Active Selling vs. Passive Selling

As a student of sales, management, leadership and life, I subscribe to quite a few newsletters, articles and items to help along the journey.  One of those newsletters is the SalesDog (, which is a great newsletter filled with practical tips.  This weeks article was below, which is a repost for Tim Connor (  This is a great perspective.  Active Sales.  Be in control of the process.  So enjoy my repost of repost of the original article.

Are you playing the ‘wait and see’ game
By Tim Connor, CSP
If I hear one more time, “I’ll just have to wait and see how this potential sale goes”, from someone who says they are a professional salesperson, regardless of the industry they are in, I think I will just have to scream out loud – YOU JUST DON’T GET IT.Selling isn’t about manipulation, but controlling the sales process. It isn’t about wait and see – it’s about creative sales approaches and strategies to continually move the process forward. It isn’t about wasting valuable selling time on poor prospects, but having an effective prospecting system that allows you to spend time and resources on people who are good prospects now or will be in the future. It’s not about trying to turn poor prospects into customers with pricing strategies, giving away the store or losing your integrity because of your desperation or ego.

I believe in keeping things simple, it makes it easier for me. There are generally two types of selling – active and passive. What’s the difference?

Active selling is where you are in control of the process. Let me repeat I am not talking about manipulation. Who do you want to be in control of a challenging health issue you face – a Doctor you trust or yourself as the patient? If you haven’t been to medical school I would suggest you turn the process over to the Doctor. If you don’t trust the Doctor get a second opinion. The same is true of selling. The salesperson knows more about the product or service (or should) than the prospect. All the salesperson needs to do is determine how important the prospect’s problems, needs or wants are to them and why. If you have both – product knowledge and prospect information – you should stay in charge of the process – active selling.

Passive selling is when the prospect says; I need to talk to so and so, I need to think it over, I need to check with another supplier – etc. and you give up, stop selling and yes, just wait and see.

I find it interesting as I evaluate many of the clients I have worked with over the years and their sales teams and sales processes – regardless of the product or service, value proposition, industry, reputation or market exposure, how many so-called professional salespeople – just wait and see – hoping that the sale will close.

Without an effective sales process which includes; prospecting identification and qualification strategies, presentation approaches, closing and overcoming resistance techniques and an effective follow-up process, you will likely end up playing the wait and see game.

Active selling requires an effective and engaging probing approach that doesn’t intimidate the prospect, but does create some discomfort, uneasiness or a sense of urgency or uncertainty that will come with their inaction or poor choices. It requires a customer-focused message and the ability to disarm sales resistance early rather than respond to it later. Obviously it requires a closing approach or strategy that may not come from the sales books or sales gurus available today, but from a mix of your experience, skills and knowledge of the prospect’s concerns, fears or buying history. And finally without a clear and repeatable follow-up process most of the previous steps will be wasted over the long term.

So, why don’t most salespeople today have a system that they can rely on to avoid the wait and see game? Is it stupidity? Fear of rejection or coming across as pushy or manipulative? Arrogance? Naïveté? Or just laziness? Or possibly a unique combination of them all?

For more information about Tim’s bestselling books and CD’s or his services as a sales speaker and trainer contact him at: 704-895-1230.


About rjkunz

MkD for Aflac CA/BA Rampage. Father of 5. Husband to 1. Friend to All. Well, many.
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