What Is ScenarioSelling?

Scenario Selling merges high-tech tools and a high-touch process to create just-in-time (fast) professional selling. It results in a significant reduction in the time required for complex decisions and sales, which can be reduced to hours rather than weeks or months.

Scenario Selling isn’t a new sales technique…it’s a new sales process. It represents the first major change in sales process since consultative selling was introduced over 40 years ago. Scenario Selling provides the logic and framework for a whole new way of selling—a model that will surpass the current paradigm of consultative selling in productivity, personal touch, and professionalism. As a result, the ideas we’re proposing represent a fundamentally different way to plan and sell with technology that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, training, and tools in the sales training industry.

Are we suggesting then that these concepts are radical, unproven, and unscientific? NO! While the ideas that you’ll see here may be new to sales professionals, they are already established as best practices in many other business disciplines.

Scenario Selling is based on the same practical and proven scientific principles of: Accelerated Learning; Lean Thinking; Just-in-Time; Process Re-engineering; Simulation; Scenario Planning; and Systems Thinking that revolutionized American manufacturing and marketing practices during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

This combination of high-tech efficiency and high-touch professionalism also results in:

  • Shorter sales cycles
  • Significantly increased sales productivity (sales effectiveness and efficiency)
  • A dramatically different and better sales experience for prospects and clients
  • Differentiation and a tremendous edge over traditional competition

How Do You Do Scenario Selling?

In the Scenario Selling process, customers and salespeople work together using visual interactive technologies (like computers, multimedia projectors, and specially designed visual software programs) to identify issues, solve problems, and make decisions in real time. The following table summarizes what this looks like and how it differs from a traditional consultative sales approach.

technology selling
technology selling
Scenario Selling Approach
Traditional Approach
Technology used with the customer
Technology used away from the customer
Technology designed to facilitate visual interactive work and play
Technology designed to create printouts and static slideshow presentation
Think ‘flight simulator’
Think ‘report generator’
It’s a Collaborative Process: “Let’s do it together.”
It’s a Consultative Process: “I’ll do it for you.”
Changes and enw information can be made quickly and new results shown instantly
Changes and new information require do-overs and extra meetings
Sales Role: Process Facilitator
Sales Role: Information/Technical ‘Expert’ Resource

How Does Scenario Selling Work?

Scenario Selling works by eliminating the inevitable delays that result from using backroom analysis software and technology tools with a consultative selling process. Most of these productivity draining and sales killing delays are not necessary. They are simply the result of how customer decisions and consultative selling break down when backroom planning and report preparation tools (tools used away from the customer) are used as part of the sales process.

The picture below helps illustrate the problem and the solution. The blocks summarize the different activity groups (events) that take place during the sales process. Block #1 (Rapport & Interview) and Block #3 (Demonstrate & Implement) are customer-facing events. However, Analysis (Block #2) is not. When Analysis is needed that requires the salesperson to be away from the client to complete it, the flow of the sale process is interrupted and additional time or meetings are required.


So, any additions or changes (like new information that a client introduces at the time of presentation or client questions that the salesperson hasn’t prepared for) require analysis ‘doovers’… adding meetings… delaying decisions…and killing sales.

What’s the solution to the sales delay and do-over problem illustrated above? Close the loop with visual tools that allow analysis to be completed while you’re with the prospect. Is Scenario Selling as simple as taking a laptop or computer screen and turning it around during the sales process so the customer can see the analysis software being used? While this is a good start, it’s not enough, because the type of interaction that takes place also requires a different process and different skills than those used in traditional consultative selling.

It’s collaborative not consultative! What’s required to facilitate this collaboration? Imagine the types of tools and skills that would be required if you used computer software as a visual flight simulator to help customers navigate their way through difficult decisions…

Scenario Selling is like ‘decision flight simulation’ with the prospect or client as the student pilot and the salesperson as flight instructor.

From the Customer’s Perspective…

How does Scenario Selling provide a better customer experience? Let’s look at an example from the financial services industry. Imagine for a moment that you’re the customer… You’re looking for financial advice and someone who can help you achieve your dreams and goals. Take a look at the picture below. Which sales experience would you rather go through?

(click on graphic to enlarge)

The collaborative Scenario Selling process results in a profoundly different and better customer experience than other professional selling methods because it:

  • Increases customers involvement and participation in the sales process
  • Helps people see their thinking illustrated in real time, allows them to talk about it, and gets people on the same page
  • Engages people’s imagination and helps them dream productively
  • Encourages risk taking, experimentation, and sharing of ideas
  • Makes the process productive and playful rather than painful and boring
  • Helps people get questions answered faster
  • Inspires and motivates people to explore issues, solve problems, and make decisions

What Scenario Selling Means for the Salesperson

Now, imagine that you’re the salesperson…

What would it mean if your sales process resulted in engaged and involved prospects:

  • Who share information openly?
  • Who find the sales process interesting, rather than something to be avoided?
  • Who are motivated to explore issues and make decisions…faster?
  • And are more committed to implement solutions because they helped create them?

Imagine a sales process that would help you:

  • Sell both faster and more professionally?
  • Make prospecting easier?
  • Make service work more profitable?
  • Have prospects and clients want to come in?

What would it mean to your sales productivity?

What would it mean to you personally?

The Scenario Selling methods will help you see more people, sell more to each person, and do it in less time…providing dramatic increases in sales results… while at the same time making the process more personally and professionally satisfying.

Why Not Do Scenario Selling?

Despite the advantages of this approach, there will be many salespeople who either can’t or won’t be able to do this for reasons including…

  • Change in Behavior. Ever try to take someone who’s successful at something and ask them to start doing it differently? There will be many sales advisors who either can’t or won’t be able to do this because it will force them to think about selling and do selling differently.
  • Tools, Training, and Skills. Some of the visual interactive tools required to do this weren’t available or easily affordable as recently as a few years ago. Until very recently, the software and training to sell this way easily and effectively haven’t existed.
  • Familiarity. The core ideas in this book including just-in-time, simulation, systems thinking, and scenario planning are concepts that many people are not yet familiar with. We hope to begin resolving the familiarity issues through this book and our training programs.

One of the goals we have for this book is to adequately describe the tools, process, and skills needed for people to implement the Scenario Selling process easily, effectively, and profitably. In the next section, we describe different ways to use this book to accomplish that goal.

© 2018 ScenarioSelling