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Competitive Sales Strategy

Influencing the Decision to Win the Sale

By Michael Leimbach, PhD, Nancy Frevert

How does a done deal come undone? Your rep had a good relationship with a great contact, the right solution to meet the customer’s needs, and strong buying signals right up to the last meeting. Then came the dreaded call: “Thank you for the proposal, but we’ve decided to go with someone else.” So, what happened? Could this loss have been prevented?

In our experience of looking at thousands of win-loss reviews and talking to salespeople and sales managers, in many cases the salesperson did not have a full picture of how the decision was being made, who was influencing the final decision, and what these influencers thought of your rep.

Equipping your salespeople with the right skills will ensure this kind of thing never happens to your team again. There are three important contributors to sales success: learning as much as possible about the customer’s decision process, ascertaining who is involved, and determining their level of influence.

In the business-to-business world, buying decisions have grown more complex. Multiple departments and multiple people are often involved, and frequently one person can say “yes,” but many people can say “no.” Often, a complex decision and/or one requiring a large investment will require a lengthy decision process with multiple steps and hurdles to jump over. And often, at the end, procurement steps in with more obstacles.

To understand and anticipate the decision process and recognize the players involved means establishing long-term relationships with a range of people who can provide information and answers to key questions. The payoff is to build a foundation of knowledge for an effective competitive strategy.

Multiple departments and multiple people are often involved, and frequently one person can say 'yes,' but many people can say 'no.'

Michael Leimbach, PhD

Michael Leimbach, PhD, is a globally recognized expert in instructional design and leadership development. As Vice President of Global Research and Development for Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc., he has worked with numerous Global 1000 organizations in Australia, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and throughout the United States. Over more than 30 years, Dr. Leimbach had developed Wilson Learning’s diagnostic, learning, and performance improvement capabilities, published over 100 professional articles, coauthored four books, been Editor-in-Chief for the highly acclaimed ADHR research journal, and is a frequent speaker at national and global conferences. He also serves on the ISO Technical Committee (TC232) on Quality Standards for Learning Service Providers and on the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development Dean’s Advisory Board.

Nancy Frevert

Nancy Frevert, Masters International Management, is the Director of Solution Development for Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. For over 15 years, Ms. Frevert has provided leadership for solution creation of both client programs and Wilson Learning brand offerings. She has managed and contributed to a wide variety of global client development initiatives. She leads the development efforts in sales, leadership, and individual effectiveness offerings at Wilson Learning. Ms. Frevert has been critical to the development of Wilson Learning’s approach to learning transfer.