Close More Sales … by ‘Seeing’ the
‘Window Of Dissatisfaction’

by Craig Elias


Have you ever noticed what happens when you buy a new car?  Once you buy it, you start ‘seeing’ the same car on the road. What’s that about?

Or consider this: Jack and Tonya learn from Tonya’s doctor that they’re about to have their first baby. Now, everywhere Jack goes, he sees pregnant women. Fast forward nine months: Tonya has given birth to a beautiful baby girl.  Now Jack stops noticing pregnant women so much and starts seeing babies everywhere he goes.

This is called selective perception. It’s proof positive that events in our life change what we see. When we buy a new car or our wife gets pregnant – our brain becomes programmed to notice more of that thing. In essence, we ask our brain to “put new cars or pregnant women on our mental radar screen.” The act of reading this article means you yourself are engaging in this process … by putting one of the most powerful concepts in sales on your “radar screen.”  It’s called the Window of Dissatisfaction.

People who notice the Window of Dissatisfaction tend to:

  • Close bigger deals,

  • Close deals faster, and

  • Win core, loyal customers who will gladly act as a reference and provide the most treasured thing in sales – referrals.

If this is what you want, then read on to learn about -- and start seeing -- the Window of Dissatisfaction.

The Three Buying Modes

Most salespeople are quite familiar with two of the three common buying modes:

Status Quo – “What we have is sufficient, and we see no reason to change. We will keep buying from this supplier … or keep doing nothing.”

Searching for Alternatives – “We are actively looking for a new supplier, and probably talking to multiple candidates.”

In between these two, however, lies the buying mode with the greatest opportunity, namely the …

Window of Dissatisfaction:  “We know we have to do something about X, and we’ve put it on our priority list, but we haven’t yet found a way to take action.”

In other words …

When you sell to a buyer after they realize what they have is no longer sufficient but before they have started the process of searching for alternatives, you have found them in the Window of Dissatisfaction!

Example: A friend of mine sells writing services to professional speakers. He helps them turn training programs into manuscripts, which they then turn into self-published books. His best clients are people who have not yet self-published a book, or reached out to anyone about doing so, but have publishing a book on their list of “things to do.” When he runs into a speaker who does a lot of speaking, but does not yet have a book to sell … my friend knows he’s found a buyer in the Window of Dissatisfaction – and his next loyal, high-value customer.

Take a few moments to reflect on the new customers you acquired in the last year. Jot down their names. Now break your list down a little further. Of those buyers, which ones came from situations where you:

  • enjoyed a short sales cycle,
  • found it very easy to make the sale,
  • sold at a higher-than-average price, and
  • ended up with a core, loyal customer who really saw “eye-to-eye” with you – and was willing and eager to sing your praises to other people? Put a check mark by those names.

In all likelihood, you “got to” those with check marks by their names when they were in a Window of Dissatisfaction and your product or service resonated with the buyer’s selective perception.

The very act of thinking about these buyers makes it easier for you to recognize the Window of Dissatisfaction and get it on your mental “radar screen”! Once you recognize a Window of Dissatisfaction, and relate it to your own best customers, you will start noticing it everywhere.
When you notice the Window of Dissatisfaction, you’ve got the beginnings of a competitive edge – an “unfair advantage” that will increase your close ratios, shorten your sales cycles, and increase your average deal size. In short, you will excel at sales when you can identify, focus on, and sell to buyers in the Window of Dissatisfaction  … before your competition. So take a look at your new best customers … and soon you will start seeing The Window of Dissatisfaction everywhere!


The Author

Craig Elias

Craig Elias is the creator of Trigger Event Selling™, a contributing author to the #1 Selling Book on both Amazon and The Wall Street JournalMasters of Sales”. Craig Elias has received coverage on NBC news, in The New York Times, The National Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Nikkei Marketing Journal, and Sales and Marketing magazine. He was chosen by Dow Jones as leader of one of the 50 most promising companies in North America. Visit when you want to learn about, identify, and capitalize on, a unique selling window called the Window of Dissatisfaction.
Many more articles in Sales & Marketing in The CEO Refresher Archives

Copyright 2008 by
Craig Elias. All rights reserved.

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