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Disciplines > Sales > ADAPT

Assessment | Discovery | Activation | Projection | Transition | See also


This is a simple sales acronym for the steps in making a sale. It particularly suits Relationship selling and so may take place over a period of time and a number of meetings.


First ask open questions to get them to tell you about their situation. This should be a relaxed and non-threatening that seems easy for them but is packed with information for you.

Ask about history, how they came to be where they are. Inquire about the work they do and what other people they work with. Seek general information from which you can understand the broad context in which they are working.


In your assessment, you may have identified some areas which are of particular interest to you, and where you may be able to make a sale.

Ask them about the problems they are experiencing. Ask them what keeps them awake at night. When you have found even a little niggle, probe further to identify more detail about the situation.

DO NOT start selling products at this point. The closure you should be getting now should be on understanding specifically where you will later be able to make the sale.


Now start to activate their perception and discomfort about the problem in more detail. The goal here is to make them dissatisfied with the current situation and is the 'hurt' of the Hurt and Rescue principle. Of course it is not physical pain and if you are a good sales person you are seeking to solve real problems for them.

Sometimes it is a bit uncomfortable when you realize that you need to change. Your job at this time is to help them into this discovery and then out of the other side as fast as they are able to go.

Watch their body language for signs of discomfort, such as shifting about. Listen to their voice too. When they are sufficiently activated, move on. If you over-do this stage, you might cause a Fight-or-Flight reaction.


Now that they are actively uncomfortable, you next action is to move them from despair at the size of their problem to hope that they will be able to find a solution.

Project forwards in time to a place where their problems are all solved. Get them to think about what it would be like then. Ask how it feels for them.

This will give you more hints about what they are seeking and what will make them happy.


The last stage is to move to the 'rescue' of the Hurt and Rescue principle, where you offer them your product and they bite off your arm!

Move smoothly towards a presentation of your product by checking the facts about what they need. Then match the needs, one for one as you show them that you happen to have just what they are asking for.

See also

Relationship selling, SPIN Selling, Customer-Centered Selling

Hurt and Rescue principle, Questioning techniques

Sales Books


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