Success Secret # 167: Making This Mistake Can Cost You The Sale!

Criticizing, condemning, and complaining won't help you make your case.  Use good interpersonal skills to build bridges.Barack Obama!

Hillary Rodham Clinton!

The presidential race is dominating our media. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are vigorously vying for our attention and our vote. Regardless of whom you choose to support, there are several sales lessons that we can extract from this presidential race. Here’s one of them.

The campaigns have reached a point where the candidates are starting to point fingers at each other’s real and imagined faults. One of the challenges with finger pointing, however, is that when one finger is pointing at your opposition, there are three fingers pointing back at the source, possibly exposing your own shortcomings.

More importantly, you’re expending energy drawing attention to your opposition instead of focusing on how your solution solves the challenges.

When I was in technology, we actually won several sales because of this mistake. I remember Richard coming back with two systems engineers talking about an opportunity that they had just closed to the tune of $200K. These guys were dancing around like a couple of cavemen who just killed a giant wooly mammoth for the tribe.

When I asked them about the win, they said that it was a tough battle and they described some of the challenges that they faced. But more importantly, only a month before they closed this deal, the client had never heard of us. They had called in one of our competitors to solve a particular problem. The competitor promptly engaged in criticizing us and talking about our shortcomings. This client told us that the competitor talked about us so much that they had to investigate this “other company” themselves. After our first assessment meeting, the client decided to call us back in for a proposal request. They then decided to buy the solution that best solved their issues, which turned out to be our solution.

If you have a product that solves a problem and you have a company that resolves a set of issues, don’t waste your time talking about how the competition can’t step up to the challenge. You’re drawing attention away from yourself and giving attention to your competition. Your prospect may decide to test the competition for themselves and you could lose the opportunity.

Back in 1932, when How To Win Friends And Influence People was first published, Dale Carnegie noted that in order to be successful, one of the things that we needed to do was to stop criticizing, condemning and complaining. We need to focus on solutions, not problems. And in order to make the sale, we need to focus on what we can do and what we want to accomplish, not on the misgivings or the faults of our competitors.

Take a lesson from Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, my former competitors, and Dale Carnegie. Focus on what you do best and less on the shortcomings of your competitors. Eventually, even the competition will promote you.

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