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The Peak-End Rule of Sales

3 min readNovember 29, 2021

The Peak-End Rule of Sales will transform how you visualize your selling process.

In sales we increasingly acknowledge the importance of the buying experience as a key factor in a buyer’s decision about which seller to choose.

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, developed the Peak-End Rule (based on his research into how people factor the quality of an experience into their decision-making.)

Barry Schwarz, in his book The Paradox of Choice, succinctly summed up the Peak-End Rule.

“Kahneman showed that what we remember about the quality of our past experiences, both good and bad, was almost entirely determined by how the experiences felt when they were at their peak (best or worst) and how they felt when they ended. We use the peak-end rule to summarize the experience and to remind ourselves how the experience felt.”

In sales terms, think about what the Peak-End rule means. It means that when your customers arrive at the conclusion of their buying process, and are evaluating their experiences with the various sellers competing for their business, their decisions about you (your product and your company) will be heavily influenced by two factors:

  1. The peak experience, either good or bad, they had with you during their buying journey.
  2. How they felt after their last interaction with you.

The Peak-End Rule is consistent with everything we know about buyers in today’s business environment. They are extremely busy and short on time. They are pressed to make better decisions faster.

When the time arrives to make their decision your buyers will consider all the factors, both tangible and intangible, that might distinguish you and your offering from those of your competitors.

They include evaluating their peak experience from how you sold to them and their last interaction with you. And, they’ll use those peak events as key factors in their decision whether to give you their business.

The Peak-End Rule of Sales means that you have the imperative to create peak buying experiences that make your selling valuable and memorable to the buyer. As a result, you have to act with intention. Which means planning and executing each sales action as if it will be the peak buying experience. It means that you have to provide value in every interaction that helps the buyer make progress toward making a decision.

It would be really useful if you could predict in advance which sales touch among the many in your selling process will be experienced as the peak event from the perspective of your buyer. However, you can’t.

This means you have to bring your “A game” every time you interact with your buyers. Any sales interaction, no matter how big or small, holds the potential to be the peak event for your buyer.

This is especially critical if the product you’re selling is perceived by buyers to be similar to those of your competitors. Then you need to focus on how to create peak buying experiences in every sales interaction that will differentiate you from the herd.

Follow Andy on LinkedIn.