The majority of my time is not speaking in front of an audience. It is working on strategies to help my clients win business. I probably work on a hundred pursuits a year. That number of deals provides me with unique opportunities to spot patterns. One of those patterns I’ve noticed recently, is what I call “ignoring the elephant in the room.” What I mean is that many times there is an obvious problem or issue that must be resolved and it is ignored or hidden. For example:

  • You are working on a deal and the economic buyer is the same one that was with another company when someone in your company went over his head to secure the deal and alienated him.
  • There is an enemy on the committee that wants to buy from a competitor.
  • It is an outsourcing project and one of the people making the decision will probably be outsourced.
  • The economic buyer belongs to the same country club as the president of the competitor’s company.
  • The economic buyer drops by the presentation and makes the comment, “It looks good, but every company brings a solution that looks good. At the end of the day they are all the same.”
  • The competitor has a lot of business in the same industry as the prospect, and you have none. I have actually heard salespeople say, “I hope that does not come up.”

I have had these elephants and more in pursuits where the strategy to win the deal did not factor in any of these issues or challenges.

Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Make sure your strategy kills the elephant.

Posted in Ray's Rules by Ray Leone on December 2, 2009.