I had a great week and hope you did too. Unfortunately, I have several clients who did NOT. Why? They lost sales they thought they had in the bag. Two weeks ago, one salesperson even told me how they planned to spend the commission. So, what happened?

While the circumstances were slightly different, the theme was the same; none of these salespeople lost the order because of price, but because they missed an important piece of information. They hadn't asked enough of the right questions. They didn't feel the need or failed to dig down deep enough and missed a critical fact.

This isn't to say that all clients are completely honest and forthcoming...some will mis-lead a salesperson or outright lie about something...but in these cases, the salespeople had just failed to recognize the "red flags." They didn't see their sale going sideways till it was too late to do anything.

I promised not to give specific examples so as to not embarrass these people, but at the root of the problem was the fact that they had lost sight of a very important sales axiom; understand the SINGLE SALES OBJECTIVE.

For those of you not familiar with "Strategic Selling", the single sales objective should be the focus of all client meetings. It answers the question, "What specifically are you trying to make happen that you don't have now?" To quote from the book, "...many sales representatives are unsure of what they're supposed to be accomplishing."

Customers will typically have a single sales objective, even if it is related to a large project. In order to truly understand the customer's single sales objective, the salesperson needs to be able to get the answer to four basic questions.

1. Who?

2. How much?

3. What?

4. By when?

This week let's look at the "WHO" of the sale.

To whom are you selling? Are they the user? Are they just collecting information? Are they the only decision maker? Are they employees or some other outside influencer? Are their others? Do you know who "they" are? Will you get the opportunity to speak and present to them? Will your competition? Are you positioned with the right people and if not, do you know how to reach them?

Do you know who has the ultimate decision-making authority...the "economic buyer." Is your competition already working with them?

Failure to know the "who" of the sale has caused many salespeople to do a lot of work for nothing...or worse; for their competitor.

Next month...How much?