Back in my AT&T Capital days one of my peers was this incredibly driven young guy who was constantly bringing in unsuitable deals. He provided much entertainment at sales meeting where we AEs would chuckle as he seriously described potential deals that clearly sounded like he was working for another company -- or in a completely different industry. Bob (not his real name, of course) was regularly trying to fit the “round peg in the square hole” of AT&T’s financing solutions to the chagrin of management and the frustration of himself and his prospects. It didn’t win him any internal supporters and it cost him sales. People would see Bob coming down the hall and walk the other way knowing that he was going to try and browbeat for a deal approval that was clearly outside the organization’s realm. I can only imagine that his customers understood he was full promises that couldn’t be kept.
Knowing your company’s “sweet spot” is key to honing in on opportunities that you actually can win – and letting the ones go that are outside your company’s abilities. It seems counterintuitive to some salespeople who naturally want to win them all. The truth is you can’t. Thoroughly understanding what deals your company wants to do and matching this with the right prospects is the winning strategy. Don’t waste precious selling time trying to create a solution based on hope versus reality. Prospects and clients alike will appreciate your honesty and integrity in advising what you can do and are certain to engage you in the future when the likelihood for a better match surfaces. Realizing where you stand in the industry and what your organization does and does not do well will help you identify and close more deals -- and gain management support when you need it most.
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