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Managing Your Major Sales - 7 Steps That Could Change The Way You Pursue Business


Ever lost a sale you thought was in the bag? Not an unfamiliar feeling for many businesses large and small. No matter how good you think your product or service is, everything finally boils down to your ability to convince others that it is good for them. It is all about getting the decision makers who matter to say "Yes".

In major sales the whole approach is fundamentally different to small scale selling and requires a very different set of skills and techniques. Being competent in the small, simple sale is no guarantee of success in larger scale selling. The traditional techniques and "tricks of the trade" such as closing don't seem to work in quite the same way in the more complex large scale sale. They are replaced by precise planning, information gathering and behavioral skills that build trust in the minds of the decision makers. Fundamental to this is the development of a detailed understanding of how decisions are made in your target customer and who the key players are.

So what constitutes a major sale? For most businesses they have a number of characteristics:

1. A lengthy sales cycle. This can vary from a few days to a few months or more depending on the industry.

2. Multiple decision makers. Any decision becomes complex as soon as more than one person is involved in making it. Understanding who these people are and their role in the process is vital if you are to improve your chances of success.

3. High potential value/importance. This varies from business to business. If your turnover is £250k an opportunity worth £10k might be considered very important. If your turnover is £50m it might not.

4. Time consuming and costly to pursue. If the business is worth winning it is worth investing the time, money and effort that is required. However, because major sales can be time consuming and costly it is vital to identify those opportunities that are worth pursuing i.e. those that you have a chance of winning. If you adopt the lottery ticket approach and pursue every opportunity you will simply dilute your resources to the extent that you don't have enough left to win the business you really want.

5. Competition. The sale immediately becomes more complicated when the buying organization has a number of options. For example, in a bid/proposal scenario you could be up against a number of competitors. How you go about managing the sale can have a huge effect on the potential outcome. Additionally, never forget the hidden competitor - the "do nothing" option for the customer/client.

It is clear that in major sales there is a need for a simple, structured approach that maximizes your chances of success. By their very nature major sales are too important to be left to chance. Despite this very few businesses seem to have a robust approach in place and every new opportunity is greeted either with unfounded optimism or utter panic.

So what is required?

Step 1: Before you even begin it is important that you decide whether the opportunity is worth pursuing or not. If you haven't already got selection criteria in place to help you to decide don't delay any further. Get your key colleagues together and agree what the selection criteria should be. If you want a generic "Go/No Go" checklist visit our website at www.fieldofdreams.uk.com where you can download one for free. You should then tailor this so that it reflects your business and its' unique requirements.

Step 2: Identify the people in your target customer who are going to influence/make the decision and ensure you have the right people (skills and personalities) to deal with them. It would be helpful at this stage to have unlimited talent available but I accept that this is most unlikely! However, you should ask yourself "Do I have the team in place that can realistically be expected to win this piece of business?" If the answer is "No" you should revue your decision to pursue the opportunity.

Step 3: The Customer Contact Meetings. There are three activities that are encompassed within the Customer Contact Meetings:

i. Covering the Bases - this is all about ensuring you have identified all the people at your target customer who are going to have an input into the decision and then ensuring they are contacted by an appropriate member of your team

ii. Understanding customer needs - ok, I know this is obvious and no-one would seriously try to sell anything without understanding their customer's needs would they? At this stage it is vital to recognize that there are two groups of needs that should be understood and addressed:

a) The corporate need. This is the detailed understanding of the business needs that require addressing and how they can be best approached.

b) Personal needs. "Businesses don't make decisions - people do". What are the personal needs of the individuals that make up the decision-making team? Understanding and addressing these can be crucial in coming up with a winning proposal.

iii. Testing out potential solutions/propositions. Assuming the process includes a formal proposal document and/or a presentation, there is a temptation to store up your solutions/propositions in order to deliver an exciting proposal. This is the "rabbit out of the hat" approach. It is based on the assumption that the decision making team will be somehow impressed by all of this and that it will provide you with some sort of advantage over the competition. All too often it has precisely the opposite effect, with solutions presented that are simply unacceptable, or that have already been looked at and ruled out.

Given that this is likely to be the case, it is increasingly important that we constantly consider and discuss potential solutions with the customer/client. In this way we will be able to develop and hone our overall proposition to address the real needs, rather than those we have assumed exist. Additionally, it allows us to demonstrate our competence on an on-going basis.

Step 4: Your Proposal. You've done your Customer Contact Meetings. Now make sure that your proposal reflects the needs that your client expressed during those meetings and the solutions you have tested with them. Don't let it read like a solution you just picked off the shelf. The proposal should clearly demonstrate that:

   a. you have understood the key issues that the business faces

   b. you have clear solutions as to how those issues can be addressed

   c. you can demonstrate the benefits the target will enjoy as a result of your solutions

   d. you can demonstrate your competence in these areas

   e. Be concise. If you're in a competitive situation and you turn in a short proposal, that's the one that's likely to be read first, which means that all others will be judged against it.

Step 5: The Presentation. Some major sales culminate with a proposal and/or a presentation. Whilst this article is not about presentations per se, you will not need reminding that some people would rather die than give a presentation. These are not the best people to choose to present your proposal. I take the view that in many situations the decision as to who is getting the business has often been made by the time the presentation arises. Under these circumstances the presentation becomes not the opportunity to win the business but the opportunity to lose it. The three key rules for effective presentations are - rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If you are not comfortable presenting you may need help - go and get some! You cannot afford to fail at this late stage.

Step 6: The Follow Up: Once you have presented your proposal document and/or your presentation the question is "What next?" You could sit back, congratulate yourself on a job well done and hope for the best. A more proactive approach is usually the best. Someone should contact the customer and make sure they have everything they need in order to be able to make an informed decision.

Step 7: Process Review: Win or lose, it is important that lessons are learned from the experience. The whole team should get together for a de-brief as well as an appointment being made with the target customer to understand how well/badly you performed in key areas. Why did you win/lose the business? What were the key issues? What did our competitors do that we didn't? What could we do better next time? Ideally, put together a question checklist of the things it would be helpful for you to know and develop this list over time. Success is a continuous process of learning - this is a good opportunity.

Winning new business is the lifeblood of any B2B organization and yet many simply do not give this absolutely fundamental area of their business sufficient thought and consideration. Business winning skill is critical to a company's on-going success. If the skills and processes are not in place in your business you could pay the ultimate price.


Todays News by officejax free advertising and ad exchange solutionsMORE RESOURCES updated Thu. November / 21 / 2019
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Baking soda for constipation: Does it work?  Medical News Today

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Home Remedies: Essential Oils for Tired Legs : Opinion  University Herald

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This Ayurvedic home remedy is excellent to treat dry cough  Times of India

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Do Home Remedies Actually Work for Yeast Infections?  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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Tired of Dandruff? 5 Natural, Home Remedies to Dust the Flakes Away  The Better India

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Best home remedies for a sore throat  Times of India

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These home remedies will help you erase bad breath  Pulse Nigeria

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7 Best Home Remedies to Soothe Itchy Skin - How to Relieve Itching  Prevention.com

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The Best At-Home Remedies For Dry & Chapped Lips  Bustle

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Antibiotic Awareness Week: 6 Side-Effects Of Overuse Of Antibiotics And Home Remedies By Rujuta Diwekar That Can Be As Effective  NDTV News

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Ask the Doc: Common Cold? Home Remedies That Help!  Georgia Voice

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Flaky eyebrows: Here are 7 natural ways to get rid of brows dandruff  Times of India

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Empowering Winter Health: At-Home Remedies to Support Your Clinical Care  Acupuncture Today

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What causes a stuffy nose and how to clear it out fast  INSIDER

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Get a glowing skin with these amazing home remedies  TheHealthSite

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World Diabetes Day 2019: Control Your Blood Sugar Levels Naturally With These Effective Home Remedies  NDTV News

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What causes wheezing? Know about its signs, treatment and home remedies to help ease your breathing  Times Now

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6 Home Remedies for Cystic Acne That Work  YouBeauty

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Natural treatments for fibroids: Diet, herbal remedies, and lifestyle  Medical News Today

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Knee Pain: Try THESE home remedies to treat this health problem  PINKVILLA

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3 Home Remedies For Boil  Guardian

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STAWAR COLUMN: A mist of humidity | Opinion  Evening News and Tribune

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How to use a neti pot and whether it's safe, according to doctors  Business Insider

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Struggling with cough and cold? Try THESE home remedies for immediate relief  PINKVILLA

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Food Poisoning: Easy and effective home remedies to help cure it - Republic World  Republic World

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Suffering from insomnia? Symptoms, causes, prevention & home remedies to help tackle this issue  Times Now

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Top ten home remedies passed down through the generations  Wales Online

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Follow these easy home remedies to clean glass utensils  News Track English

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8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Stinky Dog Breath  Petside

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Itching after a shower: Causes and remedies  Medical News Today

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Fact or fiction? We're putting Grandma's remedies to the test  KENS5.com

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Beat smog the healthy way: Rujuta Diwekar's quick-fix remedies to boost immunity  Economic Times

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Follow these home remedies to prevent chopped fruits from deteriorating  News Track English

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World Pneumonia Day 2019: 4 Quick And Effective Home Remedies To Get Relief From Pneumonia Symptoms  Doctor NDTV

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Natural Easy-To-Find Home Remedies for Treating Hair Loss  DA MAN Magazine

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Dengue in Caribbean: How to treat the fever with home remedies?  WIC News

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Facial treatment: Home remedies and what to avoid after getting a facial done - Republic World  Republic World

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Hair Care Tips: THESE home remedies can help you treat winter hair problems  PINKVILLA

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Best Mole Removal Method Available on Amazon Now  INQUIRER.net

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Sinusitis: Is Change Of Weather Worsening Sinus Symptoms? Try These Home Remedies For Quick Relief  Doctor NDTV

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What causes dry mouth? Prevention, treatment and 8 home remedies to ease the symptoms  Times Now

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What is Gingivitis? Know about causes, symptoms and home remedies to fix the gum disease  Times Now

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These home remedies can control diabetes, will definitely improve your health  News Track English

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Diwali 2019: Home remedies for burns  TheHealthSite

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Home remedies for chest congestion: How to get rid of mucus with ginger, honey and other natural products  Times Now

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Cold and cough DIY remedies to try this season  The Statesman

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Constipation in children: Home remedies to cure digestive disorder condition  Times Now

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We Ask a Derm: Can You Use Rice Water for Hair Growth?  Yahoo Lifestyle

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How to remove blackheads naturally: Causes, prevention, home remedies to treat the condition once and for all  Times Now

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Skincare problem before your big day? Try THESE home remedies to treat it before your wedding  PINKVILLA

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New study finds traditional broth may have antimalarial properties  SBS

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Dealing with arthritis pain? 4 medicine-free ways to keep moving  Times of India

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How to stop snoring naturally: 11 home remedies for sleep without snores  Times Now

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Home remedies to help ease treatment side-effects  TheHealthSite

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Jagran New Media launches two new Amazon Alexa Skills in Hindi  afaqs

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Hair Care: Here's how you can combat hair odour and get rid of the smell  PINKVILLA

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How To Harness The Placebo Effect When You Have A Cold  Lifehacker Australia

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What causes hiccups: Doctors find link to brain development  Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Suffering from dry eye syndrome? Causes, treatment and home remedies to ease the symptoms of dry eyes  Times Now

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Home remedies to avoid, cure neck pain - Yoga asanas, exercises a big help  Times Now

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Why does anaemia recur? Here are 5 effective natural home remedies to treat the condition once and for all  Times Now

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Why deworming is important: Home remedies to get rid of intestinal worms  Times Now

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Home remedies for muscle cramps  WTOP

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6 best home remedies for lice  Medical News Today

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10 Home Remedies Proven To Get Rid Of A Cough Naturally  Version Weekly

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15 Home Remedies for Oily Skin  Greatist

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Home remedies for heat rash: 12 natural methods  Medical News Today

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4 natural ways to treat an itchy scalp at home  Pulse Live Kenya

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Home remedies for kidney infection: Safety and effectiveness  Medical News Today

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Shaking meditation: The easiest way to release stress in five minutes  Times of India

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Pregnancy acne: Treatments and home remedies  Medical News Today

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Natural home remedies for bad breath  Medical News Today

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10 Natural Remedies for Sore Throat — How to Cure a Sore Throat Fast  GoodHousekeeping.com

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How to get rid of pimples fast: Home remedies and prevention  Medical News Today

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How to get rid of a blister: 5 natural home remedies  Medical News Today

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The best home remedies for cold and flu  Medical News Today

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7 Home Remedies for Sinus Infection Symptoms  Shape Magazine

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11 effective home remedies for arthritis  Medical News Today

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Try 7 All-Natural Home Remedies For Fat Loss  Version Weekly

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