How_Top_Sellers_Keep_WinningGreat sellers repeatedly grill themselves with two questions:

  • How much more time does this opportunity merit?
  • How can I be more certain of my judgment?


Use the Buyer Alignment Guide to create razor-sharp execution.  Protect yourself from hope, the great thief of your valuable time.    


Sales processes are as numerous as stars in the heavens. Here’s what top sellers do, along with some tips for how to emulate them. 



You intend to help a prospect capture opportunity or solve a problem.  You need problems or opportunities that:


  • They’re committed to solving.
  • Your offerings can contribute to solving.
  • Are ready to be pursued now (or very soon with a push from you).


You will ante up some time, but you need evidence that prospect investment isn’t lagging far behind. The best evidence of prospect investment is sponsorship for your efforts.  



A Sponsor has sufficient spend authority to buy your offering.  No spend authority, not a true sponsor. 


Seek a Line-of-Business executive who could benefit from your efforts.  Note: I didn’t say CXO.  Especially in large firms, they are often too hard to reach and seldom necessary.   


Here are two keys to enrolling a Sponsor:  


  1. Align to their primary business drivers.
  2. Show them you’ve got the goods:
  • A solid method of tackling the problem or opportunity analysis.
  • Where their people’s effort will be modest.
  • You won’t disrupt their operation.
  • There are no strings attached. elp make the number.

If your offering includes technology, you probably need an IT leader in the boat, too. 



The “meat” of complex sales is discovery.  If you aren’t doing discovery, you are:


  • Throwing mud at the wall and hoping they pick your clumps.
  • Selling reactively and self-commoditizing. Help make the number.


Prospects can do 60% of the buying process without you.  But that doesn’t mean you should let that happen!  The earlier and often you do sponsored work, the more you:


  • Shape the proposition.
  • Control pace and scope of the effort.
  • Differentiate from competitors.
  • Become seen as a fundamentally lower-risk option.


Discovery targets problems you can help solve, and:


  • Defines the problem accurately.
  • Establishes a current state baseline.
  • Meshes process, people and technology to define an improved scenario.
  • Translates the improved scenario into cash flow impact.
    (Cash flow intimidates many salespeople.  But it’s simple:  either money they don’t spend or additional profits they generate.)



Three words sum up the magic here:  Transfer of Ownership.   


Your customer must:


  • Feel that all data is their own; ditto any assumptions or projections.
  • Believe that cash flow projections are achievable.
  • See that risk factors don’t threaten to drive cash flows below investment threshold.  


How many times have you seen an ROI analysis flop? 


Your deal went into stall mode despite a smokin’ ROI.  What happened?  95% of the time, one of three culprits prevents closing deals:  


  1. Failure to align with primary business drivers.
  • Strong, low-risk impact against low-priority drivers often fail to attract spend.
  • Cash flow impact that’s too small to be worth the time, effort, money and risk.
  • Insufficient control of risk factors.  (Causing fear that cash flow impact might prove too low.)



Map your best selling tactics guided by the Buyer Alignment Guide.  Make sure you’re razor sharp.




Kevin Avery

Challenges clients to design and implement innovative practices.

Prior to SBI, Kevin held leadership positions in sales, marketing, business and channel development in the high tech industry, concentrating in the Contact Center and Collaboration software.

Kevin was an A-Player salesperson who transitioned successfully into leadership. At Cisco Systems, his Enterprise Area sales team drove double-digit growth, with annual bookings exceeding $120MM. As Strategy leader for Cisco’s Contact Center and Collaboration specialist sales groups, he devised, designed and coached a competitive displacement sales program that netted over $125MM bookings with a 90% win rate and zero no-decisions. Kevin’s experience prior to Cisco at Spanlink – a packaged and custom software company and reseller-integrator – began at near-startup stage. Leading the sales team out of the company’s IPO, he grew revenues by 50%, then closed an OEM agreement with a $70M+ lifetime value. When the 2001 tech bubble burst, resulting in dissolving a $130M acquisition, he was instrumental in refitting and relaunching the company.


Read full bio >