups or a set of snow tires.)
The premium sales approach is more common in B2C sales but can
be applied to B2B scenarios, like including 6-months of tech
support with an enterprise SaaS purchase.
Once their attention is captured with a premium, your prospects will
be more motivated to listen to your sales presentation or return
your phone calls. Remember, this approach is only meant to initiate
contact and shouldn’t become an aspect of every sales pitch.
2. Product sales approach
Making an important buying decision can be exciting. It can also be
intimidating. This is particularly true when you’re considering the
purchase of a new product or service,
Selling something new or unproven (at least in the eyes of your
prospect) takes more time and attention. Potential customers
conduct research and compare competitors. A recent Harvard
Business Review survey of 500 B2B salespeople across a wide variety
of industries—from technology to financial services to industrial
Salespeople selling new products spend 32% more face-to-face
time with customers.
Objections occur later in the process for new innovations than for
With the product sales approach, you provide prospects with a
sample (or free trial) to evaluate what you have to offer. It’s a great
way to show value and establish credibility.
This sales approach can also take the form of a product
demonstration. For hands-on or visual learners, this is especially
helpful as it allows them to see your product in action.
3. Network sales approach
Whether it’s B2B or B2C sales, building a list of prospects and
developing relationships with them are crucial to the process. This is
where you may have a hidden advantage.
Using the network sales approach lets you strategically rely on your
own list of personal and professional connections. Whatever the
size, your network of family, friends, and past coworkers can provide
the foundation you need to uncover qualified leads and generate
Social media networks offer a natural environment to build your
prospect list. Research shows 69% of U.S. adults use Facebook and
typically have a network of 338 friends. 27% of LinkedIn users have
between 500 and 999 1st-level professional connections.
Sales is about building trust. Networking is sales with people who
already trust you.
You can also employ this sales approach to help identify the well-
connected individuals within your network who can introduce you
to an untapped resource of qualified leads.
Of course, applying the network sales approach isn’t a license to go
through your entire list of contacts to bother people who would
otherwise not be a solid sales prospects or qualified lead. Use good
judgment. If your offer can provide value, add them to your list.
4. Prescriptive sales approach
Giving prospective customers all the information and options they
need to arrive at the right decision sounds like a good thing. After
all, being flexible to the direction (or whims) of your customers
should make the buying process easier and ultimately increase
sales. This impulse to quickly respond and offer endless support is
seen in more common sales tactics, such as:
Ensuring customers have every case study, testimonial, and
Adjusting your offer to meet the ever-changing demands of the
Providing customers with more time to consider all possible
Logic suggests being customer-centered should result in more
sales. But the latest research shows that providing additional
information and multiple options may actually suppress sales.
An HBR survey of 600 B2B buyers reveals it drives an
18% decrease in purchase ease.
Fortunately, the prescriptive sales approach takes the opposite
tactic. Within the same buyer survey, it was shown to increase
purchase ease by 86%. With the prescriptive sales approach, the
sales professional offers a clear recommendation for action to
customers—backed by a specific rationale. Any complex aspects of
the sale are explained upfront. If added approval is needed from the
purchasing department, invite them into the sale early on.
Customers often appreciate and respect the prescriptive sales
approach. It helps them see the sales representative as being
proactive—predicting and eliminating obstacles. Additionally,
customers who undergo a prescriptive sales process experience less
sales regret and are more likely to repurchase, compared to
conventional sales methods.
This approach is ideal for leading customers through the three
common buying stages:
Early buying stage: This is where customers have trouble
distinguishing between meaningful and irrelevant information and
deciding if more information is needed.
Middle buying stage: This is where customers encounter
competing priorities and hidden concerns about the purchase.
They may question their need for change.
Late buying stage: This is where customers become overwhelmed
by having too many purchase options and confused by the late
introduction of different options.
The prescriptive sales approach is more an organizational aptitude
than an individual skill—one that can be applied to marketing
content just as well as sales conversations.
How to use the different sales
approaches to create your own
By experimenting with these four different sales approaches, you
can start developing a selling technique that accommodates your
unique product or service, as well as your customer base. Adapt
sales tactics to fit the requirements of your particular business.
A solid sales approach doesn’t guarantee a sale. But it will help set
the stage for the next crucial steps in the process, from giving the
presentation and handling objections to closing the sale and
following up with customers (for repeat business and referrals).