Land your biggest sale in 2012, Part 3: Size matters

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sterlic

To get big sales, you have to speak with big buyers who have big problems. The outcome of selling big solutions to small buyers and selling big buyers on solving small problems is the same. They don't just say, "No." It's worse than that. They say, "Yes...later."

The language of "Yes...later" can vary. It can sound like:

-- "Let me think about it..."

-- "After the next quarter we should look at this..."

-- "I have to get a few things ready here first..."

-- "I want to do this, I just have to get a few other things off of my plate..."

The bite-size guide to landing your biggest sale in 2012, Part 1
Land your biggest sale in 2012, Part 2: How to pick your target

The result is the same. When there is a mismatch in size between the buyer and the problem, it is either too intimidating a solution to tackle or too small an issue upon which to focus. When you are seeking to sell your record-breaking sale, here are five things to keep in mind.

1. Speak in the buyer's problem language. The language of big problems is the language of time, money and risk. If you are speaking about product features, service guarantees and comparative analysis of your benefit, then be sure to list one-for-one with your competitor.

2. Speak to the right level of buyer. You know you have to go higher to get executive sponsorship for bigger sales. This isn't new. The real issue is that it's not just sponsorship to be delegated to a lower level buyer. You need to stay with the executive sponsor through the entire process to get the sale done. That means focusing on his or her problem and staying on point.

3. Focus on the early outcomes. Real improvements for your customers on bigger sales can be seen in the near-term. They are the currency of first steps and they give your buyers the necessary early results to encourage them and quiet potential detractors. This doesn't mean outrageous claims; it means measurable progress that can be observed early.

4. Show how the change will take less than they fear. Big sales delay and die based upon fear, not for a lack of interest or anticipated benefit. Uncertainty is the grit in the gears of change. Spell out every step and show how you and your company will carry the load.

5. Set the first step as NOW. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Don't sell past the next step in the process. Focus on what is necessary to be understood by you and your buyer from one step to the next. Accomplish the bigger sale one step at a time.

In story telling there is the idea of light and shadow. In sales a similar idea is the idea of big and small. You need to balance big problems with smaller steps to make progress.

Your record-breaking sale means pushing yourself to talk to bigger people about bigger problems, then showing the path for the buyer to see with confidence that each step will be safe, measurable and valuable.