The businesses built around selling products and services have been required to hire a large number of specialists, collectively known as "Salespersons". We have all seen organisations incentivising their star salespersons with a variety of awards, incentives and recognitions. So, how do these award winning Salespersons differentiate themselves from the lot? Is Sales function just an occupation or a profession backed by a structured body of knowledge, like we have lawyers, doctors and chartered accountants.

In my long & rewarding career with a global bank, I was tasked with selling Fixed Income products to corporate and institutional clients across large markets. I have to acknowledge, the question never occurred to me - was sales my occupation or my profession? At least, not until I got an opportunity to undergo "Action Selling", a training program devised by The Sales Board, Inc based in Minneapolis, USA. I can honestly say that this was the best training program I ever attended in my long banking career and it has stayed with me long after. Let me share some of my learning with sales professionals who might read this blog.

Well, Action Selling is not a program only for Bankers. It is simply a program for turning "occupational" salespersons into "professionals".

So why do I talk about it here? It is the foremost duty of every sales person towards themselves to become "professionals" in their sales careers. To do justice to your own potential is the right way forward to deliver value to your employer & vice-versa.

In summary, Action Selling framework is a 5*9 metrics of learning. #5 represents the 5 things that sales persons need to sell in every selling situation. And #9 represents the 9 Acts of a sale, yes just like we have Act 1, Act 2.... in a drama. The small difference is that the Sales person is both the script writer and the lead actor playing out the drama. Buyer is the other actor, who just plays the act naturally without being aware of the script.

Let's go a bit deeper and take a look at the 5 things that a Salesperson needs to sell. You might be thinking - Is it not your "product/service" the only one thing that you are looking to sell?  Product/Service is just one of the things that you are selling. Your first and foremost sale is yourself - "the Salesperson". Your Company, Your Product, The Price and the Time to Buy, in that order, are the other 4 sales you make in every interaction.

9 Acts of a Sale involve a careful planning on your part to "sell what you are trying to sell" and "how you are going to sell it." The first and last acts do not involve the buyer, these are acts in which you plan and review your sale. The Act 2-8 involve the Buyer where you begin with building rapport, asking best questions, agreeing on client need, selling your company, selling the product and then price in that order. Act 8 is when you confirm the sale with the buyer.

One of the differentiating best practice that a professional sales person adopts is to have a commitment objective for every client interaction. Commitment Objectives are different from Sales Call Objectives. You succeed in achieving your Commitment Objective when a client agrees to take the next step with you to move the sales process forward. It is important to note how you track the forward movement in your company's predefined sales process.  

This is just a short summary of my learning in my journey from being an occupational salesperson to being a professional salesperson. The journey continues as one can look to become better with every sales interaction.

Those of you who may like to know more about the Action Selling program, please feel free to write to me or look up

This post has been written by our Guest Sales Author Ajay Rastogi (CEO, Pingal) for (Sales AI). If you wish to share your Sales Stories with others, please write to us for access:

Relatas is the Sales AI platform that successful B2B sales teams use for Accurate Sales Forecasting using Relationship Intelligence and AI. Relatas helps Sales Professionals sell better and faster, with NO-DATA-ENTRY & helping Sales Managers reduce revenue loss and better sales forecasting.