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Discover how context locking can revolutionize your sales strategy and outperform the competition in the ever-evolving B2B landscape.

Every client you engage with has a set of experiences they bring to the conversation. These experiences will come into play in their decision-making. Some part of their experience may be helpful for the change initiative they are pursuing. Other experiences may not be useful and, in some cases, the experience may prevent your contact from being able to produce the better results they need.

If you have been selling for a long time, you may recognize that you have an information disparity, with your experiences stacking up much faster than those of your contact. Much of the time, your contact’s experience is no longer relevant or is outdated. If you allow your client to rely on their experience, you make it more difficult for them to move forward.

One of the main reasons we use an executive briefing is to enable the contact to update their assumptions. This is especially important in this ever-evolving B2B sales landscape. To help your contact, you need to update their knowledge and their experiences. As much as I like a good argument, I’d prefer not to argue with a person holding a check, which brings us to this week’s sales strategy: context locking.

Introducing the Context-Locking Technique

You can learn a lot by listening to your clients. If you pay careful attention to what they say, you can uncover their assumptions. You might also be able to know what they have done in the past. Their past experience can shape their current beliefs and assumptions, even when they are no longer valuable.

One of my clients had two beliefs that he maintained for our first year working together. These two beliefs prevented him from making a change he needed to make to improve his results. To win an argument that would prevent me from losing my large client, I decided not to argue with my contact. Instead, I decided to prosecute his long-held beliefs.

To try to win this contest, I built a slide deck with data that proved his assumptions were outdated. To continue holding onto his old way of thinking, he would have to believe that all the sourced data was wrong. Instead of arguing with me, he would have to argue with the sources, of which there were many. I called this strategy context locking.

Benefits of Context Locking in Sales

The value of context locking is that you are able to lock the client into a context that will help them make the best decision for their company and achieve the new and better results they need. It would be rare for a contact to successfully refute the context of the insights you shared with them and, likely, their team.

To execute this incredibly effective sales strategy, you must lock in the context in the first few minutes of the sales conversation. Once you lock in the context, your contact sees what is true now and what that means for their future decision. You don’t want to wait to establish the context later in the sales conversation.

There are other valuable outcomes that come from context locking. When your competitors approach your prospective client, if you were there first, your contact remains locked in the context you provided in their meetings with your competitors. It also provides your sales champion with the opportunity to share the context with their peers and stakeholders.

Strategy for Context Dynamics in Sales

Over time, you will need to update the locked context. To ensure you are credible, you will need to share the new data, their sources, and the value of the new insights you are locking in. This strategy is not useful for sales organizations that do not practice a modern sales methodology, as the legacy approaches lack anything as effective as the modern sales strategies.

Salespeople who are not interested in reading and research will not be able to use this strategy. Those who are interested in learning what they need to create value for their clients when it comes to their decisions will find this strategy to be highly effective in helping their client learn what they need to succeed in the future, which translates to more effective selling for the salesperson.

This strategy is part of our methodology that includes the executive briefing, information disparity, and triangulation strategy, all of which help you find your way to becoming One-Up and leading your client.

Mastering New Sales Strategies for the Modern Market

For as many years as I have been writing at https://thesalesblog.com, I have been documenting the strategies that are replacing the legacy approaches that no longer create value for their clients, including a certain number of new strategies that pretend to be something new, simply because they gave it a new name. The strategies are designed for both the Red and Blue Oceans.

Leaving this newsletter, you should sit down with a legal pad and a pen and write down a prospective client’s long-held beliefs that will cause them to make a poor decision. Their lack of knowledge and the experience will block them from getting a rare, strategic decision right on the first attempt.

You and I both live in a time when value creation has little to do with your solution and much more to do with enabling your contacts to make the right decision. Most in B2B sales training are still unaware of just how much B2B sales has changed. If you haven’t explored new methodologies, now would be a good time to do so.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 12, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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