Sales Chess Versus Sales Checkers
What’s the difference between chess and checkers? Checkers is basically a game of reaction. Your opponent makes a move, and you react in the best way that you know how. Chess players on the other hand, plan their moves way ahead of time. The best chess players will already know what options are open to them eleven or even twelve moves ahead of time. They think ahead about every possible contingency, and plan accordingly.
Successful complex sales professionals are like chess players, not checkers players. They think ahead and plan for every possible event that could occur during the sales process. They never simply react, because they are never surprised. Before even sitting down with a client, they have imagined all of the potential scenarios that could play out and have a course of action planned for each of them.
As a sales professional striving to be the best that you can be, you always need to be mindful of two types of strategies: General Strategy, and Specific Strategy.
You need to have a broad strategic plan for your sales territory. The first step to forming this strategy will be to ask yourself what type of sales professional you would like to be. Is it important to you to be at the top of your organization? How much money do want to make each month? Once, the answers to these questions have been made clear, you will be better equipped to develop a coherent sales plan that addresses these concerns.
You now know what you want, but you still need to figure out how to get there. What types of activities are you taking part in that are helping you to achieve your goals? What types are not? Examine every sales habit that you have developed, and open it up to scrutiny. If you are great at cold calling, keep doing what you are doing. However, if your initial meetings usually go poorly, resulting in a low conversion rate, working on this aspect of your process should be a major part of your general strategy.
Having a general strategy is essential, but it should not be so rigid as to become inflexible. You should be able to adjust your strategy to meet the specific challenges of each client. No two sales deals will happen in the exact same way, so you need to be able to think on your feet. Always try to imagine every possible path that a deal could take, and have an explicit plan mapped out ahead of time for each one. This way you will never be surprised.
When it comes down to it, the most important element of any sales strategy, short or long term, is preparedness. The more thoroughly you are prepared for each sales cycle and each deal, the better you will perform. The best way to do this is by continually educating yourself on proper sales methodology. You should always be looking to improve your methods by picking up tips from experienced sales professionals, reading books, and consulting online guides created by top sales experts.
What General and Specific Strategies do you incorporate in your Sales Plan?
This post was inspired by a podcast we did on Sales strategy and process How to close more sales using a strategic approach
Mike & Joe