How To “Win” In Sales

Posted On: January 2



This is one of the biggest “aha moments” I ever had when learning to be salesperson, which I got from a fantastic book called: Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Khalsa.

“In sales, you and the customer want the very same thing: the Exact Right Solution.”


Let me unpack this for you…

If you are talking to a potential customer, then they have already given you a buying signal; they are giving you some of their time, which means there is at least some level of interest in your product or service. So you both know what you are there for, a potential sale. The goal then is to make sure that you both get what you want out of the transaction, they get a reasonable price for a product or service that they need and you make a reasonable profit. This is the only possible outcome for a successful transaction, the Exact Right Solution.

  • Sell them something too expensive and they find out that your price was high, you lose the customer.
  • Sell them something too cheap and you lose money on the deal, your company goes out of business.
  • Sell them the wrong product that will not actually meet their needs, but makes you a nice commission, you lose the customer.
  • Sell them the right product and deliver it late, you lose the customer.
  • Sell them the right product and it does not work, and you fail to follow-up and get it fixed quickly, you lose the customer.
  • Sell them the right product but promise them too many additional services, you lose money on the deal, your company goes out of business.

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the idea unless both you and the customer get exactly what is right for both of you, you have not made a successful sale.

That means that it is not you against the customer, it is the two of you working together as a team to develop the Exact Right Solution. To me, this takes away the sometimes adversarial relationship between buyer and seller. I remember early in my career that every time I went on a sales call I felt like I was trying to “win the sale.” The truth of the matter is I should have been trying to win the trust of my customer by giving them exactly what they wanted, that also aligned perfectly with what I wanted, so that we could build a strong positive relationship and I could be seen as a partner and trusted advisor who would always do what was in their best interest, as long as it was also in my best interest. The classic Win-Win agreement.

Now that I understand this, sales is so much more fun. I’m not there to “win” anything, I’m there to help us much as I can and work jointly with my customer to develop solutions that make everybody happy so that we look forward to doing more business together in the future.

To me, that is the way a professional salesperson approaches the sales process.

Your thoughts?

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  1. I am in the process of reading this book now, I have also found it very insightful. I also purchased his 6 CD Set and have been listening to it while driving. So simple but seldom used. I am incorporating this into my business now. John I also have found your content to be very helpful. You keep things simple and very understandable so I am able to see how I can implement things into my life and business right away. I do not understand how you put so much out on such a consistent bases. You are a machine, Thanks.

  2. Hi John,

    Your outcome summary is spot on. The reality is customers buy the way they want to buy not the way we want them to buy. Customers need to discover, uncover that their issues can be addressed through our solution at a price they can afford and they are willing (time & effort) to invest. We can help them on that discovery journey and should have equal rights throughout the sales process (qualify or disqualify the prospect) to eliminate “free consulting”. – Kevin

  3. Thanks for “How to ‘Win’ in Sales”. Because I work at a cemetery, everything I do has to be in the best interest of the families I serve. Things always work out if we put our customers first.

    Beth Abbott
    Family Service Counselor (and sales person!)
    Mountain View Cemetery

  4. I would add one twist to the comment. Replace the word “sale” with “purchase” and the thought process is easier. We then focus on the customers’ wants, needs, and desires, abet keeping in mind the necessity of making a reasonable return.

  5. I have a new salesperson starting with us this coming week. His first read is going to be this blog post John. Spot on with our company culture.
    Thanks for the post.

  6. Great article. Relationships are what selling is all about. It is easy to get distracted thinking about commissions. showing the customer you can work together is refreshing for them.

  7. Hi John, I hope your well. This article is so very spot on. I sure wish you would read my book “STOP SELLING AND START MARKETING” I feel that we echo each other and are on the same page. We met many years ago at a conference that we shared with a group of State Farm Agents. I asked that you read my book and hopefully forward it on to your subscribers, I haven’t heard from you. Please let me know if you received my book and your thoughts. If you want a new copy please let me know. Thank you for continuing to spread the good word. Best wishes for a great 2017. Tom Wright

  8. Awesome John! A really, really good way to look at sales. A nice tactical way of looking at sales being something we do WITH our prospects/customers instead of TO our customers. We hear that a lot, but without specific ways to accomplish it. This article nicely addresses it. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  9. Thanks for summarizing the core of “Helping Clients Succeed.” If we all strive to act this way with the clear intent of focusing exclusively on helping our clients succeed we have the potential to evolve the view of sales from one of distrust to a noble profession. Thanks for spreading the gospel!!!

  10. The exact right solution = fair and reasonable price + fair and reasonable profit. This implies that you must enter the discussion knowing your actual cost and your minimum profit. The sale would then be somewhere between you X (lowest profitable price) and the Customers Y (highest price they would pay).

  11. This is exactly right.

    I don’t know how long I tend to hang onto my customers, because they haven’t left yet. Most have been with me five or ten years, which doesn’t happen if we’re not both getting exactly what we want.

    To my way of thinking, that’s a lot easier than constantly looking for new customers.

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