As you work through your sales process, there are outcomes that have to be obtained so that you can win and so you and your solution will be chosen. There are also some outcomes that have to be obtained so that your solution will succeed in producing the results that you sold and promised.
We enter into the activities in our sales processes with an intention, with an outcome we desire. Some of the intentions and outcomes are not in conflict; some of them do in fact help you to win and to succeed. Other activities need to be taken with a strong reminder as to what happens after we win.
It is always our intention to both win our dream client and then to succeed for and with them later.
To Win: Access to Decision-Influencers and Stakeholders
In order to win, you need to develop strong relationships with the decision-influencers and stakeholders. These relationships will help you to garner the support for your solution, and they will help you to understand their vision of what is necessary to produce a better result. Their vision is vital to winning.
This group of people can also give you the information that you need to really understand the business and to really put together a solution. They can give you insights and understandings that, even if you know their industry well, can help to inform you on how things work in their company.
These decision-influencers and stakeholders, even those with little formal power or authority can and will do much to influence others on your behalf. The real sale often goes on long after you have left the building, and the exchanges about you and your solution can help to push your deal forward—or completely derail it.
When taking every action in your sales process, these ideas need to be kept at the front of your mind. And so do these:
To Succeed: Access to Decision-Influencers and Stakeholders
If you have done good work developing the relationships you need to win, then you should have the strong network of allies when your solution is installed and executed.
The trouble starts when stakeholders have been ignored, when their concerns have gone unaddressed, or when they have been run over on the way to a deal. The decision-influencers and stakeholders are two of the factors that are critical to your overall success after you have won. You may think you can afford some hurt feelings and still win your deal, and you might be right. But you risk too much by doing so, jeopardizing your ability to succeed once you are chosen.
It is critical that you treat the decision-influencers and stakeholders—even the powerless—exactly as you would want to be treated were the change initiative were occurring in your own company (think that over for a minute) with as much disruption to the status quo as what you are installing.
If you have gone into your meetings with the intention that the ideas, the opinions, and the feelings of this group of people are important even after you have won the deal, you will have direct access to the feedback that you need to make the modifications and adjustments that are always necessary as you fine tune your solution. More critical, you will have bought yourself some time and some grace should the train come off the tracks.
If you have not proven that you cared about the individuals and their outcomes, then you will be lucky to obtain the information and the feedback that you need to succeed for your dream client. And should the train come off the tracks, instead of a group of helpful friends and allies helping to nudge it back on to the tracks, you may find the group of people you left standing at the train station roasting marshmallows on the fiery wreckage that was once your solution.
More than anything, after you have won, you need to have entered into every interaction with your dream client knowing that you were going to need friends and allies in your long war against the status quo. To do so, your intention in every meeting has to be based upon a foundation of honesty and sincerity. It is never enough to do only what is necessary to win, with no thought for what you need to succeed after you win.
When you start to plan your sales calls this week, don’t just add your intention and outcome as it pertains to winning the deal. Instead, add your intention and your outcome as it pertains to succeeding after you win the deal. You will find that the focusing on the later ensures you achieve the former.
It isn’t enough to do what is necessary to win your big deal dream client. You must also do enough to ensure that you succeed for and with your client after you are chosen.
- Are the outcomes of all the activities in your sales process based on what you need to succeed after you win, or simply on what you need to win?
- What actions can you take to ensure that you achieve the outcomes that you need to both win and to succeed after you win during each interaction with your dream client?
- How does entering into every interaction with the intention of winning and succeeding help to improve your likelihood of winning? (Take your time here, there is a lot to be gained by thinking about this one and jotting down your ideas.)
- How does ignoring the intentions of ensuring what you need to succeed after you win reduce the likelihood of actually winning?
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