How to Sell - Clear and Simple: by Harry Frisch. Based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard Order now!
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Penetrating the Barriers to Understanding

By Harry Frisch

In Penetration Selling, once the salesperson has Qualified the prospect, by discovering the prospect’s key reasons for valuing the product or service being offered, as well as the prospect’s main limitations to making the purchase, the salesperson is well prepared to launch into his presentation.

Before focusing on how to make the presentation go right, lets take a quick look at the two major ways in which presentations most often go wrong. The most basic errors have to do with the salesperson not making sure that the prospect is tracking with him throughout the presentation.  Salespeople often present in ways which “lose” the prospect.  All too often, the salesperson will use words and expressions which the prospect doesn’t fully understand, and/or “talk over the head” of the prospect, by introducing concepts about the product which are too sophisticated or too difficult for the prospect to easily grasp.

The second major way in which presentations go wrong is that the salesperson presents the product in ways which, to one degree or another, are irrelevant to the particular prospect standing in front of him.  And consequently, the prospect never develops enough recognition of how valuable this product might be to him, in order for him to want to own it.

In Penetration Selling, we therefore recognize that the key barriers which need to be penetrated during the presentation are:

  • Anything that might block the prospect from achieving a full understanding of the product, and even more importantly, 
  • Anything that might block the prospect from gaining a good understanding of how the product will more than adequately satisfy his key needs and wants for owning that product.

For a prospect to develop sufficient interest in and desire for acquiring a product, he needs to not only become familiar with the features of that product, but he needs to additionally become convinced that the benefits which that product offers him will more than satisfy his specific purposes for acquiring that product.

For example, in demonstrating the latest and greatest cell phones, it is not only important for the salesperson to explain and demonstrate to the prospect what features the phone has (especially stressing those features which the salesperson learned would be of special value to this particular prospect), it is even more important to get the prospect to see how the features of this model will give the prospect the exact benefits this prospect most values in a new cell phone.


A salesperson applying the principles of the Penetration Selling system, after qualifying senior citizen, Mr. Jones, on his need to own a cell phone, despite his poor eyesight, and after discovering Mr. Jones’ strong desire for it to be uncluttered and simple to operate, primarily for use in case of  emergencies:

“So, Mr. Jones, as you can see, this model has only the most essential options, with extra large buttons and bright back lighting [features], which will allow you to easily see and operate the phone in an emergency, whether in bright daylight or in the dark of night [key benefits]…”

With the Penetration Selling system, one learns that a prospect will come to want to purchase your product at the point that he:

  • Becomes sufficiently familiar with your product, and
  • Believes that your product will satisfy his needs and wants for that product. 

For the prospect to reach this point in the sales process, the salesperson needs to first penetrate the barriers to understanding:  1) to deliver his presentation in a fully digestible manner, and  2) to penetrate the barriers to value-recognition -- to deliver his presentation in a way that the prospect recognizes how the features of this product will deliver the key benefits he is seeking and which he values highly. 

The indicator that these barriers have been successfully penetrated is that the prospect has developed a strong interest in, and desire for acquiring, the product being presented. 

When the salesperson has raised the prospect’s interest to this level of strong desire to own it, it’s time for the salesperson to bridge the prospect over to the fifth and final step of the Penetration Selling system -- to lead the prospect into the Close.



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