The winning result is getting the sale, which is easily measured. It’s a contract, a payment, a phone call, etc., that says you’ve won the business. That’s an easy thing to articulate and measure, in any sales situation. The hard part is to be able to visualize and articulate what it looks like when you’re on the path to winning. Knowing when you’re on the right path is more important than knowing what the win looks like because it helps you direct all actions needed to get the win.
Perhaps a sports example will help to clarify my point. In American football the goal is to score points via touchdowns, extra points and field goals. Winning is having more points at the end of the game than your opponent but simply saying to the team “Let’s go out and score more points” doesn’t really say to players what it looks like to be on the path to winning.
Know what it looks like to be winning
If instead, the coach said, “Because they have a great run defense we’re going to win by passing. We’ll win by throwing 50% more yards than we normally do.” With that statement the offense can take the field knowing that their job is to pass a lot. The linemen can start thinking about which blocking schemes are most important; the receivers can begin to study where the opponent’s secondary is weak; and the quarterback can study it all. The glue that holds the team work together is that they all have a vision of what it looks like to be winning.
A business example of what it looks like to be winning could be for the CEO’s inner circle to publicly support your company as the choice for purchase. If getting the inner circle’s public support will lead to a closed sale then your strategy is clear. You need to take actions to convince that inner circle of the benefits in choosing you, so much so that they want to announce it publicly. There is no better sales person than the one who works for your customer.
Have a clear focus on which actions are right
If you’re clear on what it looks like to be winning, having that vision helps keep your daily actions focused on making that vision come true. If we take the example above, then your daily actions need to be focused on what each customer decision maker and influencer needs so they can be convinced that supporting you will be good for their company, their people and their personal wins.
When you start thinking about your daily actions in this way it filters out all the things that you may be asked to do that don’t get you closer to the vision. It gives you a much better foundation from which to smartly choose which actions you’ll apply your valuable time to. Having the vision also enables you to clearly, logically and respectfully say no to directions that don’t contribute to the strategy, even when given to you by superiors.
Stakeholders have a clear vision on the help needed
Let’s return to the American football example. If the whole team knows that increasing passing yards by 50% is what it looks like to be winning, you’ll get players from all positions offering help. Defensive players might identify opponent weaknesses that the offensive players might miss. Linemen may remember something about the weaknesses of the opposition’s line. Running backs may remember that the opponent didn’t cover the swing pass very well. I could go on forever and that’s the point. Clearly articulated strategies spawn ideas.
That said, not all ideas are good and the sales person, who will always know the customer situation the best, must take the role of overseer. In essence the sales person has to take the role of head coach responsible for picking the plays and deciding when they’re used. Great sales people call this fun and take it upon themselves to be able to articulate:
- What it looks like to be winning
- Which actions to take and which not to take
- How stakeholders can help
These are three good indicators that you have a great strategy in place. If you don’t have all these things working for you it would be useful to relook at your strategy. Designing and articulating a good strategy is part of what you’ll learn from The Five Abilities™ selling methodology.
©2013 Rick Wong – The Five Abilities™ LLC