Close More Sales by “Seeing” Differently


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No matter what you sell or who you are selling to, buyers are always in one of three buying modes. Most salespeople are quite familiar with two of them:

  • Status Quo – “We believe what we have is sufficient, and we see no reason to change, so we’ll keep buying from our current supplier.”
  • Searching for Alternatives – “We know what we have is no longer sufficient and have started talking to several other suppliers.”

In between these two, however, lies the buying mode with the greatest opportunity, namely the …

  • Window of Dissatisfaction: “We know what we have is no longer sufficient, and we’ve put doing something about it on our ‘to do’ list, but we haven’t found the time to start searching for alternatives.”

In other words … When you find a decision maker after they realize what they have is no longer sufficient but before they have started the process of searching for alternatives, you have found them in the Window of Dissatisfaction!

When you start ‘seeing’ the Window of Dissatisfaction, you’ve got the beginnings of a competitive edge – an unfair advantage that will help you close more sales, shorten your sales cycles, and increase your average deal size.

One way to create a Trigger Event that will help you ‘see’ the Window of Dissatisfaction, is a simple form of customer analysis. Take a few moments to reflect on the new customers you acquired in the last year. Jot down their names. Now break your list down a little further by putting a check mark next to those names where you:

  • Enjoyed a short sales cycle,
  • Found it very easy to make the sale,
  • Sold at a higher-than-average price, and
  • Ended up with a core, loyal customer who really saw eye-to-eye with you – and was willing and eager to sing your praises to other people?

In all likelihood, you got to those with three or more check marks next to their names when they were in a Window of Dissatisfaction, your product or service resonated with the buyer’s selective perception, and they ‘saw’ value in what you sell.

The Trigger Event of doing this customer analysis will put the Window of Dissatisfaction on your mental ‘radar screen’! Once you ‘see’ a Window of Dissatisfaction, and relate it to your own best customers, you will start noticing them everywhere.

So take a look at your new best customers … and soon you will close more sales by seeing the Window of Dissatisfaction everywhere.

Other Trigger Event Resources to Consider

I scour the Internet searching for ideas, resources, articles, and success stories about leveraging Trigger Events to outsell the competition. This time I want to share with you two resources:

  1. Over at James Chartrand from Men With Pens expands on my previous post on Trigger Events and selective perception
  2. Joseph Provenzano expands on James’ article even more over at Can I Have That With!

Funny how when you write a post on selective perception and how Trigger Events change what you ‘see’, you start ‘seeing’ similar posts show up everywhere!

Craig Elias
Craig Elias is the creator of Trigger Event Selling™, author of the award-winning sales book "SHiFT! Harness the Trigger Events that TURN PROSPECTS INTO CUSTOMERS" , contributing author to #1 best seller Masters of Sales, and chief catalyst at Shift Selling, Inc. Craig has used timing strategies to be a top sales performer at every company he has worked for—including WorldCom, where he was named the top salesperson within six months of joining the company.


  1. Maybe it’s because I haven’t thought about categorizing prospects this way, but I haven’t seen these archetypes in practice. The genesis of customer needs is as varied as the pathways to discovering, vetting, and purchasing tools to solve them.

    Some sales I’ve made have resulted from uncovering latent need, some by facilitating dissatisfaction, and others by simply being in the right place at the right time. For me, looking for the Window of Dissatisfaction would risk missing some hugely valuable opportunities.

    Theoretically, it’s great to jump into a sales engagement at exactly the right time–not too early, not too late, but I’ve lost more sales opportunities than I’d like to admit to competitors who began their business relationship well before the prospect expressed an overt need.

    The activities prior to the commitment of sales resources are just as important as knowing when to commit more effort to the sales process. What are your thoughts? Is it practical to define an ideal moment for the salesperson to enter the conversation?

  2. I am the creator of this methodology and so far EVERY customer I have worked with has found the three buying modes – aka stages – to be true.

    The process and how long it takes very often differs by client.

    So my perspective is that there is an ideal moment for a salesperson to enter a conversation.

    I will argue that if you look at your biggest successes you’ll identify a new pattern. Take a look at a process called ‘Won Sales Analysis’ if you want to learn more.

  3. What’s the difference between stages and processes?

    Will EVERY customer go through the same stages? What if the current supplier always meets/exceeds his/her expectations, and there is no reason for the customer to switch to other competitors?

    If the process mentioned above is the buying process, then EVERY customer will experience the same buying pattern, which is from no interest to interested, and there are a lot of reasons to explain such a shift.

    If we are really to see things differently, then we have to see things from many different ways… but not just one way.

    No one practice is the best practice, as there are truly no best practices.

    Daryl Choy
    Make Little Things Count

  4. A process is set of steps. A stage is a single point in time.

    So yes processes may change but the steps remain the same. The only exception to what I shared is when a different ‘Trigger Event’ makes something else a priority and the buyer decides to keep what they have and spend the time and money solving what is now perceived to be a more important problem.

    To your point about the current supplier ALWAYS meets/exceeds expectations… It is HIGHLY highly unlikely – primarily because of the changes in people (buyers and sellers) and this change in people alone brings with it the changes in expectations and changes in performance that create the Window of Dissatisfaction.

    In regards to no best practice – I completely disagree with you but will allow you to have your own opinion as I have mine.

    Feel free to call (+1.403.874.2998) or Skype (Craig.Elias) me if you want to talk about this in person.

    Have an EVENTFUL week!

    Craig Elias – Creator of Trigger Event Selling

  5. A stage is then a subset of process, which means that if a stage in the process changes, the whole process will change, and vice versa.

    Nothing is impossible, so as long as it is not ABSOLUTELY unlikely then there is still possibility that some but not all of the firms will be able to always meet/exceed some but again not all of their clients’ expectations. That’s one of the reasons why firms always engage in the process of creating loyal customers.

    Thank you for allowing me to have my own point of view, but “be water my friend.” Things that work in the West may not work in the East.

    Daryl Choy
    Make Little Things Count

  6. Daryl;

    Running a business with a just add water approach turns you into a generalist and it means you have to work five times harder to acquire customers and win sales.

    I was recently asked “what is my approach to growing a successful small business in a market FULL of similar companies”. I use why own company as an example and it reflects what I do not just what I teach.

    This approach has worked for anything from one man companies to whole divisions of larger corporations across North America, and in Asia and Europe. So I think you’ll agree it works in the west and in the east.

    How to grow a highly successful small business:

    1) Pick a niche – There are thousands of generalist sales training companies run by sales guys and gals that have 20+ years of sales success. The problem with the vast majority is that their generalist approach means they can only operate in their own city, or maybe a few neighbouring cities, because there is another other, perceived to be similar, generalist in every other city. By picking a niche – capitalizing on Trigger Events to get in front of highly motivated buyers at EXACTLY the right time – my expertise goes beyond just my local geography. Search for any other expert on “Trigger Event Selling” and you won’t’ find one. This allows me to create demand for my expertise almost anywhere in the world.

    2) Be THE expert in what you teach – Specialize, speak, and write. I specialize in just one thing timing: repeatedly getting to the right person at EXACTLY the right time. I have written a number of articles, and done several webinars. As a result I now have a publishing agreement signed and a book due out in April next year: “SHiFT! OUTSELL YOUR COMPETITION by Leveraging Trigger Events”, and having a book makes you the ultimate expert.

    3) Create a market – Creating my own terminology means that when people check the web for any of the major components to what I teach – “Window of Dissatisfaction”, “Trigger Event Selling”, “Won Sales Analysis”, “Emotional Favourite”, “Trigger Event Referrals”, “First Call Effectiveness” I dominate the top 10, 20, and in some cases even the top 50 Google search results.

    4) Protect your market – I own 192 domains names related to what I teach. This makes it easy for people to find me and makes it harder for a copycat to market themselves. E.g.,,,,,, I tried the Trademark route but found that there were so many different classifications a competitor could use to copy Trigger Event Selling and because I would have to Trademark in so many different countries, I would spend 20 times as much money doing trademarks vs. leveraging a large number of domain names.

    5) STATE YOUR POSITION – Polarize your audience. If you believe that the best sales people make the best sales managers, SAY IT OUT LOUD. You will create a loyal following that believes in the same things you do and you will get some extra exposure by being provocative. For instance I say that THE SILVER BULLET IN SALES is timing: Leveraging Trigger Events to get in front of the right person at EXACTLY the right time. Some people may disagree but even if they do disagree they remember who I am and that makes it more likely they will notice me in the press and at some point they’ll come around because of what is called the “Lemming Effect” if a large group starts, or is perceived to have started, doing something others follow because they fear being left behind if they don’t. E.g. I recently did a webinar that had over 1,400 registrants. Mentioning that when I speak and write – notice I am mentioning it here – will have others wanting to know what they are missing out on. If you want to know what you’re missing out on, you can get access to the recording and the handout by downloading the preview chapter of my book at

    6) Get exposure – This year my goal was to get 24 pieces of exposure (be interviewed, have a story written, be part of a podcast, etc.) and of last week I had my 24th piece of exposure. Having and stating your position will help you get in the more exposure. Ten pieces of exposure on smaller sites or niche outlets is as, if not more, effective than one piece of exposure in one major outlet. Check out HARO – Help a Reporter Out. It comes out three times a day and so far it alone has resulted in 5 interviews in the last few months. Getting all the exposure also helps me to increase the “Lemming Effect” that I mentioned in #5 above. P.S. I also own the domain names and…are you beginning to see the picture ?

  7. Craig

    Thank you for your long passage.

    I assume you do not understand the power of water, so may I suggest you read Lao Zi, The Art of War, or even Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee to try to learn what water really means.

    Daryl Choy
    Make Little Things Count


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