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Land your biggest sale in 2012, Part 5: What to do if it doesn't go as planned

Image courtesy of Flickr user Richard Drdul

It always works, this five-part approach to landing your biggest sale, right? I wish. The fact is that there are no guarantees in selling. However, there are a few things that always help.

Before we proceed, let's review what we've covered so far. Here's a quick summary of the previous posts in this series:

Part 1: Declare that in 2012 you are going to land your record-breaking sale.

Part 2: Create a clear picture of what the target looks like, and the hoops the candidate has to jump through to qualify for the honor of being sold by you.

Part 3: Look at your market, select your targets based upon your criteria, then do your reconnaissance so that you're certain they're perfect for your solution.

Part 4: Take a team and hunt heavy. Make certain that their language, examples, samples and artifacts provide clarity and comfort as to the success potential and ease of implementation.

So, what happens if it doesn't work?

One of the benefits of a road map and a checklist is that you can review each step and determine how good your execution was at each step in the process. In manufacturing, this approach is critical to the ideas of CPI (continuous process improvement). It's how companies get better, more efficient and innovative. For sellers, the same principles apply. De-brief the sales approach and determine what were the areas that needed work.

Having done this a few times, let me offer a few of the usual suspects:

-- Wrong level of executive sponsor. Without the senior level person involved, you will get onto a buyer's "things to be done later" list.

-- The problem is not big enough. Sometimes the timing of your solution is off. The prospect may have the problem, but they don't have the urgency to solve it now. The only real harm in this for us, the sellers, is some wasted effort up front. The likelihood is that the timing will be right in the future. However, that doesn't get us this year's record-breaking sale.

-- Sniper in the grass. One of the worst parts of losing a big sale is when you are sabotaged by someone you never met. This could be someone in the prospect, a competitor or another adviser to your prospect. This issue can be anticipated. Every large sale will have someone who does not want you to win. Look out for them from the outset.

-- The prospect just can't see it. This is an issue of confidence and clarity when it comes to the certainty of your promised outcome.

Use the process to diagnose what you need to change to increase your chances on your next attempt. Landing big sales -- record-breaking sales -- is transformational. It is more than worth the time, effort and potential disappointment. And when you do land them, you never look at yourself, your company or your market the same way again.

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