Addressing Politics in a Sales Process

“I don’t believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.”
— Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. president

I receive a quote of the day from Brian Tracy and today’s quote is from Ronald Reagan. This is such a perfect sentiment because as I coach deals to help close out the year – the one constant that I hear is that we can do nothing about the politics in our account. Well – by not addressing the politics in the sales cycle you are making a conscious / tactical step to be influenced by them rather than influencing them. That is why it is so vitally important to have a political plan in your opportunity strategy.

If you are like most sales people I coach, your sales process goes like this with each step representing a percentage of the close.

1.      First Call – 10%

2.      Discovery – 25%

3.      Presentation / Demo – 50%

4.      Reference Calls – 75%

5.      Negotiation – 90%

6.      Close – 100%

This process alone simply does not address the politics in an organization. After all – the closer you get to winning, the closer you get to losing in a competitive sale. Rick Page writes in his book – Hope is Not a Strategy, the reason why you simply cannot rely upon where you are in the sales process to accurately predict if you will win is because of a “crucible effect.” Complex Sales go from rational and logical – like the sales steps shown above – to emotional and political – unlike what is accounted for above, in the decision making phase of the sales process.  Better functionality and return on investment is usurped by risk mitigation and personal agendas. We must find how to mitigate the most risk for the people who have the most to lose with our partnership and promote their personal agenda if we want to effect the winds of change.  



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