Best Tools to Improve Your Ability to Sell


All too often, data, both current and historical, is ignored when it comes to making informed decisions. Companies are challenged with minimal growth rates and slim margins, so why isn’t data flying off their warehouse shelves for quantitative analysis in their decision-making processes?

Too deep, this early in the morning? Okay, here’s a lighter approach.

I recently had the opportunity to address a class of MBA students on the topic of “Modeling and Simulation”. These are, admittedly, spreadsheet geeks charged with building basic modeling techniques to improve business outcomes.

First question: what am I doing here? Second question: how can I add value to these critical thinking processes?

I decided to present a Strategic Selling perspective to Modeling and Simulation.

In Strategic Selling, defect or failure results not from what you know, but about what you don’t know. The Titanic was not sunk by what they knew or could see. It was sunk by what they didn’t know or couldn’t see. So, it is of critical importance that we build diagnostic tools or “models” to help us discover what we don’t know about an opportunity or a client relationship.

Three Critical Diagnostic Models to Win

  • Opportunity Diagnostic – What do we know about our client to determine if our services are a good “fit” or can add value to this relationship?

  • Do we have the right information and are we positioned to win?

  • Do we understand the critical concerns and objectives by decision-maker?

  • Do we understand the decision process? Decision criteria?

  • Do we understand the political alignment and how that may affect a decision?

  • What is the driving force behind making this decision?

  • Is it worth our investment?

  • Client Relationship Diagnostic – What can I expect from this client relationship?

  • What can we expect from this relationship?

  • Will we be in a competitive relationship?

  • Will the client accept us as a trusted advisor or strategic partner?

  • Client Risk Diagnostic – How can we measure a client relationship?

  • What is the depth of our relationship?

  • Is each contact loyal to the relationship and willing to refer us to others?

  • Are our goals and activities aligned to ensure success?

  • Do we track leading indicators and develop appropriate action plans to sustain the relationship?

The days of winning for the pure sake of winning are long gone. Yes, Strategic Selling is about winning, but we want, we need Good deals with sustainable revenue and profit opportunities. As quality sales people, we are responsible for bringing in the business, keeping people employed and improving business results – both for our company and for our client.

At Butler Street we use and teach how diagnostic tools and structured data models to help companies determine two critical go-forward sales decisions:

  • Can we win?

  • Is it worth winning?

Let’s start a dialogue.

BTW, Professor Joe, PhD. invited me back!

Related: The Insider, Lessons Learned from the Tortoise and the Hare

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