Selling the Critical Thinking Way

A successful sales representative is someone who leverages critical thinking in every aspect of the sales cycle in order to win business.  Here are some tips on how to leverage components of the RED model of critical thinking to help you to improve your critical thinking skills and improve your sales. see-clearly-with-red

 Qualify the leads:

The first step in effective sales is to identify the prospective clients that you want to pursue.

Identify your assumptions about the leads that you call (and those you don’t call). Have you ever decided to not call a prospect because you heard that they were struggling financially or that they didn’t like your products? These assumptions can hold you back in sales! Call the lead and test your assumptions. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you were wrong and walk away with a big win.

Discover the needs:

Don’t assume that you know what the customer needs.  Instead, ask them open-ended questions and you will learn about what the customer needs and often can uncover more information about other opportunities that you can sell to.

Be careful not to evaluate their needs to quickly.  Sometimes in an effort to close a deal too quickly, we may miss out on the larger opportunities available.  Listen to all of the customers needs and then start the process of evaluating how your products can meet their needs.

Present a solution:

After you have carefully listened to the customer and discovered their needs, now you need to present a solution.  Remember that customers ultimately want solutions that help them to do things cheaper, better and/or faster.  Use your critical thinking skills to find a solution to their problem that achieves this.

Negotiate & close:

Remember that your customer enters into a negotiation with their own assumptions, arguments and conclusions.  Make it your goal to understand what those are by asking questions throughout the process.  Customers like to buy from people they trust. The key to building a trusting relationship is to truly understand the needs of your customer and the RED model can help you to do this.

Be open to listening to the conclusions that your customers have arrived at.  Then, creatively think of how to guide them to a conclusion that fits with the solution that you can offer.


To learn more about why critical thinking matters in the workplace, download the Critical Thinking Means Business white paper here.

Editor’s note: Heather Ishikawa is the National Director for Pearson TalentLens. Heather has extensive experience in designing corporate-wide, assessment-based leadership development initiatives. Ishikawa has delivered workshops to hundreds of leaders on the topics of critical thinking, leadership, teambuilding, communication, and change management. Heather is also co-author of Now You’re Thinking!

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