Author: Rick Page
Year Published: 2003
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If you deal with complex sales – sales that take months to close and often involve multiple decision makers with different motivations – then you know they can be chaotic. Perhaps no one is calling you back, or they’ve introduced new requirements, or you can’t seem to talk with the decision maker, or your prospect just can’t seem to make a decision. You’d like to put on your rose-colored glasses and “hope” everything will be ok, but something seems wrong and your prospect won’t tell you what that might be.
Rick Page has written Hope is Not a Strategy to help you realize when a deal is dead in the water so you can cut your loses or when the time is right to forge ahead. The book is broken into four sections: understanding the complex sale, simplifying the complex sale into something more manageable, strategies for execution, and account management.
The first part of the book is a brief overview of what a complex sale is, how to develop your sales teams and the 7 types of buyer-seller relationships, and how to link your product’s differentiating factors to your prospects’ problems. If you are new to the complex sale or are used to individualized selling, this is a great overview
In Part 2, Page explains his 6 step process for simplifying the complex sale, called RADAR or Reading Accounts and Deploying Appropriate Resources. These six steps include
- Link solutions to pain (or gain). – Learn what problem the customer is trying to solve, get them to confess their pains, and develop requirements to solve those pains or business problems. Page stresses this should happen before the requirements have been defined. If they are already defined, you’ve missed the first step in the sales cycle. This chapter also explains the types of benefits you can appeal to in order to make the sale.
- Qualify the prospect. – Pick profitable opportunities you can win rather than on emotion. In this step you should be asking yourself how this opportunity compares with your other opportunities and how many resources are required to pursue the opportunity.
- Build competitive preference. – Learn what differentiates you from everyone else and build relationships to get key influencers and decision makers’ support.
- Determine the decision-making process. – Find out all you can about how your prospect will make their decision, including who is involved, who you think they will decide, what part each will play and when they will decide.
- Sell to power. – Since not everyone has an equal vote in the decision making, you must determine the political situation, learn who the power influencers are, and build relationships with them.
- Communicate the strategic plan.- Finally, once you understand the factors in play, you must develop a strategic plan for how to win their business. If you don’t have a plan, you’re simply hoping luck will be on your side.
Part 3 focuses on executing your particular strategy so that you defeat your competition and win your prospects’ commitment. Page looks at factors like how to tell where your prospect is in the decision making process, how to change key issues to your favor, how to get each person’s vote, and how to sell at the C-Level. Finally, Part 4 offers a brief overview of account management.
Overall, Hope is Not a Strategy is a great introduction to building high trust relationships that will net repeat business. Each sales principle is clearly explained in a logical manner. Examples, charts, and diagrams complement the chapter text. There are end notes and a bibliography in the back.