On yesterday’s  post we discussed one of my favorite childhood games, Kick The Can.  We also talked about how frustrating it feels to lose a target prospect when we are in a competitive selling situation.

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Today we will discuss how to keep our competition from sweeping in without our knowledge and taking that prospect away from us.

In the game of Kick The Can, you would work very hard to “capture” all of the players.  Sometimes you could actually have several players caught.  But then as you were seeking the next player, someone would come around the corner while you were not looking and “Kick The Can” – setting your captives free.

How many times have you had that same thing happen in your sales cycle?  How often have you had your target prospects well involved in your sales cycle – only to have your competition come in and “Kick YOUR Can”?

You can reduce the number of times that this happens to you by adding a few simple things to your sales process.

Build The Right Top Level Relationships:

It is a common sales mistake to not recognize and build relationships with everyone in the decision making process.  In the case of target prospects that you want to become your highest value customers, more often than not you will have to build a consensus to get the final approval.  This requires you to build relationships with each person involved.  In the employee benefit arena, the head of human resources was normally our primary contact.  However, the owner or top C-Level officer would normally have the final authority. If you don’t have a relationship with that person – ask your decision influencer to help you establish that relationship. Far too often, sales people build a great relationship with a “decision influencer” – only to find out that their competitor had a relationship with the top level decision maker.  If that happens…. someone just “Kicked Your Can!”

Build The Right 360º Level Relationships:

The same mistake can be made by not recognizing the relationships that are important between peers and/or subordinates to your primary contact.  It should be your goal to make everyone in your life feel important and valued by you – regardless of the context of your relationship.  Business relationships are actually just personal relationships in a business context.  Your failure to recognize someone’s importance can hurt your consensus building efforts.  Ask your key contact to introduce you to everyone involved in the decision making process at any level.  Then build your relationships.  If a subordinate in the decision making group has no relationship with you – but they do have one with your competition… get ready.  Someone is about to “Kick Your Can!”

Bring Your Aunt Arlene:

In Kick The Can, I would have been “it” forever if not for my loving Aunt Arlene.  She did two very important things for me that saved my can on more than one occasion.  We will discuss that tomorrow.  Don’t miss it! 🙂



Do you have relationships at the highest levels in your most valuable prospects?