Triangle Selling Framework Part 1: Rapport

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The Triangle Selling Method is a sales methodology that focuses on three key aspects of the sales process: Reasons, Resources, and Resistance. By taking these components into account, it’s easier to make a sale quickly and efficiently. This framework is similar in nature to BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe), MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Process Planner/Process Owner, Decision Criteria/Pain/Gap, Identify Components, Champion) and other sales methodologies. The main difference between the Triangle Selling Framework and others is that it looks at reasons behind customer decisions instead of just stating facts. This helps sales teams better understand their customers and allows them to structure solutions around their needs in order to maximize sales. I have found that it enhances how I operate and execute with adaptable tactics.

Why I Love the Triangle Selling Framework

There are several reasons why I like Triangle Selling. This framework focuses on systems and models for organizing how we interact with customers and build equitable relationships, not just the information needed to qualify and target sales opportunities.

Triangle Selling takes a robust view across three aspects Reasons, Resources, Resistance


Understanding a customer’s motivations when looking to purchase a product or service is essential. Reasons for buying should include examining the customer’s needs, expectations and goals, as well as any underlying pain points. When crafting solutions, this knowledge can help create offers that meet the customer’s specific requirements while adding value. Additionally, by digging into what is driving their decisions, it becomes easier to come to an agreement that benefits all parties.


The Resources factor of Triangle Selling looks at the resources that a customer has at their disposal. This includes their budget, personnel and time constraints. It also encompasses what technology they have available to them as well as any external partners they are working with. By understanding these resources, sales teams can better tailor solutions to fit within the customer’s capabilities and ensure that they are getting a return on their investment.


The Resistance factor of Triangle Selling looks at the barriers to a customer purchasing a product or service. Understanding possible roadblocks during the sales process is essential to ensure success. From lack of trust or buying power, to external factors such as the current economy and market trends, sales teams should be prepared. With this knowledge, teams can provide additional value/incentives that can encourage customers to make a purchase.

    Triangle Selling: Getting Started

    In sales, gathering information about the customer is key to determining the best product or service for them. It’s important to understand the context of why they are looking to make a purchase, what resources they can use to do so, and if there are any risks or obstacles in their way. With this knowledge, sales teams can present tailored solutions that meet the customer’s needs and encourage successful transactions.

    Developing strong relationships with customers is at the heart of the Triangle Selling Method. With an emphasis on data-driven capture management, this method allows sales teams to gain valuable insights into customer preferences which can then be applied to create custom solutions tailored to their needs. Furthermore, establishing long-term partnerships with customers can give businesses a competitive edge and set them up for continued success.

    Rapport – Key to all Selling Efforts

    Shared Definition of Rapport

    Building relationships with customers requires more than just technology and going through the motions. It is an intentional process of getting to know them, developing mutual trust and understanding, and seeking ways to work together towards a shared goal. These connections are invaluable when it comes to gaining insight into customer needs and providing tailored solutions that result in successful outcomes.
    Building rapport with customers during sales processes is all about developing a relationship of trust and mutual understanding. This involves creating meaningful conversations and interactions that show genuine interest in the customer’s needs, which helps to build trust and open up opportunities to provide effective solutions. It also requires active listening and empathy, both of which are essential for successful customer outcomes.

    We will define rapport as a positive relationship between people that often involves mutual trust, understanding, and attention.

    Benefits of Building Rapport

    Establishing a trusting relationship with prospects is essential in the Triangle Selling Method. Without trust, it’s impossible to move beyond simple transactions. In government contracting, you need to build honest, legitimate and equitable relationships with customers if you want to move away from only responding to RFPs on sites like and GSA E-Buy.

    Having a trusting relationship offers numerous benefits: your customers are more likely to share their feedback and candid responses; reveal details about their process and challenges; ask for your advice or counsel; keep their commitments; collaborate on deals; invite others to the table and recognize your expertise.

    What Motivates Prospects? Building rapport will allow you to understand what the customer’s needs are at any given time. At a primal level, all potential buyers purchase our products or services to address one of two fundamental things:

    1. Alleviating a Pain: need to avoid a threat or a loss*

    2. Achieving a Reward: need to seize an opportunity.

    * Fear is included with Pain as Fear is the anticipation of future pain.

    Moving the Relationship Forward

    The Triangle Selling Method provides a very effective framework to use that moves the relationship dynamic from threatening salesperson to rapport to Trusted Advisor. One of the main tools in the Triangle Selling approach for analyzing and understanding customer relationship dynamics is SCALE.

    S.C.A.L.E – Relationship Intelligence Based on 5 Dynamics

    S.C.A.L.E provides the model for analyzing the relationship dynamics to identify appropriate actions to build rapport and drive the sale.

    Triangle Selling Framework Part 1: Rapport



    When working with prospects, it is important to consider their perception of where they stand among their peers and in relation to the organization. Aim to identify ways in which you can help elevate their status, while also understanding the dynamics of perceived status between yourself and the customer. Show deference to their situation as this will create an atmosphere of trust, respect and confidence in your sales process.


    Avoiding ambiguity in the interactions with the prospects is crucial. We must always be prepared to provide prospects with clear explanations of what is next, and set clear expectations. We want to uncover uncertainty in how the prospect’s organization functions.


    We want to ensure that we are communicating with prospects and helping them make informed choices, not taking away their decision-making ability. To do this, we need to seek ways to build their internal status and give them more authority within their organizations. In such circumstances, there is a chance for us to step in and help boost their status and autonomy.


    People often have a natural resistance to perceived differences when they encounter new people, feeling uncomfortable and threatened. Establishing perceptions of likeness and common ground is essential in building strong rapport with prospects. To do this, look for relevant stories and social proof that customers can relate to, as well as any personal connections you may have with them. This will help create an atmosphere of trust and understanding.


    To create fair and equal exchanges, it is important to prioritize truthful interaction between sales personnel and potential customers. Ensure that you are not misleading the customer or being overly transactional in your approach. Rather, show genuine interest in the customer’s situation and treat them as a partner in the sales process. This will help build a mutually beneficial relationship of trust and understanding.

    The Ground Game – Building Rapport

    Establishing rapport with potential customers and strengthening the relationship by building trust are essential aspects of successful sales. Here are some steps to build rapport and lasting trust:

    • Listen to understand their needs – Take the time to truly understand what type of product or service they are looking for, and how your company specifically can help.
    • Be genuine – Be authentic in your interactions and show that you have the customer’s interests at heart. Demonstrate that their needs come first.
    • Set expectations – Clearly communicate what you can bring to the table and outline any constraints upfront. This helps create an environment based on understanding and mutual trust.
    • Provide solutions – Work with the customer to identify solutions that meet their requirements while still providing value.
    • Follow up regularly – Creating ongoing touch points is vital in helping build relationships; stay connected through emails, calls, meetings etc., to keep each other updated on progress.

    The Triangle Selling Method identifies four phases to what I call the Ground Game in which sales personnel have opportunities to build rapport, mutual understanding, and trust with customers.

    Pre-Interaction (Marketing)

    developing data points on potential prospects through their interactions with our materials and other channels. The act of conducting market analysis gives us context about the prospect. We must look for key information that includes and provides us context on buyer demographics, psychographics, organizational structures, technical needs, etc. This information provides us with context for deciding to engage with the prospect.

    Orientation (Initial Meeting/s)

    marketing ends and selling begins with the first conversation. The goal is to focus on establishing and maintaining rapport, not selling at the outset.

    Working (Sales Process)

    Sales processes are collaborations between buyers and sellers. We want to set a dynamic of trust building based on establishing clear expectations, consistency, and continued engagement with prospects.

    Ongoing (Customer Success)

    By delivering on what we have sold, providing success to the customer, and continuing to engage in the relationship, rapport is solidified. The salesperson, account/delivery manager, and customer success work together to ensure that trust is ongoing. We must make sure touch-points and contact continue to occur.


    I will discuss actions to move from Resistance to Resources, to Reasons in real time in Triangle Selling Part 2: Running the Triangle.

    Triangle Selling Framework Part 1: Rapport

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