ROCKS DIGITAL  BLOG

John Carroll

How to Sell from the Rear – Putting the Sales Process to Work

Sales Process
Ivelin Radkov/shutterstock.com

Wondering what selling from the rear looks like? There is a sales process to help you get through it, so don’t worry.

“You have a less than 10% chance of winning our business.”

If this were the customer’s response to your proposal, how would you respond? According to The Wizard of Odds, the probability of an overall win in blackjack is 46.36%. So, you’d be better off playing blackjack than pursuing this customer’s business – or would you?

Get Started with the Sales Process

What should your response be when you’re in a loss position and have to sell from the rear? Should you pack up the tent and go home, or press ahead? Before we answer the question, it’s important to look at how to avoid this situation, while increasing the odds of winning future business.

Before you devote time, energy and resources to a proposal response, you must first answer the following questions (borrowed from Power Base Selling):

  1. Do we have an opportunity?
  2. Can we compete?
  3. Can we win?

If the answer to any of the above questions is “no” then you are done, walk away. Walking away from an opportunity is the hardest thing to do for anyone involved in sales. However, from a business perspective, if the odds are stacked against you it’s the financially prudent thing to do.

Now, let’s say that we had answered “yes” to the questions above prior to proceeding on the initial proposal, and the customer’s response to our bid was “You have a less than 10% chance of winning our business.”

How do we proceed in the sales process, given that the odds are clearly not in our favor?

There are three solutions to every problem – accept it, change it, or leave it. In this real-life sales process we made the decision to change it. Here is the approach we took to win the final bid and secure the customer’s long-term business (Hint: it can work for you as well).

6 Ways to Work the Sales Process to Close the Deal

1. Go deeper in your research.

Before I met with the customer, I reviewed three years of the company’s annual reports and quarterly financial statements, looking for any “hot spots,” major areas of emphasis, and significant business trends compared to their key competitors.

2. Know the customer’s real buying criteria.

When the customer said we had a <10% of winning, my response was “based on what?” The answer was purchase price. From the research I had done, I knew there were other factors important to their decision beyond just price. Fun Fact: According to the latest study by Stax, Inc., a global strategy consultancy, price is the #1 buying consideration only 18% of the time, and in the Top 3 only 47% of the time.

3. Change the ground rules.

In this situation, we were able to move the conversation away from price to those other factors – i.e. growth, off-balance sheet financing, useful life of the asset, budget and tax implications. When all factors were taken into account in the cash flow analysis, we proved our case.

4. Sell beyond the bid process.

By changing the ground rules, we were also able to focus on the long-term business outlook and showcase how off-balance sheet financing would work in the customer’s favor in budgeting for future projects. No competitor addressed these broader financial considerations, giving us a clear advantage in the end.

5. Get the other key players involved.

The C-level executives, primarily the CFO and leasing partners, were brought in during the final stages of the decision process because of the broader implications of our recommendations.

6. Set the table for the long term.

After we won the initial bid, our sales team began work with the customer’s project team to develop the plans required to meet their long-term business needs. This allowed us to work on multiple projects simultaneously, and to stay engaged with the customer for years after the initial sale was completed.

As Anthony Iannarino points out in his book, The Lost Art of Closing, the process of buying and selling today is non-linear. Most sales processes are dynamic and involve a series of stops, starts, and unpredictable human interactions.

Be Creative and Show Value in the Sales Process

Selling from the rear, or from any vantage point in the sales process for that matter, offers you an opportunity to be creative and distinguish your business by demonstrating your unique extended value and ability to sell outside the lines.

Have you faced the same roadblock in the sales process? Share what resonates with you in the comments below!

John Carroll

John Carroll is a Business and Leadership Strategist, Best-Selling Author, Blogger & Speaker. Top 100 Leadership Expert to Follow. Who's writing your story today?

More Posts

Download Our SEO Guide

Created in a joint partnership with Advice Local, this guide — What You Need to Know About SEO — provides an introduction to SEO concepts, strategies and best practices for optimizing a website. Complete the form below and get instant access.

    ROCKING DIGITAL SERVICES

    Web Design & Development

    Your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing and functional. We build websites for desktop and mobile that are both.

    LOCAL SEARCH & SEO

    Your website needs to attract search engines and consumers. We are experts in local search and SEO, and can make that happen.

    CONTENT CREATION & MARKETING

    Anybody can write words on a page, but can they write content that integrates SEO best practices and converts? We can.

    Here’s What Our Client's Have to Say

    Their Local Business Websites Rock

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital knows how to build local business websites that convert prospects to customers. Not only do I recommend them to work on my reputation management client’s websites, but they work on the Reputation Sensei brand, too.
    - Chris Snellgrove

    They Customize Their Solutions

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital customizes to meet their client’s needs. We needed our existing website optimized for search. We are now placing for more industry keywords and continue to improve. They consult with our in-house team on content optimization, manage our GMB listing & more.
    - Greta Valenti

    Highly Recommend

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital manages not only the Association of Directory Publishers website, but our Trusted Local Directory. From helping us get our event information on the website to producing guides, blogs and new content, they have what it takes.
    - Cindi Aldrich

    Rocks Digital Is the Best Choice

    ★★★★★
    As a long-term client, when it was time to change the primary focus of my real estate business, and my website, I knew Rocks Digital was the way to go. They took my existing website, gave it a complete new look, and still managed to keep my existing content.
    - David Dorum

    Brought My Ideas to Fruition

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital came highly recommended. Once I started working with them I knew why. They took my ideas for a beautiful website and brought them to the screen. From the design phase to content creation, each component was thoughtfully considered and addressed.
    - Clay Adams

    Conversions Are on the Rise

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital manages two of my websites. They produce our blogs, our service pages and manage our paid search campaigns. Conversions are up and new patients are coming in the door. I highly recommend their digital marketing services.
    - Dr. Thomas Chacko

    Agency Services Are Top Notch

    ★★★★★
    We shifted to Rocks Digital agency services earlier in the year. We are so glad we did. Our website sessions are up, page views are up, and bounce rate is down. Now we can easily see how many form fills we have had at any given time through their real-time reporting.
    - Kristin Schafer

    Their Local Business Websites Rock

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital knows how to build local business websites that convert prospects to customers. Not only do I recommend them to work on my reputation management client’s websites, but they work on the Reputation Sensei brand, too.
    - Chris Snellgrove

    They Customize Their Solutions

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital customizes to meet their client’s needs. We needed our existing website optimized for search. We are now placing for more industry keywords and continue to improve. They consult with our in-house team on content optimization, manage our GMB listing & more.
    - Greta Valenti

    Highly Recommend

    ★★★★★
    Rocks Digital manages not only the Association of Directory Publishers website, but our Trusted Local Directory. From helping us get our event information on the website to producing guides, blogs and new content, they have what it takes.
    - Cindi Aldrich
    Name
    Email
    Review Title
    Rating
    Review Content

    LATEST BLOG POSTS

    Content writing services.

    How to Select a Content Writing Service

    From increasing local search presence to attracting new customers, businesses need quality content to thrive online. The leading content writing services consistently make life easier

    Local SEO website optimization.

    How to Integrate Local SEO Into a Website

    Getting your website to perform in local search is essential for businesses looking to grab customers’ attention. With the support of a top local SEO

    LOCAL VISIBILITY REPORT

    Is your Google My Business listing helping or hurting you? Is bad data causing consumers and search engines to lose trust in your business? This is information you simply must know.

    To get these answers right now, just enter your business name below to run our FREE
    visibility report.


    Need a facelift
    for your website? More search traffic? Need to blog, but don’t have time?

    Our Digital Services Could Be For You
    Get a Free Local Visibility Report Now