Every sales opportunity contains risk. The purpose of the sales process is to identify and deal with potential problems and risks—and select a winning sales tactic—before they can jeopardize the sales relationship.
Most problems can be overcome by first learning to recognize the red flags. Red flags serve as warning signs, which represent potential risks or problems that can interfere with the sales process. As described in the article Identifying sales risks and problems, there are five typical red flags:
There are three options for dealing with red flags:
Where possible, employ the third option (leveraging from strength) as it offers a greater chance of success than the other two.
To leverage your strengths, they must meet the following criteria:
To help identify your specific strengths, consider the stakeholders and influencers you have met so far. Ask yourself:
Systematically leverage this goodwill to access the information and people you need. Note that managing red flags and leveraging strengths are dynamic tactics, as both red flags and strengths may change as you move through the sales process. It is therefore important to periodically revise your assessment of your position.
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Heiman, S. & Sanchez, D. (1998). The New Strategic Selling. New York: Warner Books, Inc.