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Discover why treating sales like a lottery is a flawed strategy and how adopting an intentional approach can transform your sales results.

In recent days, several people on LinkedIn have suggested that sales is a numbers game. People who believe this think winning deals is random, so they treat opportunities like lottery tickets. Their strategy is to create more opportunities to win enough deals to reach their goal, knowing that most of the time, they fail.

The Random View of Sales Success

My dad had a friend who was interviewing for a sales role. This job seeker asked his interviewer if he would be provided with leads. The interviewer promised the job seeker more leads than he could ever need. On his first day of work, he asked for his leads, and his sales manager threw a phone book on his desk.

This is the essence of the random view of sales success. Because the practitioners believe winning is a random occurrence, succeeding means acquiring ever more opportunities. Those infected with this poor belief about how sales works will tell you that their prospects can’t be counted on to buy.

They will tell you clients are liars, they can’t make up their minds, and often disengage with the salesperson pursuing their prospective client. What makes sense to those who believe winning is a random act is to, like the interviewer, create more opportunities. This is an incredibly immature view of professional B2B sales and an awful strategy for reaching your sales goals.

There are a few problems with the random view of sales success. First, if you can’t close deals with a decent win rate, more opportunities are not going to help you succeed. Second, because you believe you need more opportunities, it is all but certain you have more poor opportunities, and hope one is worth winning.

The Intentional View of Sales Success

The intentional view doesn’t believe winning is random. In fact, these salespeople intend to win the clients they want. My experience as a sales manager convinced me to carefully select the companies I wanted to build my client portfolio. The first factor I considered was how much money they spent on what my company sold. The second factor was how they treated what we sold, preferring prospective clients that would find what we provided as strategic instead of a commodity, even though we sold a commodity.

Many salespeople would ask why we only called on companies with an existing competitor providing them what they needed. Believing it would be easier to call on companies that weren’t using what we sold. The reason we didn’t call on companies that didn’t buy what we sell is because they didn’t buy what we sold. It would have been a waste of time.

An intentional view of winning deals would have you become an expert and authority in the areas where your clients need insights and information that would help them make good decisions about their future results. It may be difficult to build a sales force that is truly consultative.

With a sales approach that creates value for your contacts, you differentiate yourself and cause decision-makers and buyers to prefer to buy from you instead of your competition. This is by intent, not the randomness of chaos theory.

Unless You Can Convert

We sometimes get things backward. We want more opportunities before we have the skills to convert prospects into clients. This is why the random approach fails. If you want more and better-won deals, you need to start with the intention to identify and pursue those companies.

Escaping from randomness means working on increasing your sales effectiveness. As your win rates increase, you will notice you are able to win the deals you want by choosing the companies you want to serve. As your sales team improves their win rates, you may still need coverage in your pipeline, but you will need a lot fewer deals to be confident in hitting your sales goals.

How You Sell Now and in The Future

The future of B2B sales is going to find us experiencing a demand problem. There are already more companies in every industry than necessary. As demand declines, there will be winners and losers, haves, and have-nots. Those who will live and thrive will likely be the companies with experts that create value for their clients. To create the right opportunities for you and your clients, take the following steps:

  1. Target your dream clients: This is the first step to escape from randomness. Select the clients who need what you are selling.
  2. Develop consultative sales reps: You need experts that create trust and lead their clients to the better results they need.
  3. Improve win rates: Spend your time working to increase your win rates, as that is the most important indicator of your ability to win deals. Train, develop, and coach your sales force.

We have lived through the greatest expansion in history. Now we are moving into the post-globalization period, one plagued with demographic and increasing scarcity. Those with the ability and skills to sell effectively will have an easier time than those who believe the universe’s random gifts and betrayals causing your prospective clients to make a deal or ghost you.

Leaving this article, look at how much of your pipeline is random and what part is made up of a list of dream clients that have been intentionally chosen. You will do well to start making the changes here before you are harmed in the future.


Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 13, 2023

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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