As we start a brand new year, I think it is important we pause, take time for reflection and try to make sense of our lives. A key reflection for me in life and in business is the following:
It’s not the pursuit of happiness. It’s the happiness of pursuit.
I first read this statement in a book by Mary B. Lucas, Lunch Meat and Life Lessons where her father, an owner of a butcher shop, dispensed this type of wisdom whenever Mary needed advice.
I loved the twist on the statement and I couldn’t agree more.
It IS the happiness of pursuit! It is the thrill of the chase! Especially when it comes to hunting big deals in sales. Every single big deal win starts with little wins and a structured, repeatable methodology. Eventually, if you are winning the little wins, winning the BIG DEAL win should never come as a surprise.
Here are ten keys to leverage the happiness of pursuit and win those big deals:
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Doing your research on your prospect’s company and the people you will be meeting with will dramatically reduce the variability of your meeting. A prepared, confident sales person is a less-stressed sales person. You never get a second chance to make a first impression
Secure meetings with the key decision maker(s) (KDM) and influencers (KDI). Too many sales people waste time on the wrong people. Your time is valuable and it is extremely important that you qualify who the KDM/KDIs are and how you can gain access to them. This is a key win for you along the way.
Gain a clear understanding of their critical concerns and objectives. Work to identify gap between their actual state and their desired state. Repeat it back to them to make sure of their issues.
Ask great questions. In addition to defining the gap, ask questions around the implication of their current state. Is it negatively impacting revenue? Is it eroding margin or increase expenses? Make sure you also have an understanding of the decision process, decision criteria and project hierarchy. Not asking the tough questions can negatively impact the happiness of pursuit!
Listen to understand, not listen to win. The only way you can solve your customers’ problems is if you actively listen. Actively listening means you are 100% focused on the words and unspoken clues in the conversation. Acknowledge their concerns. Ask clarifying and exploratory questions to ensure you understand.
Define your strategy. Are you on the inside or the outside? If you don’t have a clearly defined strategy, how can you possibly execute? Here is an example of just three of the six strategic selling strategies we recommend:
Inside track: you have a perceived advantage in the eyes of the KDMs due to either past performance or superiority of solutions
Change the Game: because of your diagnostics, you can successfully move the client away from their perception of needs to a new set of needs that your solution can meet
Divide & Conquer: this is the classic “beach head” strategy whereby you work a niche position with a longer term plan to “land and expand”
Don’t sell. Solve problems. There is something to be said about being motivated to make your client’s lives better by solving a problem or helping them improve their business performance. If the happiness of pursuit is being focused on solving your customer’s problems, then you will not have to worry about making your quota!
Monetize. Monetize. Monetize. Make sure you understand fully-loaded costs and how you can impact their current state with either increased revenue, higher productivity, reduced downtime, or reduced costs. Be a consultant.
Socialize your solution. Schedule a pre-final meeting to socialize what you believe is the solution. Make your client part of the solution. Shared diagnosis leads to mutual engagement and accountability.
Win the relationship, not the deal. Things change. People change. Budgets get cut. Things happen. That is the tough thing about sales, you are never psychologically safe. You can do the first eight things on this list and watch your KDM leave for greener pastures. Show your client you are in it for the long haul and that you value the investment they made in the relationship. It will come full circle.
At Butler Street, we understand that winning big deals starts with being the best you can be at every single touchpoint. This is the first step to a higher quality sales career and the happiness of pursuit. Let us show you how we can both help you acquire new multi-million dollar customers as well as cross-sell and expand in your current strategic accounts. Let’s have a conversation.