Cool heads prevail: Tame the never-ending pressure of sales

Posted by Alicia Shevetone on Sep 19, 2019 4:15:00 AM
Alicia Shevetone
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Generally speaking, as a seller to a seller, we know that big sales opportunities are both a blessing and a curse. While they offer the opportunity for “quota busting” years, they also carry a heavy spotlight and the pressure that comes along with it. This pressure churns our emotions, generating angst in even the most tenured sales pros. How do you deal with the stress?

StressOne of my favorite movies is Ocean’s Eleven. In it, there’s a great scene where Brad Pitt’s character is mentoring a group of actors in the game of poker. In his marquee line, he shrewdly cautions, “Leave emotion at the door.” Over the years, this line has become my personal sales mantra and the number one thing I impart on my sales team.

However, we cannot stop there. Maintaining a steely demeanor is important; but, is it possible to quiet the inner panic that is smoldering beneath each large sales opportunity?

The answer is YES!

All you need is a plan. I’m not talking about an account plan or a strategic plan. Sure, those are helpful, and you should have them. Instead, I’m referring to an even simpler plan which summarizes two things: who you’re dealing with and what they care about.

  1. If you understand who you’re dealing with, you can identify how they are wired. Do you have a relationship with the buyer? Do they recognize you as a relationship? Note: Just knowing their kids’ names doesn’t mean you have a relationship.
  2. If you understand what your buyer(s) care about, you can deduce their motivations. Do they view what you sell as a commodity, or as a solution that is integral to how they serve their clients?

If you identify these two key pieces of information, your panic should inherently morph into strategy as you authentically plan how to respond to your buyer(s) and their needs.

Seem oversimplified? Here is an example: Recently, I had a large deal on the table with a prospective client who insisted that my bundled solution was exactly what she needed. Just before executing our SOW, she stopped the process cold and mandated a price reduction. Yikes! Instead of panicking, I resisted the temptation to overact and focused on who I was dealing with. I reviewed my notes and re-read the documented instances in which we had jointly calculated and acknowledged the benefit I would bring to the buyer’s organization. I knew I had to hold my ground. I responded confidently that I’d be happy to lower the price but would need to shave off two services I knew were essential to her ROI. After a lot of emotion on her end, she agreed to the original price and we moved past it.

Cooler heads do prevail! Knowing who you’re dealing with and what they care about will generate the self-assurance you need to maintain your strategic position, serve your employer’s best interests, and close with confidence.

At Holden Advisors, we categorize buyers into four distinct types. Use the button below to learn more.

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Topics: Negotiating with Backbone, value selling