The Psychology of Selling

The Psychology of Selling

The Psychology of Selling

Did you know that understanding the psychology of selling can help you to win more work? Are you responsible for winning work but not a salesperson?  On the Questas Academy’s Professional Selling programme, we work with candidates to equip them with the tools and skills required to win more of the right kind of work from the right kind of clients.  As part of this 12 week programme, we explore many aspects of how to grow sales, with an entire course module dedicated to focusing on the psychology of selling and how by having the right mindset we can all motivate clients to buy from us.


Understand Emotions To Win More Work 

Facilitated by emotional intelligence expert Alison Coates, the Psychology of Selling module introduces us to the science behind emotions. As Alison explains, “It’s such an important concept because when we can understand that our emotions, our decisions, and our behaviours, we can start to see how we might be able to influence performance.”  Once we understand how we can influence people through our own behaviours, we can help clients to makes decisions in the right direction. If you are a little bit reluctant as a salesperson or if it’s not something that you would normally do every day, this can be a really powerful tool to learn. It is a really great way for us to be able to understand how to take steps and influence conversations with clients that can lead to more positive outcomes. 

High angle shot of a group of businesspeople shaking hands during a meeting in an office

Practical Learning & The Psychology of Selling

As part of the Professional Selling programme, each cohort takes part in group practical sessions to bring learning to life, as explained by our expert Alison:  “We do a wonderful exercise in module one, where people actually get to experience the science of emotions through doing an interactive exercise. And with that understanding, we can then move into the conversation around what kind of mindsets a person who takes on a sales role be most likely to have. It really gives you that understanding around mindset and how the brain works in helping us to make some of these decisions and to motivate others.”

Positive Outcomes

The aim of the programme is to leave students with skills that they can immediately put into practice into their work. We share tools that candidates can apply in their relationships, (both personal and professional )which will really help to motivate people to take the right decision towards a positive productive outcome, and hopefully, as sale!If we have more of an understanding of how we are engaging with people and the psychology that is going on in our clients minds, we can adopt behaviours that help us to reach more successful outcomes and will motivate people to want to want to come towards us and work with us.

Key Takeaways on the Psychology of Selling

  • Somebody who is good at selling is usually just someone who is good at listening. It doesn’t matter your background or skills, because if you can listen and build relationships, you can sell.
  • Listening is a skill that can be learnt. It can be improved and perfected. There are varying ways to do this. Alison’s favourite way is to recognise and own our own distractions. One way to do this is to try and to maintain eye contact when the other person is speaking.
  • Having an awareness of self is the first building block to emotional intelligence and growth.
  • There is a common myth that to be a good salesperson you need to be an extrovert. But this is simply not the case. Often introverts have a high level of authenticity and emotional intelligence. These are great skills for selling.
Want to win more work? 

If you want to understand more about the psychology of selling how it can help you to win more work from the right kind of clients, register now  for the Questas Academy’s Professional Selling programme. Click below to register your interest and find out more about our course dates that are taking place throughout 2022. 

Head to our YouTube channel and watch our video of Questas founder and CEO Gary Williams and Alison Coates talk about the psychology of selling and how we approach it on the Professional Selling programme.

7 Steps to Winning More Work in 2022

7 Steps to Winning More Work in 2022

7 Steps to Winning More Work in 2022

Do you want to win more work in 2022? Here are 7 steps that will help you to win more of the right kind of work from the right kind of clients. These are based on our years of helping consultancy, engineering and professional services firms create opportunities, convert them into business and retain their best clients. 


1. Focus

When it comes to successful business development, you need to really understand your target market, so ask yourself these questions:  What are the problems that you can solve? Which organisations or people have those problems? What solutions to those problems can you provide? Then you should analyse the clients that you have already and ask, who buys your  service? Which sectors have you had the most success with?


2. Win More Work With A Good Plan

Always have a plan! We use our unique Create, Convert Retain planning tool when it comes to planning Business Development activity. It shows you how to focus on building trust and awareness with potential clients, helping you to create your best reputation with clients, increase your visibility, and sharpen your relationship skills to help you to win more work.  You can find out more about our Create Convert Retain approach here:

Questas Growth Model Create Convert Retain

3. Understand the buying journey

Take the time to understand your clients problems. 75% of your market place right now don’t know that they have a problem that you can solve. So what can you do to let your client know you exist and that you an offer a solution to their problem? This could be valuable marketing content (ie, free advice or downloads) that makes you appear a useful relationship for the client to nurture.  


4. Network

Winning more work in professional services is all about people, and building new and existing client relationships. When you are networking, you need to make sure you are approaching it effectively. Make sure you do your research about who it is that you’re meeting, and don’t be afraid to fake confidence if you need to. and introduce yourself to people. Be interested in what others say, rather than trying to be interesting yourself. You just need to listen and make people feel listened to and understood. This will make you memorable! Then ensure you follow up by connecting with the person afterwards, whether that’s on LinkedIn or via email, and start to interact with them. Take it slow and build up the connection over time before you suggest a meeting.


5. Make The First Meeting Count To Win More Work

When you hold that first important meeting, we use our unique 3i approach when it comes to structuring that meeting; 

The 3i Model - inform, investigate and inspire

We have a model called the 3is – Inform, Investigate, Inspire; which is useful when preparing for a sales meeting. – Spend the beginning of the meeting building a rapport and looking for what you have in common. Question and listen to them, and use this time to tell them about yourself and your organisation. 

You can find out more about the 3i model here:


6. Write compelling proposals

If you want to win more work in 2022, writing a compelling proposal is vital. When you are writing a proposal for a prospective client its important to keep these key points in mind: 

Opening paragraphs – Use You and Your, not Us and We

• Demonstrate you know their world

• Outline their ‘problem’

• Explain how you solve it

• Show evidence of having done it  (ideally with clients like them)

• Paint a picture of the future after they have bought you.


7. Systemise everything! 

Want more BD success in 2022? Then the time to systemise you and your teams Business Development activities!

  • Continue to prioritise researching and being knowledgable of your industry, target clients and sectors. 
  • Strategise your networking: Plan which networking events your will be going to, who are the best people to attend specific events? 
  • Marketing activity: Embrace your marketing, which gives value to your clients. Can you be writing articles on industry websites or guesting on podcasts? 
  • Ask for referrals: Don’t be afraid to ask trusted clients for  introductions and referrals. You will be amazed how many people want to introduce you to their contacts. A personal referral is a truly valuable way to win more work. 

Want to win more work in 2022? If you want any more information on how to win more work and grow your business, get in touch. Email us at or connect with our founder and CEO Gary Williams on LinkedIn.

Practise, practise, practise to build new habits!

Practise, practise, practise to build new habits!

How to turn workplace learning into sustainable, positive habits.

Commissioned by The Training Journal March 2021

An organisation’s ability to learn – and translate that learning into action rapidly – is the ultimate competitive advantage. This is according to Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric.  And figures from the annual UK L&D Report back that up. They show that top-performing organisations are five times more likely to have positive learning cultures. This echoes the suggestion that a culture of learning is a key component of business success.

If we train our people to excel and they leave, that’s bad. But if we don’t train them and they stay, that’s worse.

We’ve all heard this comment before. So it’s no surprise that organisations of all shapes and sizes run training courses. Topics range from mandatory topics such as health and safety to business skills such as leadership and management.

After all, good companies invest in their people.

unnatural salespeople trusted advisor

Taking Training to the next level

But the best companies take training to another level – and create new, powerful and sustainable habits. They avoid the trap of trying to achieve a quick fix – the so-called ‘sheep-dip’ approach – which all too often leads to the cry of “training doesn’t work”. Too many organisations are reactive and use training as a sticking plaster when they see a problem.

When done well, a learning development plan should be thought through and congruent with the strategy and direction of the company.

You need to consider what skills are required to take your organisation where it wants to go.

Click here to read the full article in the Training Journal

If you are interested in talk more about developing a learning culture for your organisation or team please email

3 Essential business development tips for professional & engineering firms post-pandemic

3 Essential business development tips for professional & engineering firms post-pandemic

3 Essential business development tips for professional & engineering firms post-pandemic

How can professional services firms best transition from survival to growth mode?

The past 18 months has seen many professional and engineering services firms batten down the hatches as the pandemic took a grip on our lives and the economy. Thankfully, many of these organisations are now moving from survival mode into growth mode. And, while this is hugely encouraging, there are a few essential things to consider to ensure you maximise opportunities so that the growth is as effective as possible.

So, how can professional and engineering services firms maximise business development opportunities in this post-pandemic era?

A recent McKinsey article tells us that growth comes from both short and long-term initiatives – quick wins and strategic transformation. It also asserts that execution triumphs over analysing and that measurement is a source of competitive advantage. Working with professional services and engineering firms since 2004, I have seen the economy rollercoaster in action and the impact that upturns and downturns have on organisations.

Put people first – nurture client-facing staff

Professional service based businesses have two fundamental assets: people and time. Sure, the people are providing expertise, and it’s true that more companies are now offering technology-based innovations, but at their core these businesses measure their income in terms of the numbers of hours their people invoice. What this means is that in strong markets the biggest problem is resourcing, and when times are tough the biggest problem is too much overhead. The response? Reduce the overhead. But the first to go are usually those who are lower down on the utilisation spreadsheet. Unfortunately this can (and in my experience often does) include work winners.

I have been in the world of business development and client relationship management for my entire career so inevitably I see this through a particular lens. I accept that when market conditions dictate that the flow of work is reduced to a trickle, clients are in their own ‘lockdown’ and it is difficult to keep paying expensive salaries because the return on that investment can’t be realised any time soon. However, we have now reached an economic turning point. This means it is time to put the foot down on the accelerator. And I’ve seen first-hand that the best way to move from survival mode to growth mode is to nurture client facing people and actively engage them in a three-part strategy:

Client-facing people are often the work winners and connectors in engineering firms

  1. Get focussed on where the opportunities are
  2. Have more face to face BD meetings
  3. Measure the effectiveness

Lets have a look at each of these steps:


Get focussed


Whilst we don’t want to be struck down with ‘analysis paralysis’ we also don’t want to waste useful time, effort and energy. This is not the time to be going after the wrong type of work. Here three quick questions to help get you focussed:

  • Is the market strong for this kind of work?
  • What is our reputation like for this type of work?
  • Do we already have relationships with decision makers?

If you can answer a solid YES to each of these it is probably worth putting a business development plan together. These plans needn’t be overly complicated but should focus on getting in front of target clients through referral, or valuable content marketing.


Face to face BD meetings


Even when selling into the public sector – who almost always buy through a tender process – nothing beats getting in front of clients, both existing and new. People (still) buy from people and so your people need to be better than the people from other organisations. And by ‘better’ I don’t mean better technically, I mean better at motivating clients to buy!

These meetings provide fantastic opportunities, if not immediately then often at some point in the future. For more information on how to ensure these meetings will maximise the opportunity please see our Effective BD Meetings guide.


Measure the effectiveness of business development activity


It has been said that it is difficult to measure selling activity. Certainly it’s challenging to look at the numbers and work out what income was due to what particular marketing/BD activity, as well as considering if it was simply down to market conditions. However, that approach is trying to measure the output. I have found that it is much easier and more effective to measure the inputs. For example count:

  • Number of meetings with decision makers
  • Introductions made to colleagues with other expertise (see our valuable Cross Selling post here)
  • Referrals from clients to others in their network
  • Opportunities identified at meetings
  • Follow up meetings with other stakeholders
As firms lift the shutters and head back out into the market, professional service based businesses need to identify and maximise every business development opportunity. Those who are ready, willing and able to spread the BD load to many (if not all) client-facing people will certainly reap the rewards.

Want to maximise opportunities for your business to grow, and your team to thrive? Please get in touch, email us at Or if you’d like to see more growth ideas for professional & engineering firms we’d recommend ‘Selling to the public sector’ here, and definitely look into our 30 minute trainings on ‘Getting to the client’s table’ here.


Unnatural salespeople are your secret weapon when it comes to winning work

Unnatural salespeople are your secret weapon when it comes to winning work

Unnatural salespeople are your secret weapon when it comes to winning work

Your hidden salesforce are the unnatural salespeople! It’s time to unleash their potential

Uncovering business opportunities and winning new clients is a crucial aspect of doing business especially in professional services and engineering firms. So, not surprisingly, in many organisations salespeople are seen as the key players when it comes to the growth of the company. However, some organisations either don’t have any sales professionals, or they have only a few who are tasked with the ‘rainmaker’ role.

But, if you dig a bit deeper, you will find that many employees have fantastic relationships with clients – genuine relationships built on trust and respect. Their job descriptions probably don’t suggest that they work in sales. And they wouldn’t necessarily describe themselves as salespeople. Yet they are contributing to the growth of your organisation by uncovering opportunities for themselves and others, managing client relationships and even winning new business.

However, because they are not considered part of the sales force, they don’t always receive the same training as their business development colleagues. And, in fact, these so-called ‘unnatural salespeople’ may even see sales and selling as a dark art.

By investing in their selling skills – without turning them into ‘salespeople’ – business leaders can unleash a potent weapon to uncover more opportunities and drive client loyalty.