ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

The Sales Game: 10 Lessons for Winning & Losing

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Dec 21, 2022

It has been almost a month ago, but real fans will remember. It was a game for 45 minutes and then it wasn’t. I am talking about the Michigan, Ohio State rivalry football game played November 26, 2022.  Up for grabs was the Big Ten Football Championship Game and a shot at being in the NCAA football playoffs.

As I watched the game, I thought about all those sales opportunities that were close to being won for 45 days and then, they weren't. Up for grabs was a sale that would make hitting goal ‘easier’ and a chance to be identified with the other top salespeople in the organization.

Here are the 10 key lessons to take from this game and apply to your life or the lives of your sales team as you / they pursue wining sales opportunities.

  1. Follow the game plan.  Obviously, this requires that you and or your sales team have a milestone-centric sales process in place AND you have processes in place to manage execution of the sales process.
  2. Don’t panic. Things will go wrong.  
  • The prospect won’t always be completely honest with you about pricing, the competition, the budget, decision makers, timeline, commitment to take action or the decision-making process.
  • Your backroom may not be able to underwrite / approve / support this type of sale in the fashion to which they are accustomed.
  • The competitor may undercut your pricing or make other concessions to keep the business.
  1. Make sure you coach or get coaching every step of the way. It DOES NOT matter how many years you’ve been in the business. Great salespeople become great salespeople because they consistently hone their skills (practice) and they understand there are things that they don’t know.
  2. Be patient. You are not in control of the timing of the prospect’s process. You can do your best to influence timing by asking questions about the value of acting or the potential cost of waiting but, be patient and stick to your plan.
  3. Don’t be afraid, GO FOR IT! Get to decision makers, ask about budget, find out if the prospect will in fact leave their current provider if you solve their problem and /or provide a better solution.
  4. Keep track of everything. There isn’t anything that happened in the OSU / Michigan game (any competitive game) that isn’t tracked.  The information / data you get helps you make better decisions within the overall framework of your sales process. Pre and post call planning and weekly huddles are effective tracking strategies.
  5. Stay clinically detached. This is easier to do when you have a plan. Remember SW3N.  Some will, some won’t, so what, NEXT!
  6. Avoid feeling pressure to ‘score’ or win every sale by having a consistently full pipeline of opportunities.
  7. 9. Be discerning as to what you listen to from others. (The announcers were commenting early in in the game on how Michigan couldn’t win if they didn’t establish the ground game.)  Michigan threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to go ahead 17-13).  Lesson, take what the prospect gives you vs trying to force your game plan. Eventually MI did establish the ground game – stuck to game plan – and ou trushed OSU 252 yards to 143 yards.
  8. Be better than your competition.

You may not win every sale. But you have to be in the game every time you decide to move forward in your sales process AND it is critical that you have GREAT confidence that you will win BEFORE you present your solution.  In other words, reviewing your game plan score card, you must have a 75% chance of winning before you present your solution. Anything less than that will make you vulnerable to think it overs, second guessing by the prospect, price adjustments by the competitor and loss of momentum by the buyer. 

Topics: Effort in Sales, Closing business, How to Sell, How to be successful in sales

Election Day 2008 - 5 Votes for Better Sales Success

Posted by Traci Powers on Tue, Nov 04, 2008

It is Election Day and arguably the single most important Presidential Election of our lifetime. In the spirit of making decisions that make a difference, here are 5 decisions to make that will impact your sales success:

  1. Vote to have clear and extra-ordinary goals. There is something inspiring about having goals and making them extra-ordinary. As Walt Disney said, ‘dream the big dream, there is nothing in small dreams that stir the blood.'
  2. Vote to be a leader within your peer group and be the dominate player in your market. Too many times I hear, ‘we are not the dominate player in our market'. So, what does that have to do with you deciding that you will be the dominant player in your market place? All of you have the product selection, the support and the resources to be the dominant player. Vote for yourself to be that kind of player.
  3. Vote to get decisions from prospects. In other words, get them to vote. Today you can't go to the polls and say, ‘let me think about it'. No, all the thinking has been done. Today you take action and decision making takes place. You can do the same thing with prospects. Ask them to do all of their thinking before you show up so that they are armed with questions, you are prepared to answer them and when done, people can decide. Yes or no is ok, but vote.
  4. Vote for prospecting. You have to understand that you can't get people to choose you unless you are out their campaigning for yourself. Establish your brand by getting into the market. Let people know who you are even if you don't get the appointment. If you call them and let them know who you are the first time, then the second call gets easier.
  5. Vote to qualify who you will work with. Not everyone is someone that fits your vision, mission and goals. Not everyone in the market place qualifies to pick you as someone they want to work with or represent them. You can't approach the market place hoping that you can serve all the people all of the time, it just isn't going to happen. Decide who you are best suited to represent and then do that to the best of your ability.

Thanks for listening to my stump speech today.  Go VOTE!

Topics: Prospecting, Selling, Sales, sales techniques, How to Sell, How to Increase Sales, increase sales


    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Follow #ACTG


    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


    Recent Blogs