In sales, it’s very easy to get caught up in the longer-term goal of closing the deal and lose sight of what has to be done next. I like to make the analogy that business/sales is like competitive sports (which it often is). Think about when you played a competitive sport like baseball, tennis, hockey, football. When you were in the middle of a competition, what were you thinking about? If I ask 100 people this very question, I bet 95 of them would say winning. But this is the wrong answer. If you think about winning the match the entire time, you will lose because you are not focused on the next point, play or shot
I think the better question is: What were you focused on? In that case, this group would answer they were focused on executing the play, the point, the ball, the opponent, etc. – everything that ultimately lead to winning a point, or a play, which in turn, lead to those incremental wins, that lead to the big win. If I were to focus on winning the match rather than what lead up to winning a point, I am destined to lose.
Making a sale is the exact same game. If you think about the sale, the sale, the sale, without thinking about your goals, planning your next steps, honing your pitch, your value proposition, your prospect’s Key Performance Indicators (the stats that are most important to him/her), and ultimately doing whatever is necessary for the little wins, the sale will be lost. Both sports and sales are a game of inches. Here are a couple of examples of inches for prospecting and demoing.
Hone my pitch, focus on my numbers, and follow a process. Don’t be afraid to tweak it, and remind yourself that hearing “No” is part of the process. Explore and test new productivity tools to accelerate your process, talk to new titles in your target vertical, become an expert in your vertical, add tweak your objections, rebuttals, etc.
Make sure your prospect is informed on your product, and send them valuable documentation and/or videos. Spend at least 15 minutes of research on the organization before the meeting, and write down several potential objections/rebuttals. Tweak the questions you ask the prospect, tweak the short demo (if they are not the decision maker), or the long demo (if they are the DM). Find new ways to get a second meeting if the prospect doesn’t ask for a proposal.
Now I challenge you to think about your steps and document your prospecting “inches” from the first contact through to the close. Knowing sales, like sports, is a game of inches, what are your inches to win the point, the set, and the match?