How to Make Strategic Decisions in Sales

The question asked of me last week was this: “How do you think about making the right decision in sales?”

There is no way you can know with absolute certainty what the right decision is before you make it. But there are ways that you can do a better job of making decisions in sales—or in any other area of life. The challenge is in not getting wrapped around the axle and committing to a course of action before you have had a chance to think things through.

The way to make good decisions is to first consider your options. Once you have identified all your choices, you can weigh them against each other to determine which choice you believe will allow you to achieve the result you want. More choices improve your chances of success while believing there is only one course of action limits your chances.

Let’s assume you are calling on your dream client, and their gatekeeper decides to lock you out, forbidding you from gaining access to the contact with whom you need to meet.

You might decide that you are going to do any one of the following:

Contact the client directly. A decision worth considering, even if it comes with the downside risk of alienating the gatekeeper and making an enemy.

Identifying and pursuing a new contact. Another reasonably good choices depending on the context. The downside risk here is that word gets back to the contact and their gatekeeper and you end up bringing negative attention to yourself.

Identifying someone who can make an introduction. Maybe you have a shared contact that would be generous enough to make an introduction. This might be especially valuable if you have done good work for this person and they’d like to do this for you.

Enlisting the client as an ally. Maybe the best thing to do is try to win the gatekeeper’s heart and mind, enlisting their help in your cause, proving you create value, and making them look good in the process.

There are still more choices available to you, like having someone else on your team work on access through another channel. From the small number of facts and clues, it’s still difficult to make a good decision, but with a little context, a good choice becomes clear. If your best client used to work for the contact you are pursuing, the decision is easier to make. If you have another contact that has engaged with you, that might make taking a different path a better option.

The key to making good decisions is to first start by identifying your options before you make a decision and act.

Filed under: Sales 3.0

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