Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

March 30, 2021

Want to Grow Sales? Preparation is the Key to Winning in Sales

By Tim O'Conner, President, Uptrend Partners

The difference in competitive advantage between winning and losing a sale is often razor thin. How can you tip the scales in your favor? The answer is the P2P Ratio™. What is the P2P Ratio? Consider a world-class athlete like Simone Biles, recognized as the top gymnast in the world. If Biles executes a world-championship floor routine in 90 seconds, this is her performance time—the numerator in the P2P Ratio. The denominator is preparation time. Biles practiced for many months to make her floor routine flawless. Clearly her preparation time is enormous in proportion to her performance time.

What does this mean to us in the sales profession? Our performance time occurs when we interact directly with a customer. Too often, we rely on our ability to “wing it” in the moment. Instead of improvising, we should focus on preparing in detail, so we can execute with precision during our critical performance time.

Best practices for sales preparation include:

  • Researching each customer to understand their business challenges. Studies tell us the first thing decision makers want from salespeople is to understand them and their business. To meet this expectation, we need to research the company and individuals we will meet—preparing ourselves to be credible in their eyes.
  • Anticipating their business issues and how we can help address those problems. Based on our research, identify where we have been able to help current customers solve similar problems.
  • Identifying where we may be differentiated in each pursuit. This means setting aside the company “Kool Aid” and honestly assessing where we are unique. If you sell a commodity, then how will you differentiate yourself? Responsiveness? Professionalism? Service?
  • Preparing diagnostic questions in advance. Use questioning techniques to steer the customer in your desired direction. Use TED questions (tell me, describe to me, explain to me) to open a broad topic and follow them with MOM questions (how many, how often, how much?) to quantify the current situation. Generally, the seller that discovers the most information via deliberate questioning techniques is at a great advantage in winning the deal.
  • Developing relevant success stories of current clients that were in similar situations. The best stories finish with tangible metrics the customer values, such as “They were able to increase revenue by 37%,” or “They were able to reduce operating costs by 23%.” Solid metrics resonate and make the customer want to learn more about your solutions.

Sales is an easier job when we slow down and do the hard work of preparation before each customer encounter. The investment in raising your P2P Ratio is worth the time and effort; as the most prepared seller will win almost every time.

So, if you want to grow your sales, expand your P2P Ratio. You can see an example of the P2P Ratio here.

To learn more, you can reach Tim O’Connor at Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Headshot of Tim O'Conner

Today’s post is by Tim O’Connor, president of Uptrend Partners.