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Closing The Sale & Strategy

In sales, I'm an amateur in one sense, seeking information and perspective as a painter might seek an understanding of the elements he must master - through application - to manipulate base materials into works of Art.

With that in mind, what is strategy in sales and what does it have to do with closing the sale? - by MitchM
With that in mind, what is strategy in sales and what does it have to do with closing the sale?
The few key factors that determine success in selling are, from a strategic viewpoint, the same few factors that determine success in other things. The word "strategy" is derived from a Greek term that means "thinking like a general". Of course, in selling, the applications are distinct just as they would be distinct in chess, sports, or war. Strategy, in itself, is nonintuitive. It relies on analysis and foresight. The age old principles of strategy could be described as a system for winning without conflict. I think that last point reveals adaptability to sales convincingly.

From a subjective standpoint, knowing and studying strategy, I'm comfortable saying that I'm focused on advancing my position in a sales situation. To do that, I have to be able to assess my position, that of the prospect, and that of the competition.

For me, it begins with that. - by Gary Boye
The few key factors that determine success in selling are, from a strategic viewpoint, the same few factors that determine success in other things. The word "strategy" is derived from a Greek term that means "thinking like a general". Of course, in selling, the applications are distinct just as they would be distinct in chess, sports, or war. Strategy, in itself, is nonintuitive. It relies on analysis and foresight. The age old principles of strategy could be described as a system for winning without conflict. I think that last point reveals adaptability to sales convincingly.

From a subjective standpoint, knowing and studying strategy, I'm comfortable saying that I'm focused on advancing my position in a sales situation. To do that, I have to be able to assess my position, that of the prospect, and that of the competition.

For me, it begins with that.
What I like about your post, Gary, is it's absence of cliche or thumb-nail Keys to Success - those metaphors and phrases which mean something and sometimes profoundly mean something WHEN they have context and to me what you've posted might begin a thread of context.

I believe one of the reasons of failure is lack of context which arises when people take key phrases, cliches and figures-of-speech and act on them as if they are buttons you just push and out comes gold.

What's deceptive sometimes is when people apparently do that - puch the cliche buttons - BUT if you could follow them around - and I've met and learned from some of them - you'd see what's really working behind the scenes which are deeply learned and felt and intuitive contexts - analysis and foresight internalized manifest in action.

If strategy, itself, if nonintuitive and it relies on analysis and foresight, what tools or methods do we use for analysis and foresight to assess the position of the seller in relation to the potential buyer? - by MitchM
You guys are scary...This is WAY over my head. - by RainMaker
If strategy, itself, if nonintuitive and it relies on analysis and foresight, what tools or methods do we use for analysis and foresight to assess the position of the seller in relation to the potential buyer?
Good question--but the wrong question. What I mean is you're asking about the tools and methods to assess the positions but unless you know the factors that will determine your success with regard to the respective positions, it won't do much good.

I'll give you an analogy from chess--and it's not to detract from sales--but it can be helpful.

A lot of people play chess. They own a chessboard or they got one for Christmas--and they have fun playing. Kids play. Kids play their parents, their friends. Like a little war game. Parlor chess. Most people look at the board and they see 64 light and dark squares and neat little men or "horses" or castles. They know that this piece moves this way and a knight moves like an "L" and ya gotta get the other guy's king with your little army of figurines before he gets yours.

But an expert chess player sees none of that. The expert sees dynamics involving 5 things--not little horses and soldiers. He looks at pawn structure, force, time, space, and king safety. His own and his opponent's. And then--after assessing the position--seeks to create an imbalance which would give him an advantage. These are the things that goes through his mind--and they are changed with every single move. He seeks tactics in line with his strategy which is derived from his assessment of those 5 dynamic elements.

Okay--enough chess--don't mean to bore.

A strategic approach to selling relies on assessment of the positions I mentioned earlier with regard to elements (factors) that are the determinants of success. In selling strategy, for instance, Gary Gagliardi has described those elements directly from a translation and interpretation of Sun Tzu's principles of strategy. They, in his words, are philosophy, attitude, market, leadership, and your sales process.

The philosophy part can be confusing. It points to the sharing of your customer's goals. Being in step with with his/her wants and needs. A partnering approach. Recently, somebody on these threads used the expression "going with the flow". That is quite close to what I'm mentioning. - by Gary Boye
You guys are scary...This is WAY over my head.
RM--that's called reverse snobbishness.

Or is it snobbism? - by Gary Boye
RM--that's called reverse snobbishness.

Or is it snobbism?
Tell me if I understand - my question had to do with the little white and black pieces that go this way and that - the tools - which is not relevant until you know the business factors you're dealing with such as the factors in chess real champions see - not just the pieces. Right?

So each selling situation will have different dynamics - factors - which first have to be analyzed and understood for the tools - tactics - to be used effectively in a strategy for victory. Right? - by MitchM
So each selling situation will have different dynamics - factors - which first have to be analyzed and understood for the tools - tactics - to be used effectively in a strategy for victory. Right?
Yes, from a strategic slant on selling, I'd say that's accurate. - by Gary Boye
In sales, I'm an amateur in one sense, seeking information and perspective as a painter might seek an understanding of the elements he must master - through application - to manipulate base materials into works of Art.

With that in mind, what is strategy in sales and what does it have to do with closing the sale?
I view "strategy" as "How do I get there from here."

This might involve determining in advance my desired outcome, my opponents current position, my specific plan of action, my possible actions/reactions and my opponents potential actions/reaction. - by Agent Smith
I view "strategy" as "How do I get there from here."

This might involve determining in advance my desired outcome, my opponents current position, my specific plan of action, my possible actions/reactions and my opponents potential actions/reaction.
What you are describing is known as Calculations, an integral part of strategy. I'm sure you are skilled at it. Of course, everybody calculates--regardless of their knowledge base and skill levels. By itself, calculating is not strategy but a lot of people identify it as such just as many people think planning is synonymous with strategy. - by Gary Boye
What you are describing is known as Calculations, an integral part of strategy. I'm sure you are skilled at it. Of course, everybody calculates--regardless of their knowledge base and skill levels. By itself, calculating is not strategy but a lot of people identify it as such just as many people think planning is synonymous with strategy.
Please help me understand.

If I say to myself, "I'm 'here' and I want to get to 'there' and I'm going to do it by doing 'this,' isn't that strategy? - by Agent Smith
Please help me understand.

If I say to myself, "I'm 'here' and I want to get to 'there' and I'm going to do it by doing 'this,' isn't that strategy?
Not with that example. However, now you're more into the Plan than The Calculations. It's another integral part of strategy but it does not, in itself, define strategy. Strategy is a very worthwhile complex study and the word itself is misused constantly.

If I'm home and I want to go to the pharmacy, and I choose to walk rather than drive--that is not an issue by itself that needs to be examined from a strategic perspective. Can you be more specific? For instance, something about selling that would incorporate the "heres" and "theres". - by Gary Boye
Agent Smith, maybe this will help. It's from a previous discussion which Jeff let me post a while back at: http://www.salespractice.com/forums/showthread.php?t=752&highlight=science+based

You might want to read the thread. Here is part of what I wrote.

Strategy is not:

  • Another way of saying "a plan".
  • Another way of saying "a good idea".
  • Another way of saying "thinking about the future".
  • Another way of saying "a choice".
  • Another way of saying "a decision."
Strategy is:

  • A science based on the laws of human nature.
  • The way you analyze and advance positions.
  • A complete set of well-defined principles.
  • Responses adapted to specific situations.
  • A system for turning problems into opportunities.
  • A process of four steps--listen, aim, move, claim.
- by Gary Boye
Agent Smith, maybe this will help. It's from a previous discussion which Jeff let me post a while back at: http://www.salespractice.com/forums/showthread.php?t=752&highlight=science+based

You might want to read the thread. Here is part of what I wrote.

Strategy is not:

  • Another way of saying "a plan".
  • Another way of saying "a good idea".
  • Another way of saying "thinking about the future".
  • Another way of saying "a choice".
  • Another way of saying "a decision."
Strategy is:

  • A science based on the laws of human nature.
  • The way you analyze and advance positions.
  • A complete set of well-defined principles.
  • Responses adapted to specific situations.
  • A system for turning problems into opportunities.
  • A process of four steps--listen, aim, move, claim.
Human nature is fixed even as technology changes. Analyzing and advancing my position requires that I know where I am, where I want to go, and what I'll encounter. Principles are also fixed which doesn't mean rigid. These principles are used to specifically address individual situations. The system is a set of variables/moves which finds solutions for problems - that's the opportunity. Listening takes in precise information; aiming focuses specifically on needs/wants in relation to specific situations; moving is going into that dynamic exactly as it needs to be addressed for an advancement, for a solution; and claiming is the victory of a job well done.

That's a quick reply, Gary - I gotta get out of town, heading to that toddling town - no time to think about what I just posted but what I'm going to do when I get home is study what you posted and see what happens when I put these things into something specific to what I do - not just a general reply like above. - by MitchM
Can you be more specific? For instance, something about selling that would incorporate the "heres" and "theres".
Let's say that I want to convince a lender to sell a specific property to me at a price lower than he/she has already been offered by other investors.

I've do my homework and find out what the lender "has" to have on the property and in addition I find out that the lender has a dozen distressed units sitting on the books that they "need" to get rid of ASAP so I research those properties too.

My premise for meeting with the lender will not be "I want to buy a home" but rather "I'm an investor and I'd like to meet with you to introduce myself and see what's involved with doing business with you in the future." (This sets the tone.)

When I meet with the lender I'm treated rather kindly because I'm a new money source. (I'm counting on that. ;))

In the course of the conversation I ask questions that amplify the lenders perceived need to liquidate inventory. (I want this lender white hot.)

I also inquire in an off-hand manner about current and future possibilities specifically looking to uncover my target property and distressed units. (We are talking as individuals not buyer and seller because of the premise of my call.)

Once the lender is feeling the burn and the target property has been disclosed I make my move.

In the same off-hand manner I mention to the lender that I could use a property like the one being mentioned, however, I do have a cap of $X (Say 10% below the highest price I would pay) for this "type" of property (Not this "specific" property).

I strengthen my position by informing the lender that my offer is CASH (pulling out my check book) and that I have a Title company in the wings at all times and can close immediately. Negotiations have now started. :)

If we cannot come to an agreement during the course of normal negotiations I do have an ace up my sleeve if I want to use it. The "ace" is the second "distressed property". ;)

I make the lender a offer on the two homes as a "package" but the offer expires when I walk out of the room. I'm a business man, this is a business decision. Fish or cut bait. Either way I don't care.

Of course, I might rekindle the fire of desire by disussing the impact of having distressed properties on the books, monthly outlay for both homes, etc.

Anyway... does that sound like strategy? - by Agent Smith
Anyway... does that sound like strategy?
Yes. I think it is an excellent example which not only includes Calculations and Planning but also several other components including Deception.

Don't be turned off by the term Deception. It is an integral part of strategy and it doesn't mean underhanded.

Particularly important in your example is the fact that, if you completed the deal, it is manifested by preparedness and opportunity and it did not come about determined by only one side.

My favorite part of Sun Tzu's work is his fourth chapter which has a title that varies according to who did the interpretation. I think it was studying that chapter over and over with various translations that inspired me to become a serious student of strategy. - by Gary Boye
Yes. I think it is an excellent example which not only includes Calculations and Planning but also several other components including Deception.

Don't be turned off by the term Deception. It is an integral part of strategy and it doesn't mean underhanded.

Particularly important in your example is the fact that, if you completed the deal, it is manifested by preparedness and opportunity and it did not come about determined by only one side.

My favorite part of Sun Tzu's work is his fourth chapter which has a title that varies according to who did the interpretation. I think it was studying that chapter over and over with various translations that inspired me to become a serious student of strategy.
Thank you for the feedback. I'm off to the bookstore to look for Sun Tzu's, "The Art of War plus The Art of Sales" (Gagliardi). :) - by Agent Smith
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