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How to Brainstorm Advances For Your Sale

We’ve been talking a lot about advances and advancing the sale.  It’s time to get tactical.

We’re now going to brainstorm some possible advances for your type of sale. This is a critical exercise because these are the advances that will form the basis of the questions you ask to advance the sale to closure.

Our purpose here is to give yourself a wide range of possible actions that your prospective client might take.

Every Sale Is Unique

Before diving in, let me note that every sale is unique and advances that work wonderfully for one opportunity might be inappropriate for another.  In fact, to the degree that you are tailoring your advances for a given opportunity it is a good sign that you are genuinely engaging your prospect at a higher level.

You should perform a mini version of this exercise before each sales encounter to help you think through the best possible outcome for that prospect at that time.  For now, we will be performing this exercise in a generic sense for all opportunities to give you a broad set of options (and so you don’t have to think too hard) when you are performing the mini version before each encounter.

You’ll find that given your particular type of sale, there will be a pattern to the kinds of advances you can reliably request with positive results.

Brainstorming those now will speed the process for you in the future and possibly help you discover some advances that you may not have considered before.

Brainstorming Advances

To facilitate comparison we will use a table to compile and prioritize ideas.  If you are on a sales team this exercise is best done as a group where you can brainstorm together and bounce ideas off each other.

On a whiteboard or a sheet of paper draft some headers like the ones below, or go to and download the online form for this exercise.

Brainstorming Sales Advances Table

The form is simple. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1 – Create a Possible Advance/Client Action column, and brainstorm together and write down all the possible actions that your prospects could take. Just get out all the ideas you can. This is a brainstorm.  Write down as many as you can. Keep going until you run out of gas. Then, move on to step 2.

Step 2 – Review your ideas.  Then, create a Measured By column.  Discuss and write down how you will know when this action has taken place.  This will help you discern advances from engagement or mere feelings.

Step 3 – Create a column labeled Impact,  Discuss and rate how impactful this advance would be on the development of your sale.  Rate as High, Medium, Low, or None.  This will help identify your most ideal advances.

Step 4 – Create a column labeled Achievability/Reasonable.  As a group, rate the achievability/reasonableness of each advance on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=very difficult; 5=easy to achieve). This step will help you assess how realistic each advance is from your client’s perspective.  This will change from opportunity to opportunity, but for now you will just be thinking in the generic sense.

Your table should look similar to the abbreviated one below:

Brainstorming Sales Advances Table (example)

Step 5 – If you were planning for an actual meeting you would prioritize each advance and list them by priority in your encounter plan.  For now, we are simply brainstorming so you can leave the Best Choice/Priority column blank.

Congratulations!  You now have a sales advance inventory you can draw upon whenever planning a sales encounter.  This is a valuable asset!

Building On Your Possible Advances

Many find this exercise quite illuminating, and no doubt you discovered  some patterns to the advances and action steps that you most often use.  From there you can build on that. Over time you will discover even more ways to advance your sales opportunities.  Add them to the list.  You will find forms for this exercise and  additional ideas for advancing your sales available free for download at

The best salespeople are able to get prospects to agree to a continuous stream of small actions.  I am often amazed at some of the ingenious actions forged from the creativity of these skilled professionals.  They always have an ideal advance as well as an array of alternate actions to  propose.  This increases the likelihood that each encounter will end with one or more advances.

Remember, there are a lot of little asks on the way to the big ask and this list now represents your own personalized list to help you plan.  Going forward I will share ways you can take your existing advances and make them even stronger.

Closing Tip:  By brainstorming we can easily plan the ideal advance as well as alternate/additional advances for our sales encounter.

Until next time!


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