The other week I attended a Leadership Conference and one of the speakers mentioned that “not every win needs to be a big win” which got me thinking about a client I helped recently.
The problem this client had, or rather the problem their sales team had, was they were always looking for the big win – in fact they were only looking for the big win.
This particular customer thought that success was purely measured in terms of closing a deal.
In sales, anything that progresses you towards your ultimate goal of closing a deal or delivering more value to your customer is a success.
In sales, you have have to work hard, climb many hills, jump many hurdles and face many rejections.
This is never more true than when cold calling or selling via the phone as this client was doing.
Yes, ultimately success is getting hold of the business decision maker and agreeing with them to buy your solution, but if that’s your only measurement of success, you are going to have a hugely disappointing career in sales, not to mention, a very short one.
Listening to my clients Sales team, I realised this was a problem for them – they would make a call, fail to get past the gatekeeper, fail to speak with the key decision maker and consequently fail to close the deal.
Since this was their only success metric, they were starting to get dispirited and lose faith as they thought they weren’t being successful.
In fact, they were being much more successful than they thought they were because they were measuring success wrong and in the process missing vital information that would help them deliver that success.
Selling is sometimes like a jigsaw puzzle; success comes gradually by collecting all the right pieces, working out how they all fit together to deliver the ultimate goal.
And like a jigsaw puzzle, it takes planning, strategy and tactics – what vital piece of information am I missing, where can I find that and how will it help me?
Once I explained that they were not recognizing or recording vital sales intelligence from each call, nor applying that sales intelligence correctly to achieve their desired outcome, the mood, and the results improved dramatically.
“Yes, you didn’t get past the gatekeeper, but you did learn their name”
“Yes, you didn’t get to speak to the key decision maker, but you did learn they don’t work Tuesdays”
Gathering and recording sales intelligence like this is the life blood of selling as it allows you to plan your next approach with that client.
What information am I still missing?
How will I use the sales intelligence I have gathered so far to progress this deal?
What do I want the outcome of this next call to be?
Every engagement with a client is a success if planned and approached in the right way so don’t be too tough on yourself and don’t make it too difficult by only going for the big win!