January 24th, 2014 | by

Who said you have to play fair in sales? In my opinion, you should do everything you possibly can to stack the deck in your favor. One of the best ways to do that is to get into an account early, before your competitors know an opportunity even exists. Maybe before your prospects are even thinking about making a change.

If that sounds impossible, you need to change your thinking. Stop spending your time chasing prospects who are actively involved in making a decision. Your chances of winning are slim.

Instead, go where the decision isn’t – yet – but could be. Personally, these are my favorite ways to find those undiscovered opportunities.

Identify Similar Prospects

Let’s say you’re just wrapping up a project with a growing restaurant chain. While working together, you identified a new way to tackle an issue that wasn’t on anyone’s radar screen yet —and ended up delivering significant results. Your client is delighted.

If you want an unfair advantage, you should immediately pursue similar restaurants that likely face a near identical issue. You can get in early, open your prospect’s eyes to what’s possible, and often win business with no competitors.

Sales Enablement Through Scoops

Sales scoops are events alter a prospect’s priorities, creating an opportunity for you. For example, if 3rd quarter earnings are stagnant, directives go out across the company to reduce expenses. New business deals or market directions alter priorities too – sometimes overnight.

If you want an unfair advantage, analyze what creates change with your clients. Then, get serious about leveraging sales intelligence to track it. Research shows that the first seller in the door wins the business over 60% of the time.

Management Changes

This is another type of buying trigger. New leadership always shakes things up. The new boss, who’s been brought in to make things happen, often launches new projects within months of starting. So getting on this person’s calendar quickly can give you an unfair advantage.

But if you think about it, you’ll realize that the new boss’s old position now needs to be filled. And, the old boss will be popping up somewhere soon too. That creates at least three potential opportunities with people who are eager to make their mark.

Getting In The Door Early – Predict Your Prospect, Pitch Preemptively

Is it unfair to capitalize on these opportunities? Not at all. It’s what savvy salespeople utilize sales scoops all the time. They get in early, lay the groundwork, build the business case, develop strong relationships — and close deals with minimal competition.

The truth is, in sales, we need to strive for an unfair advantage.

Learn more about using DiscoverOrg to get in the door early using OppAlerts and Triggers.

Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. For more insights on trigger events, download her free Hidden Gems ebook.


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Henry Schuck
About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, an 8-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.