Sales is competition. Someone wins the business and everybody else loses.
Selling well and creating all the value you can for your dream client is challenging enough, but then you have the added difficulty of competing with a crowded field of competitors, many of whom are also good salespeople and value creators.
It’s a rough and tumble game. To win, you have to love a good fight.
Sales Requires a Bit of Combativeness
The word combativeness comes with some potentially negative connotations, so let’s get those out the way right at the start. Combativeness has nothing to do with how you treat other people, including your competitor. Combativeness, at least as I am using the word here, has nothing to do with being difficult, ugly, or argumentative.
Combativeness means having heart. It means having more than a little fight it in you; it’s a fighting spirit that says you will try like the devil to win, come what may.
Because sales is competition, wining means you have to be a competitor. It isn’t enough to dispassionately go through the motions, making your sales calls, presenting your solutions, asking for the business. That’s not enough; you have to want it. When you are pursuing your dream client, every day is game day, and every sales call is a performance.
You have to play like it’s for keeps, and that means you have to love a good fight.
If You Don’t Take the Gloves Off
If you don’t take the gloves off, you’ll take no for an answer. When your dream client is hard to reach, when they entertain offers from your competitors, when they decline the meetings and are difficult to reengage, without loving a good fight, you’ll accept all of these obstacles without giving it your best shot. You’ll take no for an answer, when you should instead give it everything you’ve got. You’ll quit before you have fired every weapon available.
If you don’t love a good fight, you’ll quit before the finish line. The contest started with five and now it’s down to two competitors and you have been dismissed. But the contest hasn’t been decided. If you don’t love a good fight, you’ll quit before the finish line. You won’t make the choice to act and you won’t ask to be allowed back into the contest—even when you know in your heart that you are the right choice and the most capable of creating breath-taking, jaw-dropping value (and you won’t share this passion with your dream client, and so they won’t know who you are and how much you will give either).
You won’t pull out all the stops and ask for a do-over when it’s the right course of action and when it is the difference between winning and losing.
You have to love a good fight so that you never quit on your stool. You have to come out for the twelfth in final round against the heavyweight champion who is two weight classes above yours.
Loving a good fight in sales means that you have to embrace the struggle. You have to respect your competition, never underestimating them, but always mixing it up and always being willing to slug it out for your dream client. You have to love being tested and competing. You have to love being called upon to dig deep, to pull out all of the stops, and to leave it all on the playing field.
- Are you discouraged by competition? Do you embrace the competitive nature of sales? What would you have to do to bring your fighting spirit to every competition? Who would you have to be?
- Do you too easily accept losing? Do you believe that a dispassionate professionalism requires that you politely bow out of a competition before it is truly decided? Or, are you willing make the choice in a way that ensures that your dream client know how much you want to help them and what you personally willing to do about it?
- Do you hate losing enough to fight? Do you love winning enough to really give it all you’ve got? Or do you sometimes dispassionately go through the motions, mistakenly believing that some sort unbiased, trusted advisor approach means more than your passionate desire to help your dream client create a better result?
- How does your dream client thins you feel about their business? If asked, would they say that you would go to the ends of the earth to help them? Is that too much for you? What if they are saying that about your fiercest rival right now?
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