Want To Sell More Effectively? Focus On Them. Here’s What That Means:

It’s about them…part 3 of 7.

Good salespeople quickly realize they can’t bring self centered marketing, storyboards, and ego to the table when selling. It turns prospects off, destroys credibility, and wastes time.

In this series we’ve been discussing the six sales imperatives that keep salespeople and their interactions with clients relevant and meaningful. Last week’s session: ‘It’s not about you’ reminded us that being self centered during initial engagements with our prospect is risky and unproductive. So, if that’s the case…who is it about? It’s about them- the prospect. If you just said the word “Duh” in your head, you’re not alone. It seems so obvious. Of course it’s about them. Well, if that’s the case, why does it get missed so often?

You can have an amazing product, outstanding service, and an unbelievable customer support program and still fail to hit your target. You prepared well, you got the right people around the table, and your sales presentation went amazingly, but you still didn’t make the sale. 


It’s possible you overlooked something. The buyer. There are 4 barriers of buying that must be cleared with every buyer if you are going to secure the sale and retain your customers. It goes without saying that your product or service must meet the needs of the buyer and their organization. As a good salesperson though, you also have to overcome the 4 buying barriers. 

Here they are:

  1. No Trust- The prospect senses that your intentions are selfish. 
  2. No Need- The prospect either doesn’t feel the need to act or doesn’t see any risk in delaying the solution.  
  3. No Help- The prospect has heard about your product or service, but they don’t see how it applies to them.
  4. No Satisfaction- The prospect (or people they know) has made decisions before that ended badly. 

Too often, salespeople don’t take the time and effort to research what the customer wants or needs. They fail to ask questions that uncover the buyer’s position, situation, or true desired state. Frankly, they spend too much time talking about themselves, their company, and how awesome they are, and too little time focused on the actual buyer. Buyers sense this immediately and throw up one of the 4 barriers, killing the deal. 

In order to overcome these barriers salespeople must recognize that our engagements have to be about the buyer. Thoughtful preparation must take place. At each stage of the selling process sellers need to do a check to ensure they have proactively addressed each potential barrier. They have to prepare in a way that makes the buyer feel comfortable, relieving tension that is often felt during the selling process. 

Think about it this way…..to address the 4 obstacles a seller should be thinking about the buyer position this way:

  1. No Trust- The prospect has to believe that you are someone they trust enough to do business with. 
  2. No Need- The prospect has to believe they even have a problem that needs a solution. 
  3. No Help- The prospect has to believe that your product or solution will actually help them accomplish with they’ve been tasked to do. 
  4. No Satisfaction- The prospect has to believe that your solution will not leave them with buyers’ remorse. 

Now, before your next sales call, prep n a way that reduces the likelihood of these barriers from ever coming up. Do the research, do the prep, and put yourself in the buyers shoes. 

At WinSource we teach sellers a methodology that not only shows how to overcome these barriers but to avoid them entirely. The model for our methodology is below. We’d love to show you more. 

Stay tuned for the other 4 sales imperatives. 

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

Sales – It’s Not About You.

Blog 2 of 7 in a series

Last week we discussed the increasing number of sales technologies and the importance of your role as a sales person, despite that. Over the course of the next few weeks we will discuss 6 sales imperatives–things in sales that are so customer-serving that they have withstood the test of time and lasted through many eras of how people buy and sell. When incorporated into the way people sell, these 6 sales imperatives are indispensable in driving success.

Here is the first one:

It’s not about you. 

In the movie Beaches, Bette Midler’s character throws out one of my favorite quotes: “Anyway, that’s enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do YOU think about ME?”

We all know that one person…no matter the topic, no matter the severity of the news, no matter what is intended, they can make it about themselves. It’s super annoying. We know it as soon as we see it or hear it. Generally, when I see someone do that it makes me uncomfortable and makes me question their emotional maturity. 

A huge part of building trust with clients and prospects is building credibility. To build credibility, I use the following model: 


Propriety: Behaving appropriately for your customer’s business and calibrating your behavior to meet their expectations. 

Competence: Demonstrating you can work in your customer’s business with the same care and results that they do. 

Commonality: Sharing ideals, hopes, goals, or history with your customer or prospect. 

Intent: Stating that you are there for a win-win relationship. 

Each of these things should be defined by the customer’s perspective, not ours. The reason for that is simple; at this stage of the game, we haven’t earned the right to make it about us. Showing up to a sales call and immediately launching into who we are, what our company does, and the details of our offer will damage our credibility in the eyes of the person we’re speaking to. Best case, it will make them a little annoyed or uncomfortable. Worst case, they won’t trust you. In either case, it is unlikely they will buy from you. 

Once we begin to realize that at the initial stages of a selling relationship it isn’t about us, it begins to change how we think about call preparation, how we engage, and what we say or do when we arrive. Taking a step back and ensuring that propriety, competence, commonality, and intent are all viewed from the customer’s perspective will ultimately make our prospects more comfortable. It will go a long way in building trust and will increase the odds of making a sale. 

All of the sales training WinSource provides takes a customer-first approach. Doing so leads to more closes, satisfied customers, and longer lasting relationships. If we can help you or your teams with the transformation to a customer-centric sales approach, feel free to reach out to us. 

Stay tuned for the other 5 sales imperatives. 

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

How to Get Your Leaders to Be More Strategic

I work with a lot of mid-level managers and frontline employees who complain that they’re being told to “be more strategic.” Early on in my career, my manager (we’ll call him James) and his boss (we’ll call her Val) clashed over it.

“You’re a Director! You need to be more strategic!” she’d say. 

“I am being strategic. Here’s my strategy,” he’d retort, showing his plan for the upcoming year.  

“That’s too tactical. I need strategy,” Val demanded.

She’d say strategy is the long-term plan and tactic is the short-term initiative. James’ initiatives stretched across the entire year and were well thought out, so he couldn’t understand why Val categorized them as short-term initiatives. Confused and exasperated, he quit. 

Your middle managers could be in the same situation. You need them to think strategically and act tactically. That is tough middle ground to navigate. It becomes our job as leaders to help them through it. 

Let me share how I worked through this issue and give you some tips that you can use in your next coaching sessions with your middle managers.

I started with Google, looking up definitions. Strategy is definedas a plan of action to achieve an overall aim. Tactic is defined as an action carefully planned to achieve a specific end. Butterms like “overall aim” and “specific end” start to blur in practical use. Val wanted James to explain his plan in detail, but by giving specifics he was being tactical.  I don’t know about you, but I read that and think, “Well, that’s confusing. Poor James.” 

Other definitions include things like “strategy takes a 30,000-foot view of the plan, while tactic refers to the action on the ground.” Low-altitude tasks versus high-altitude plans. That’s all well and good for the C-suite, but the closer you get to execution, the harder it is to stand out as a strategic thinker. Your people will wonder: “How can I be strategic from the ground level?”

I made it my mission to figure out a better way to navigate that line. I wanted a clear definition and easy litmus test to know whether I was being tactical, and to help me communicate my plans from a strategic vantage. Here’s an easy, practical way to stand out as a strategic thinker: 

Strategy = The things we choose to do in contrast to other options.

Tactic = The things we must do. 

When your leaders are working in the business every day, the problems and solutions can be so clear that they know exactly what needs to happen. They might be taking a long-term view, being proactive and not reactionary, and aim to impact organizational KPI’s, but when presented to you or other executives, they risk sounding tactical if they promote their ideas as things we must do. 

So, now you’re thinking, “Give me an example I can use to coach my leaders…”

Imagine that you are sitting down with one of your regional leaders, and you ask for their strategy on improving their region’s customer satisfaction rating. They reply with something like: 

“We need to improve customer satisfaction, so we are going to follow up 48 hours after purchase to see if they have questions, share an additional feature or benefit we hadn’t previously discussed, and provide supporting resources they’ll value.”

This sounds like a clear plan of action to achieve an overall aim of improving customer satisfaction. Or are those carefully planned actions to achieve a specific end? They described things we must do. It is more of a tactic than a strategy. Damn, strategy and tactic are confusing! 

Now, imagine you get them to share the plan this way:

“Yes, we need to improve customer satisfaction. I’ve considered investing in implementation and offering more customization, improving the post-purchase experience, and speeding up service recovery timelines when things go wrong. My strategy is to improve the post-purchase 

experience by following up 48 hours after purchase with specific actions to curb natural buyer’s remorse and promote satisfaction with the product and brand. This is the most effective and cost-efficient way to impact customer satisfaction in our region, and it is aligned with our organizational goal of being the supplier of choice.”

Wow, that sounds much more strategic! Hearing that, you’d feel more comfortable that they had weighed out options and that they understood the impacts of any decisions that followed. All we’ve tweaked here is how we’ve defined strategy to them, but it would have a clear impact in how they present ideas back to us. 

Here’s another example:

A training organization at a geographically dispersed company assigned one Training Specialist to each Regional Director. They were to serve as a strategic partner, providing guidance and access to the full library of training resources and scheduling classes. The Regional Director owns the regional strategy. Training Specialists deliver the content aligned to that strategy. The Training Specialists struggled to stand out as strategic thinkers; they were viewed as tactical resources who would respond to whatever the Regional Director needed. That needed to change so they could fulfill their role as a strategic partner.

Through coaching and applying the definitions above, the Training Specialists started creating options to choose from and explaining alternatives that were not on the table. They were able to guide the Regional Directors to the right tactics in a strategic way. Previously, if one of those specialists had heard “We need to reduce injuries,” they may have suggested having an OSHA 10 class. Instead, what the RVP got back was:

“You’re trying to reduce injuries to save costs. We could host internal OSHA 10 classes for each local team, we can send employees to externally-hosted classes, or we could do virtual sessions over the course of three days. The additional travel and cost of external classes won’t offset the costs you are trying to save. Here’s how you’ll get the best ROI…” 

When it comes to communicating the best practices of strategy and tactics and helping your people navigate what you want from them, do the following: 

  1. Share the definitions of each 
  2. Provide examples of how they can weigh options, clearly explain their preferred choice, and outline benefits and risks 
  3. Give them coaching and feedback until they better understand what being more strategic really means; and 
  4. Be patient. 

Your leaders have been wired to identify solutions to tactical problems for a long time. Given a little time and coaching, they will learn the best way to take a higher view of what they are doing… even when they’ve got their feet on the ground level. 

If you’d like to read more blog posts from The Win Source, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!