INDIANAPOLIS, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The big key account con is on, says author and key account sales expert, Tom Searcy.
"In this tough economy, sales people from small to medium-sized companies are getting conned every day by prospects from big name companies to play an unfair game called Chase the Key Account," says Searcy. "Sales people gamble their time, energy and resources on making a deal, and instead of constantly gambling, they should take proven steps to put the odds in their favor."
Searcy, founder of the consulting firm Hunt Big Sales (http://www.HuntBigSales.com), is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and the foremost expert in multi-million dollar key account sales. By the age of 40, Searcy had led four corporations, transforming annual revenues of less than $15 million to as much as $200 million in each case.
"The problem is the sales game is usually rigged against most sales people from smaller organizations," says Searcy. "What most prospects call a fair deal is really a set of rules that favor the status quo of doing nothing or staying with the current provider."
Searcy has helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales with over 190 of the Fortune 500 companies, including 3M, Disney, Chase Bank, International Paper, AT&T, Apple and hundreds more. Searcy is the author of RFPs Suck! How to Master the RFP System Once and for All to Win Big Business and the co-author of Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company. His new book, How to Make a Deal Like Warren Buffett will be published by McGraw-Hill in late 2012.
Here are five ways from Searcy on how to win $1 million deals in this challenging economy:
- Don't Agree to Stacked Decks. In gaming parlance, a stacked deck is a set of playing cards arranged in a preset order, designed to give a specific outcome when the cards are dealt. In the Oscar-winning movie, "The Sting," Paul Newman's character goads Robert Shaw's fictional gangster boss into cheating, which he does with a cold deck ("Stack me a cooler, Floyd!"). When you are going after a key account, sometimes the prospect just wants to hear your ideas and your research. Try this: Set expectations upfront about urgency and information access so you know you really have a fair shot at landing the business.
- Avoid the Big Con. In the world of selling, most stacked deck sales competitions are created by the incumbent player who is trying to preserve his or her position. This means that the alleged "fair opportunity" to win the business is inherently unfair to anyone who challenges it. You would have a better chance of winning a street corner game of three-card Monte with some big city con men than winning one of these sales deals. Try this: Don't enter the game unless you have an executive sponsor that is high up in the organization.
- Know the Rules. The smaller organization that seeks to unseat the incumbent always has the deck stacked against them. The current provider -- whether it is an internal department, a competitor or another business initiative that competes for resources -- is entrenched and holds all the cards. This means the current provider has access to unique information, people, and discreet decision-making processes, all favoring the status quo. Try this: Be direct and ask them how high of a priority it is to make a change.
- Don't Fall for the Level Playing Field Con. No buying process truly creates a level playing field. When the process (i.e., RFP) is created for considering new ideas and providers, the process is supposed to give a "fair and equal" opportunity for evaluation to all parties. However, fair is not a possibility given the entrenched competition. Try this: Know when to fold 'em. If there is no urgency and you cannot engage the prospect's team, the deal may not be winnable.
- Change the Game. Therefore, it is your responsibility to change the game. Let the other suckers chase after prospects when they face a clear disadvantage. You have the power to change the rules of the game. Try this: Get an executive sponsor agreement in writing early in the process. Does it have to be in writing? Yes it does. But just a one-page document. You are not writing your version of the official "Rules According to Hoyle."
"Eliminate the chance in chasing key accounts," says Searcy. "You should do everything you can to win as long as it is not illegal, immoral, unethical, or might compromise the future of the business."
SOURCE Tom Searcy