[Posted by Mike Scher July 27, 2015]

In the B2B selling world, there are a lot of behaviors that separate great sales people from the rest of the world.

Of course there is work ethic, some natural abilities, etc.; but I have noticed one attribute that stands out.

“Most sales people think they are winning a deal, up until the time they lose. Great sales people always think they are losing up until the time they win.”

Exceptional sellers are always looking around the corner for that next ‘gotcha’.   When it comes to their deals, they are painfully honest with themselves and looking for holes in their sales pursuit and their strategy.   In order to win a deal, they know 4 elements have to come together:

  1. There is someone in the account who wants us to win the deal.
  2. That ‘someone’ told us they want us to win.
  3. That ‘someone’ shares our vision for how to address a need / solve a problem.
  4. That ‘someone’ has the political clout to help us win.

Great sellers are paranoid. If any of these 4 elements above are not validated, they assume they are losing and the deal is in jeopardy. So what do they do? Answer: What all great competitors do; they go back to the fundamentals.   I call this the ‘fundamentals of genuine understanding’.

  1. Develop a genuine understanding of the business problem – successful sellers are always validating the business problem. They know it is equally important that the prospect also understands the problem in the same manner. Every so called ‘business problem’ ties to some larger initiative.   Great sellers identify and link to the biggest business problem.
  2. Develop a genuine understanding of who (within the account) cares about the business problem. Bigger business problems are typically initiated by senior executives.   Great sellers find out who is driving these big initiatives . . . and more importantly . . . why.
  3. Develop a genuine understanding of the impact of the business problem. Great sales people know what it means for the client company and the individual stakeholders as well.
  4. Develop a genuine understanding of the prospects’ next best alternatives. If they don’t go with your solution to solve the problem – know what other options are available to the prospect.
  5. Develop a genuine understanding of the client decision, budgeting, approval and buying processes. Time kills deals.   Every deal has competition and every organization has a finite attention span.   Even when no traditional competitors are present, the risk of no decision is omnipresent.   Exceptional sellers know that; no decision is ALWAYS an option. Knowing the process will help you get the deal done before internal and external competition seeps in.

It is never too late to apply these principles.   You probably have some deals in progress right now.   Start with the ones you feel really good about. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you and your prospect both have a genuine understanding of the information above.   If the answer to all five isn’t a yes; then I have bad news for you. You are losing!

The bright side is you are now on your way from being a good seller to a great seller.

Happy Selling!