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The Ultimate Guide to the SNAP Selling Method

Jonathan Costet July 13, 2022

If your buyers are “frazzled,” you might be a good fit for the SNAP selling methodology — a framework that lays out a strategy for selling to today’s busy and overwhelmed buyers.

But what is the SNAP Selling methodology, and how does it work? And more importantly, can it help your team sell more, and how do you adopt it smoothly?

We’ll answer all these questions and more in this in-depth guide to the SNAP Selling methodology. We’ll even share some SNAP Selling questions you can use to dial in your sales team.

What is the SNAP Selling methodology?

SNAP Selling is a sales framework that helps sales reps bring value to today’s overwhelmed and frazzled buyers. It’s based on four rules:

  • Keep it simple
  • Be invaluable
  • Always align
  • Raise priorities

These rules were developed by Jill Konrath, an internationally recognized sales strategist and speaker whose clients include IBM, GE, and Hilton.

What sets the SNAP Selling methodology apart?

As with any sales methodology, there are tons of moving parts, and the SNAP Selling methodology is no exception. Understanding how they fit together will help you adopt this framework successfully for your own team.

We can break down the methodology into the following components.

“Frazzled Customer Syndrome”

Consumers today have a plethora of options available. A quick search on Amazon for “tablet” shows over 100,000 results.

It’s the same situation for B2B purchases. There are almost 10,000 solutions available within the marketing technology sector alone.

Marketing technology landscape

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While more choices aren’t a bad thing, it can lead to “choice overload” — also called “analysis paralysis” — where consumers feel overwhelmed because of the sheer number of options available. In these instances, buyers may simply stick to the status quo or avoid making a decision altogether. 

Most people can’t even pick a movie on Netflix to watch on a Saturday evening. Now imagine how they feel trying to choose between expensive software options. 

SNAP Selling acknowledges that buyers today suffer from a severe case of “frazzled customer syndrome.” They’re stressed, overwhelmed, and just plain exhausted.

Image of a stressed and exhausted buyer

Konrath argues that understanding how to work with frazzled buyers is the first step to getting them to consider changing the status quo.

The following “symptoms” are signs that you have a frazzled buyer on your hands:

  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful
  • Demanding
  • Suffer from analysis paralysis — have no idea where to even get started
  • Withdraw from contact

So how do you work with these types of prospects? That’s where the main component of the SNAP Selling method comes in.

SNAP Selling

SNAP Selling provides a framework that sales reps can follow when selling to frazzled prospects (and of course, unfrazzled ones, too).

SNAP Selling methodology overview

Here are the core principles of the framework:

  • Keep it Simple: Prospects don’t want to add any more complexity to their lives. They don’t have time to sit through lengthy proposals. Sales reps need to make things as clear and transparent as possible.
  • Be iNvaluable: Prospects have more options than ever. The only way to differentiate yourself is to become a trusted advisor. This means you’re always looking for ways to add value to every conversation.
  • Always Align: Deals fall apart when you’re not in tune with your prospects. Understand your prospects’ objectives and challenges, and always keep those top of mind when discussing your products or services.
  • Raise Priorities: Frazzled buyers may stick with the status quo simply because it’s the path of least resistance. Help prospects see how fixing their problem is a priority to get them to consider their options.

Once you determine what’s important to your prospects, the next step is to get them to decide that working with you is in their best interest.

Three Decisions

In SNAP Selling, Konrath says prospects make three distinct decisions when deciding whether to work with you or not.

Three decisions of the SNAP Selling methodology

Here’s a look at each one:

  • First decision (allow access): Prospects have little to no interest in connecting. Your job at this stage is to connect with the right person and get them interested enough to warrant a second conversation. 
  • Second decision (initiate change): Frazzled buyers are stubborn, and getting them to even think about changing the status quo is no easy task. Your job is to get prospects receptive to change.
  • Third decision (select resources): The last crucial decision that prospects make is deciding whether to choose your products or services. Your job here is to get them to see why your solution is the best option based on their circumstances.

In short, get three “yeses,” and you’re on your way to getting the one big “YES” that matters for your bottom line.

Should you adopt the SNAP Selling methodology?

There are two factors to consider: your buyers and the market.

The SNAP Selling methodology provides a framework for a specific type of buyer — the frazzled and overwhelmed buyer. These individuals would rather stick to the status quo than add another task to their already jam-packed schedules.

This methodology isn’t right for you if you sell cheap off-the-shelf products. However, if you sell complex solutions or operate in the B2B space, adopting the SNAP Selling methodology can help you convince prospects to consider your solution. It does this by breaking down the purchasing decision into three smaller decisions.

The next factor to consider is the market. 

If you sell in a crowded market, you already know that you have stiff competition, and that your potential buyers always have other options. Sales reps in most companies typically focus on what their products offer, but taking this approach often leads to the same pitch the prospect has already heard many times. You need to differentiate your sales process and pitch to stand out.

The SNAP Selling methodology asks that you take a more straightforward approach, practically forcing you to be clear on what you offer. But this is a good thing, as it can help you win over stressed buyers (and what enterprise executive or manager isn’t stressed?).

How to adopt the SNAP Selling methodology

Let’s look at how you can successfully apply the SNAP Selling methodology to your own sales process. But first, here are some things you should do before reaching out to prospects.

1. Simplify your sales process

A recurring theme in Konrath’s SNAP Selling is that buyers today are overwhelmed. They live hectic lives and are juggling too many priorities at once. 

Here’s what frazzled buyers are asking themselves while you’re explaining your solution:

  • “How simple is this solution?”
  • “Will it be difficult to implement?”
  • “Is this person adding value to my time?”
  • “Does the solution align with our objectives?”
  • “How urgent is the purchase of this solution?”

It all comes down to effort. If prospects believe that your solution requires too much time and effort to implement, they’ll either stick with the status quo or consider (simpler) alternatives. 

Your goal is to make your sales process as simple as possible. Hearing an overly complex pitch will only cause your prospects to tune out and want to end the call as quickly as possible. 

Here are a few things that Konrath recommends:

  • Propose fewer options: While consumers are attracted to more choices, presenting too many options can actually lead to fewer sales. Instead, propose fewer options when discussing your solution.
  • Keep your presentations short: Frazzled buyers don’t have the time or patience to sit through lengthy meetings. Keep your sales presentation short and get straight to the point early on.
  • Set an agenda: Prepare an agenda in advance and review it with your prospects at the start of every sales meeting. This helps you set clear expectations and show that you value their time.

2. Identify key decision-makers

Identifying key decision-makers is absolutely paramount. Involving these individuals early in the sales process will make your meetings more productive and worthwhile.

In an analysis of over 9,000 sales opportunities, we found that deals were 80% less likely to close when decision-makers weren’t involved in a deal.

Win rates when decision makers are involved in a deal

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The figures are even more pronounced for enterprise deals — deals with sales cycles longer than 90 days and valued at over $100,000. Enterprise deals are 233% less likely to close if you don’t involve a decision-maker.

Impact of decision makers on enterprise deals

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Needless to say, getting a decision-maker involved is key to closing a deal. While you can close deals without them, why make things harder for yourself? Use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find the right people inside companies that fit your ideal customer profile.

3. Create a buyer’s matrix

Once you identify key decision-makers, the next step is to create a buyer’s matrix — a tool that helps you get inside your prospect’s heads and learn their objectives.

Example of Buyer's Matrix

Use the buyer’s matrix to create a customer persona for each of the decision-makers you expect to interact with. This will help you align the features of your solution to their needs.

Most importantly, a customer persona is a valuable tool for performing what Konrath calls a “mind meld” right before making a sales phone call. This entails putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagining different scenarios. 

For example, let’s say that you offer accounting software. So you create a buyer’s matrix for two decision-makers: a small business owner and an accountant.

Here are some questions or sticking points that you might encounter:

  • “How does the software streamline payroll?”
  • “Does the software file local, state, and federal taxes?”
  • “How does the software ensure compliance?”
  • “I already have a payroll provider, so why should I switch over?”

By anticipating possible sticking points, you’ll be much better prepared for when you actually make a sales call. You can even roleplay these scenarios with your sales team.

Now let’s look at how you can move prospects through the three stages or decisions that need to happen before a prospect decides to work with you.

First decision: Allow access

To quickly recap, the first decision that prospects make is determining whether they should allow access or work with you. It’s the equivalent of getting your foot in the door.

But getting prospects to grant you access isn’t easy. You see, frazzled buyers are extremely protective of their time. They’re just trying to get their work done, so the last thing they want is to engage with self-serving salespeople.

The only way they’ll grant you access is if you pique their curiosity. Fail to do so, and you’ll be relegated to what Konrath calls the “D-Zone” — the space where sales outreach and communications are either ignored or deleted.

Don’t get on LinkedIn and send a cold email template to a busy executive. Instead, here’s how you can get prospects to grant you access:

  • Reference a referral: Referencing a referral in your outreach is a great way to establish credibility. Mention the referring person’s name as soon as possible (or in your subject line if you’re sending a sales email).
  • Share insights: Send information like how other companies are tackling the same issues, reports on industry trends, and other insights they might find useful. This is also how you can position your company as a trusted source.
  • Mention a “trigger event”: A trigger event is an event that shakes the status quo, like changes in ownership. Referencing these events shows that you’ve done your research.

Check out these data-backed sales call tips that sales pros use to boost their win rates.

Second decision: Initiate change

You’ve got your foot in the door, but don’t celebrate just yet. The second decision is all about getting prospects to acknowledge that the status quo is unacceptable.

Keep in mind that you’re not mentioning your products or services just yet. Instead, you’re determining if there’s a fit between your prospects’ priorities and your solution.

You do that by asking the right questions.

Here are a few examples of sales discovery questions you can ask:

  • “Can you tell me more about your [process]?”
  • “Can you help me understand what impact this [problem] is having on the organization?”
  • “Can you walk me through what would happen if we don’t solve this [problem] today?”

By phrasing your questions in this manner, you can elicit longer responses which are correlated with higher success rates.

Customer story length correlated to higher success rates

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Here’s how you can convince your prospects that making a change is worth the effort:

  • Provide helpful resources: 65% of B2B buyers indicated strong knowledge of the solution area as a top reason for choosing a winning vendor. By delivering value in every conversation, you’ll be seen as a valuable source of information. 
  • Focus on the possibilities: Help prospects see possibilities that they haven’t considered before. This requires a strong understanding of their current situation.
  • Share a success story: Let prospects know about a customer that you recently worked with and the impact that your solution had on their organization. 

Getting prospects to change their mind isn’t easy. But once you get them to acknowledge that the status quo is unacceptable, they’ll be more receptive to your message.

Third decision: Select resources

Prospects are committed to making a change. The goal now is to influence their decision-making and position your solution as the best option, which isn’t easy if you’re competing in a crowded market.

Evaluate the competition as they’re likely vying for the same opportunity. How do their products or services stack up against yours? In what areas do they fall short? What do their customers say about them?

Next, you need to understand your prospects’ decision-making processes and criteria. Here are some questions you can ask to uncover these details:

  • “Can you walk me through your process for making this decision?”
  • “Who else is involved in this process?”
  • “Is there anything you need from me to get final approval?”
  • “What evaluation criteria will other stakeholders use?”
  • “How do you measure success?”
  • “Can you tell me more about your current solution?”

Armed with this information, you’ll be able to create a compelling sales presentation that positions your solution as the best option.

Pro sales tip: 

Your prospects are busy people. Once you’ve landed the meeting, make sure to follow the “9-minute rule” with your sales deck.

How long your sales presentations should be

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One thing that your prospects are (rightfully) worried about is making a bad decision. They’re taking on a huge risk by changing the status quo. Make sure to include case studies and other relevant references to support your presentation.

Examples of SNAP Selling questions

As your reps implement the SNAP Selling methodology, the following questions will help keep them on the right track.

Keep it simple

Simplicity reigns supreme in the SNAP Selling methodology. When you keep things simple, you’re also making it easier for prospects to buy from you.

Ask yourself the following:

  • “How can we make our messaging easier to understand?”
  • “How can we better communicate our value proposition?”

Be invaluable

Prospects will be more receptive to your ideas if they see you as a trusted advisor. Become invaluable, and you’re far more likely to stand out.

Think about the following when interacting with your prospects:

  • “How can we add more value to each conversation?”
  • “What’s most important to our prospects?”

Always align

Nothing derails a deal faster than misalignment. Make sure that you understand what your prospects’ needs and priorities are.

Reps should ask themselves the following to ensure alignment:

  • “What criteria are important to our prospects?”
  • “How does our solution align with their objectives?”

Raise priorities

Frazzled buyers are juggling multiple priorities at once. If you don’t raise priorities, you’ll be sent to the dreaded D-Zone.

Think about the following to prevent this from happening:

  • “How can we get prospects to prioritize their needs?”
  • “What areas are they currently focusing on?”

With these questions in mind, your reps will be better prepared to field questions from prospects and address their specific needs.

SNAP Selling vs. SPIN Selling: Which one is right for you?

SNAP Selling provides a framework for selling to modern buyers. It describes the three critical decisions prospects make when deciding whether to buy from you and walks you through how to get “yeses” for each one. However, this methodology doesn’t show you how to uncover your prospects’ pain points.

In contrast, the SPIN Selling methodology strongly emphasizes asking the right questions throughout the sales process. The goal is to identify pain points and get prospects to see the value in your solution.

SPIN Selling methodology overview

The SPIN Selling framework is built around four types of questions:

  • Situation: Questions like, “What solution do you currently use?” help you assess a prospect’s current situation.
  • Problem: Questions like, “What challenges is your organization facing?” get prospects talking about their pain points.
  • Implication: Questions like, “What would happen if we don’t solve [pain point]?” show prospects why they need to be solved.
  • Need-Payoff: Finally, questions like, “Would [solution] be valuable for your team?” lead prospects to reach conclusions on their own.

These questions are generally asked in the same order and are designed to move prospects through the sales funnel until they’re ready to make a purchase.

So, which framework should you use?

The SNAP Selling framework might be ideal if you’re in a competitive space. Prospects are stressed and exhausted, so taking a straightforward approach could work in your favor.

SPIN Selling tends to be a better fit for highly-qualified opportunities. These are prospects who have a good chance of becoming a customer. However, reps need to understand their situation and uncover pain points to close the deal.

You could also take inspiration from both methodologies when training your team.

Make SNAP Selling even more powerful with Gong

Let’s say that you’ve decided to implement the SNAP Selling methodology. How will you know if it’s generating sales? And how will you know if your reps are even implementing it properly?

This is where Gong’s revenue intelligence software comes in. 

Gong analyzes customer-facing interactions across multiple channels, so you can see how the methodology is actually playing out in real sales conversations.

With real-time access to your sales data, you’ll be able to see exactly what’s working and what needs to be changed. Not just sales call length, but also specific sales questions, case studies or even specific keywords. Gong helps you identify the factors that distinguish your top performers, allowing you to replicate them across your organization.

Don’t just take it from us, though. Read how Gong’s sales software helped Zillow thrive during a pandemic.

Additional resources on SNAP Selling

Want to learn more about the SNAP Selling method? Then be sure to check out the official book that covers the entire framework.

SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers

SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers was published in 2010, making it one of the “newer” sales methodologies.

In SNAP Selling, Konrath draws from her extensive sales experience and tells you exactly how to approach frazzled buyers. She also dedicates a huge chunk of the book to the three decisions that you must get “yeses” to in order to move deals forward. 

Conclusion

Buyers today are stressed and overwhelmed. Most would rather stick with the status quo than take the risk of making a bad decision. SNAP Selling provides a complete framework for engaging with these types of prospects and positioning your solution as the best option.

Whether you implement the SNAP method or other sales methodology, make sure that you equip your sales reps with the right tools.

Use Gong’s sales tracking software to gain complete visibility into your pipeline and unlock revenue.

WRITTEN BY
Jonathan Costet

Senior Growth Marketing Manager @Gong | Au revoir opinions, bonjour reality