Nothing Works All of the Time

A lot of salespeople seek the one right answer. They want to know what the right strategy is, so they can apply that strategy to every deal. They want to know what tactic works in some situation, in order to memorize that single tactic and use it exclusively. They want the one way to respond to some client concern, so that they are guaranteed success.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one right answer. Worse still, there are as many ways to get things wrong as there are ways to get things right.

In some cases, you want to lead with with your higher price. Boldly exclaiming that your price is going to be higher allows you to justify that higher price throughout the sales process, and it eliminates the sticker shock the first time your dream client sees your price on a spreadsheet—right next to your irrational competitor’s much lower price. It also shows your confidence that you are different and better. If your price is only marginally higher, this approach may not be necessary.

Sometimes you should lead with a bold point of view about what your prospective client needs to change now, and when they should act with urgency. There are times when it makes sense to lead with your message around change. There are other times, however, where you need to ask questions and do a more traditional discovery before you share your ideas, your insights, your experiences, and your challenge.

There are times when you should adhere to your sales process, meticulously marching through the process before you begin working with your dream client, even if they really need your help. Failing would cost both of you too much, and it may be too difficult to start again after failing. Other times, you should ask for an order and begin helping your prospective client right away, building the relationships and working through everything that really needs to be done as you serve them.

The strategy that should be used in one case may be wrong for the next. The language you use with some clients might be the exactly wrong one to use with another.

Sales is a complex, dynamic, human interaction, and as such, there isn’t one right approach. What works in one case isn’t guaranteed in another. This is why you need to study, develop yourself, and pay attention to what works and in what context. The real key to success is knowing when to try a certain approach, and when to do something different. That is only possible if you are paying attention and learning from every interaction.

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