The DECIDE Steps to Win Sales

DECIDE is an acronym for the six steps or stages in the Same Page Selling sequence. The steps are:


Identify the Buyers

  • Anyone that could impact directly or indirectly a buy decision. They have either Power, Influence or Insights or any combination of those.
  • Even in a simple single-buyer sale, actively consider who else might be able to influence the buyer and thus also be considered a buyer. For example, her employees, an existing customer (reference), a rep for another company she deals with etc.
  • Confirm the role(s) a buyer might play. For example, is theirs a financial, technical or user perspective or a combination of those?


Engaging is the process of building Trust with buyers:

  • Getting to know them by first building rapport and then growing that into a Partnership so you become a Trusted Adviser.
  • Understanding their desired business results (KPI’s) and personal outcomes (WIIFM).
  • Discovering their personal perceptions of value.


Collaboration is the process of you and the buyer working as a team to:

  • Understand the buyer’s Needs and Value Gaps (clarify/question/challenge).
  • Get to causality i.e., discover the problems not just symptoms.
  • Confirm you and buyer are on the same page by increasing certainty and eliminating assumptions.
  • Gain agreement to jointly work on inventing solutions


Once you have a clear understanding of buyer problems and Value Gaps, Invent is the process of working cooperatively to:

  • Explore approaches e.g. Sources of Value, to close Value Gaps.
  • Act as a facilitator to help the buyer invent his solution e.g. create a specification.
  • Gain agreement on an appropriate cost for the solution.


Having invented a solution with the buyer, you’re now at the point of designing your offering.

  • Map your product/service offering to the buyer’s solution (and so by definition, it matches their perceptions of value).
  • This is the first mention of your product/service.


The process of gaining buyer acceptance i.e., their endorsement, of your offering:

  • Having buyers say ‘yes, I’ll buy/recommend your offering’.
  • Ensuring all buyers are across the line.


The acronym DECIDE is not an accidental choice of a handy word and the graphic is illustrative of that. The sequence is critical and each step involves decisions. You move to the next step when you’ve achieved the desired outcome of the step you’re on. Not before.

Each step has a series of questions you need answers to before moving on. For example, is this person really a buyer? Am I becoming trusted? Do I understand her Perceptions of Value? What business results does she need? And so on.

That said, the activity of prior steps is ongoing, so you never stop discovering buyers, or building trust, or understanding needs or looking for Value Gaps and additional Sources of Value. Just don’t move to the next step though until you have a firm foundation from the current one. For example, don’t move to Invent until you’re confident you’ve discovered all the problems/challenges and Value Gaps.

Qualify, Qualify, Qualify

The acronym DECIDE acts as a constant reminder that managing a sales opportunity is an ongoing process of decisions. You should be continually qualifying (deciding) whether to pursue the opportunity or abandon it. There’s no ‘stationary’ in selling. You’re either making progress, going forwards or else you’re going backwards. If things aren’t moving, then you’re essentially going backwards as that time could be better spent on opportunities you can progress.

There are no consolation prizes in selling. Gold Medals are the only ones on offer. There’s no point in pursuing an unwinnable opportunity and so the earlier you exit to devote your energy to winnable projects, the better.

At every stage in the sales cycle, you should feel confident that you’re positioned to win. That doesn’t mean you’re certain of exactly what you need to do to win, but that you have a strategy (the how) to figure that out. You should always know what to do next, which is where the DECIDE sequence helps you. Confirming you’ve completed a step and are ready to move to the next is a decision.

When you’re uncertain what to do, don’t rely on hope, i.e., that something will turn up. Hope is not a strategy! Too many sellers keep calling on buyers working an opportunity, hoping it will somehow pan out OK. It rarely does. It needs to be a deliberate process to make things happen. The DECIDE process will help you do that. When you’re indecisive, resolve your indecision quickly.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *