What is a win in a competitive market?

In sales, we are ingrained with a, “go for the gold”, and, “get as much business as possible”, mindset. We further develop this mindset because we are faced with quotas and motivated by compensation incentives. Hitting our sales goals translates to success and job competency.

Recently I learned a valuable lesson, from a prospect, which helped me put my sales objectives into perspective. It caused me to step back to see what truly counts as a win in a competitive market. Is it winning to stretch yourself too thin by overselling a client? Should you focus on getting as much as you can from your clients? Or, should you focus on getting them all that they need within the scope of what you know you can seamlessly provide? I received my answer from a Fortune 500 prospect.

Being your typical salesperson, I wanted to provide as much as I could to this company. After all, the more I sold the better my numbers would be and the better I would look to my employer. At the start of our meeting, the prospect threw me off by asking, “How can I help you and what do you want to come out of a relationship with our company?” This was the first time a prospect had asked me such a question. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, I went through all our services, discussed the global contract we currently have with his company, and expressed how much we would like to provide services to all his facilities.

After patiently listening to my pitch, he responded with, “Why don’t you narrow this down? If I approved you now to work in all my facilities, you would most likely be biting off more than you could chew and probably fail.” He then dismissed the global contract by saying it was not a good enough enticement to award us any opportunities at their other facilities; explaining that multiple companies have global contracts with them but never end up doing any work. He suggested targeting 1 or 2 facilities, pinpointing their needs, and coming back with a solution. I thanked him for his time and candor and was left with much to process.

After our conversation, I started thinking about how we are all too quick to focus on short-term efforts, the big sale; consequently, we fail to pay attention to all the smaller opportunities which can affect our career long-term. In other words, we tend to be so busy “going for the gold” that we fail to see that simply “placing” can be a huge win.

Perhaps it would be to our advantage to develop an alternate mindset. Instead of strictly setting goals on landing sales, we should include goals that focus on maintaining a good, long-term relationship with our current clients and providing quality work to serve as a testament to future clients. Attaining these goals generates repeat customers, word-of-mouth referrals, and testimonials from key clients – and THAT, in my opinion, is what counts as a win in a competitive market.