So many times companies, sales people and their sales managers focus to much time on assessing why they lost. Focusing an equal amount of time on why they "win" can sometimes have a bigger payoff. Identifying the elements in play while winning may help you identify them faster in your selling efforts and put you in front of more "winning" opportunities.
A great example surfaced last week while having lunch with the President and Sales Manager of a leading national wholesale distributor serving large retail companies. They are in a business that demands a high degree of expertise in "translating value" with customers that are highly price sensitive. With a national advertising campaign focusing on "low price", you could imagine that there aren't many customers more price driven than Wal-Mart! So the question "how can we win more of our presentations" became a focal point of the discussion.
As we talked, I found out that sometimes they make presentations at the customer location and sometimes the customer comes to their home office. With their input it became clear that they win a higher percentage of the opportunities they bid when they can get the prospect to visit and tour their facilities. The prospect can interface with all of their top people and clearly understand the "value adds" that they bring to the market place. Any questions the prospect might have can be answered by the people in their organization with the greatest level of expertise.
With this information, it became clear that part of the "winning formula" is getting the prospect to their facility. I suggested, "why not require your best prospects to come to your facility for the presentation rather than bringing the presentation to them?" It became clear, through examining why they win, what the strategy needed to be... get the customer/prospect to the home office!
A couple of questions arose...
1. I'm not sure they will be willing to take the time or spend the money for the trip...
2. What if we ask and they refuse to come?
The first question is easy... we'll pay for the trip (I love to spend other peoples money!)
However the second question is the important one. I think the ones that are willing to spend the time to come are clearly demonstrating a strong willingness to do business, or what we like to call "demonstrating preference". For the ones that won't come, I believe they identify themselves as the long shots that may not be worth the time. This is a strategy that puts us in control and will clearly (from history) raise our percentages!
For the ones that say "no" we could always decide to present at their location. But, until we adopt the strategy to get them to our facility and consistently ask for that "preference" we will win a lower percentage of the time. Clearly, this is a strategy that will up the %'s and drive a more competitive position. All it takes is identifying why we win and then creating strategies around those conditions.
Action Step: Do a review of the last five opportunities you have won and see if there aren't some similarities in what occurred. See if you can create a strategy around your success and then implement the strategy!