For many high-performing salespeople, winning is everything! Coming out on top is always the goal and there are no points for second place. They are laser focused on the prize and the title. They keep score, they know where they stand, they feel the deep agony of defeat, and they know the incredible high that comes with each and every victory.
For this highly competitive kind of salesperson, winning is like drinking a Red Bull—it gives them a piercing jolt of energy that pumps their adrenaline and fuels their performance. To clarify, I should note that this focus on winning does not mean they have a “win at all costs” mentality. That is something entirely different.
How do these highly competitive salespeople deal with a complex sales environment and those long sales cycles?
Closing a deal is a definitive win, but in many businesses there isn’t the opportunity to score like that every day, sometimes not even every week. So competitive salespeople find other ways to keep score, other ways to ensure they are consistently winning. Finding ways to measure and document little wins and incremental progress is critical to keep the competitive type of salesperson engaged and moving the sale forward. Bringing a prospect from just-a-lead to done-deal can be a very lengthy journey, requiring discipline, focus, integrity, responsiveness, expertise, commitment, collaboration, and consistent thoughtful engagement. Real-world factors beyond the salesperson’s control often lengthen the sales cycle; finding ways to stay motivated can spell the difference between success and failure.
Here are three areas in which highly competitive salespeople find ways to win during a long sales cycle:
1. They set specific goals for each and every interaction with their prospect.
They go into every conversation knowing the outcome they’d like to achieve and they prepare for each call/meeting to boost the probability they’ll achieve their goal. Examples of clearly-defined, short-term goals include contracting for a second meeting and scheduling it before the first meeting is over, identifying other key decision-influencers who need to be part of the sales process, or uncovering one key challenge that they can help the prospect solve.
2. They measure where they are in the sales process and declare a victory for each phase completed successfully.
As we define the B2B selling process here at The Center for Sales Strategy, there are 7 steps—from finding the prospect to delivering the solution. Salespeople driven by competitive juices notch a victory every time they push the sale forward through the phases. Securing the meeting is a victory and a burst of motivation. Conducting a strong needs analysis and uncovering challenges, obstacles, and opportunities is a win and an adrenalin rush. Designing a comprehensive, customized solution is another win, as is writing or creating a detailed proposal.
3. They are constantly measuring the responsiveness of their prospect.
For instance, when the salesperson sends the prospect an email, does the prospect always respond? Do they reach out to the salesperson on their own, seeking advice or offering additional insight about how to move the deal forward? Are they actively engaged in the sales process and did they do what they said they would do? These are critically important measures during the sales cycle, and because competitive people like to measure, they always know where they stand. This kind of salesperson takes the prospect’s responsiveness personally and deem each instance as a win—or conversely, as a loss when their prospect is unresponsive.
Winning the contract or deal is the ultimate victory, but finding frequent, small victories throughout the sales process is natural for for those fueled by a competitive drive. It’s how they stay engaged, motivated, and driven to push the sale forward—especially during long sales cycles. For this kind of salesperson, winning is indeed everything!