The Science of Selling: Lose Fast
Remember the soap opera "Days of our Lives" and the famous opening?
"As sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives."
As sands through the hour glass, we all get 525,600 minutes in a year. No one gets more or less than you do. It is what you do in those 525,600 minutes that separates the great from the good, average and below average salespeople.
Here is a newsflash: if you are going to lose a deal — LOSE FAST!!!! Every minute you spend on a losing deal is a minute you don’t spend on cultivating a winning deal! It really is that simple.
So what separates the great salespeople from the rest? It comes down to three basic things:
- They are relentless about qualifying the opportunity
- They define the strategy — both the competitive strategy and the relationship strategy
- They work the plan
Qualify the Opportunity
Great salespeople live by this mantra: if we solve our customer’s problems, we’ll solve our own. In other words, if you create value for your customers, they will create value for you by awarding you the business. Great salespeople check their ego at the door and qualify the opportunity. They understand it is not what you know that beats you in the sales process, it is what you don’t know! They take the time to understand the critical concerns and objectives of the key decision makers, the decision process and the decision criteria among other things. If the customer is not willing to invest in them, they disengage.
Next, they define the strategy — both the competitive strategy and the relationship strategy.
Great salespeople typically leverage one of the following three strategies:
- Direct Offensive: this is where they feel like they are very well positioned with the value of the solution they have created. They know they have the ROI. Their solution is superior in the eyes of the customer and they have a strong reputation with the key decision makers. They are able to drive the process.
- Change the Game: because they know their solution is not a superior one, they attempt to create a new "recognition of needs" with the customer and redefine the scope, adding new criteria that benefits their position.
- Divide and Conquer: this is the classic "beach head" strategy whereby the customer may be unwilling to place all their business with one supplier. This is where you take on a niche position with a department or a division, leverage your Key Account Management and Quarterly Business Reviews to eventually take on all the business.
As they move through the sales process, they are constantly working to advance the relationship. To do so they need to understand the political landscape and who has the influence and power to make things happen for them. In simple form, they are assessing relationships in three categories:
- Promoter: They believe in you and your solution. They work with you to navigate the political landscape and actively sell on your behalf. They provide the pros and cons of the competition.
- Passive or Neutral: They agree your solution may have potential, but show no preference. They are willing to learn more.
- Detractor: They either overwhelmingly favor another supplier/solution and/or believe that your success will hurt them or their company. They will make a special effort to cause you to lose. They actively speak negative about you.
The great salespeople invest time in dynamic relationship mapping and learn how to leverage their promoters, neutralize their detractors and influence their passives.
At Butler Street, we help companies and their people grow through strategic selling as defined above. Our clients are cognizant of the time they are investing in new opportunities and understand that if they are going to lose, they lose fast — freeing up time to work on cultivating opportunities they will win. Losing more than you are winning? It doesn’t have to be this way! Click on the CONTACT button and let’s talk about how we can help you.
With 194 percent year over year growth and a 90 Net Promoter Score, Butler Street has established itself as one of the leading consulting, training and research firms to the middle market. Before founding Butler Street, Mike Jacoutot spent the previous nine years as CEO of a national health care staffing company and most recently, a revenue cycle company. Jacoutot brings a strong combination of Lean Six Sigma process skills together with 34 years of sales and marketing experience.
Jacoutot is also the author of "Become the Only Choice." Now in its third printing, the book emphasizes a combination of consultative selling and process management techniques to enable salespeople to sell the way clients buy.
A four-time All-American collegiate wrestler, Jacoutot led The College of New Jersey wrestling team to two national championships. He culminated his senior year by winning the NCAA Division III Championship after three consecutive second place finishes. In March 2015, Jacoutot was inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame. In October 2013, he was also inducted into The College of New Jersey Athletic Hall of Fame along with his 1981 NCAA Division III Championship Team. He holds a B.A. in Management.