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The power of counterintuitive selling.

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An unpredictable world, such as the one we are currently operating in, requires new tactics. As the world returns to work, we may find that our existing sales playbook isn’t yielding the results it once did. It’s time to shake things up.

The natural inclination is to focus on prospecting but there is a much better way to grow profits. You need to identify what success looks like, replicate those processes, and map out the whole ‘iceberg’ of potential with existing customers.

Let’s get started…

Reviewing success.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, while expecting different results.” Rita Mae Brown.


To stay relevant, you, your team, and your business need to keep learning, reviewing, and updating your sales process. After all, without knowing what success looks like – how can you try to replicate it?

The biggest untapped resource in many businesses when it comes to defining success is its CRM data. Yet, this important information is often siloed by salespeople in a mix of physical and digital files making analysis difficult. The content of each customer file is a valuable record of every interaction, success, and failure. This data is key to understanding what success looks like.

Being able to combine and cross-reference the sales techniques in practice across your company is essential when reviewing your current playbook. sales-i’s CRM feature enables managers to analyze logged customer interactions against results to identify effective tactics being used by individual salespeople. Spotting winning strategies enables teams to reproduce tactics and their success.

Presumed sales ‘fails’, such as admitting you don’t know the answer to a specific question and having to get in touch with a prospect a second time with the answer, may prove to lead to a higher conversion rate.


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Prospects: Looking at the white space, not just your pipeline.

It is well established that it takes more contact points than ever to close a deal, book a demonstration, or even get your virtual foot in the door with your prospects. Once you do have the right person’s information, don’t oversaturate your existing prospects' inboxes. Keep a regular cadence of communications to maintain your company in front of mind with useful resources rather than dry, template sales follow-up messaging.

Instead, use your energy to be proactive and use what you have learned from your existing prospects, who are not yet ready to become customers, to find new contacts with similar requirements.

What isn’t on your prospects' radar as a challenge, but you know is core to the success of their competitors? You can make cold prospects want to work with you by showing industry expertise whilst offering real value.

Traditionally, spending time researching a prospect, their challenges, and competitors is seen as the best way to prepare for a prospecting meeting or call. But is this true? It may be that after investigating the lead times of lost and won deals that speeding up your pre-call process delivers better results.

“Make sure you’re losing fast, staying focused, and ensure you’re spending time on the RIGHT customers.”

Source: Cerebral Selling


Customers: Looking at the gaps, not just the sales.

It can be too easy to rely on regular repeat ordering from existing customers to prop up your sales figures. Closing a deal with a new customer isn’t the end of the sales process. Especially as increasing and diversifying their order can be achieved with less outlay and greater success rates.

If you know your sector, and your customer’s data, you can identify product categories that each customer isn’t currently buying from you that they should be. You may have a few ‘iceberg’ accounts on your books where you can increase your share of their regular spending. Researching and presenting new solutions in your range, even if these were not initially a fit, can yield a significant new revenue stream from your regular customers.

sales-i combines and analyses back-office data, saving hours of manual review to deliver insights across customers, products, seasonal patterns, and wider industry trends. sales-i’s Sales Vs Gaps feature gives a visual overview of industry trends and how a customer compares to show where there may be an existing sales opportunity.


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Irregular customer opportunities.

Contrary to standard business models, where the most time and attention is given to the regular spending customers, investing time and analyzing the irregular spending customers could open up new opportunities.

Your biggest accounts may already be spending the majority of their spend budget with your company, which is great news! So, rewarding their loyalty with discounts, special deals and rewards will keep them happy, but won’t grow their spend. However, your smaller irregular ordering customer could have the potential for bigger deals that dwarf your current big spenders. Offering the same care and attention, offers and support may sound counterintuitive, but can be highly profitable. The key is identifying those opportunities within your customer base. 

When to not sell – the power of saying ‘no’.

According to Single Grain, part of establishing yourself as an expert in your field is knowing when to say no. Not every customer, and prospect, you contact will benefit from your full range of services or products you offer, being upfront about this can save both of you a lot of time.

Rejecting a prospect, or even recommending another company, may seem counter-intuitive to many salespeople. Ultimately, that prospect will appreciate that you understand your product and care about the service you deliver to customers. When that contact moves role, or if that company evolves, they will remember your company and be happy to get in touch again.

This is a long-term strategy as being brave enough to say they aren’t a great fit or your product isn’t the best option for them will build a relationship based on trust and a deep understanding of the market they operate in. And if they never evolve to be a great fit – they might know someone else who is.


Sales have evolved away from a transactional exchange to an ongoing relationship development role. As such, pre-contact research, industry knowledge, and the ability to turn down short term gain for customer service pain is essential in building a stable repeat business book.

To achieve continued success, sales teams need to embrace counter-intuitive methods and flip the script on pushing ROI, endless questionnaires, and selling one fits all solutions. It’s time to tailor experiences, listen, build trust, advice, and support prospects and customers alike.


Do you want to hear more about how sales-i can help your business? Book a demo today.

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