Do Your Homework to Sell Inside

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
August 14, 2010

One of the devils in your deals is the belief that you know something that you don’t know. There are lots of reasons that you need to acquire that information that you need to both win the deal and to succeed for your dream client once you have won.

When you don’t have the information you need to meet both of these goals, you would be well advised to do what is necessary to get the information. One of the primary reasons that you need to acquire the information that you need to win your deal is because you are going to be asked questions—especially when you are selling inside your own organization, managing the Sales Prevention Department and the Vice President of We Can’t.

Here is how this usually plays out. You know what you need to do to win. You know what your competitor’s strategy and pricing are likely to be, and you know the issues that put your winning at risk. So, you sit down to meet with your internal team and management to talk through the deal.

They start by asking some questions. They say something like: “So, in order to win this deal, we have to cut the price of this part of our solution by 10%. How much of this service do they use?” You say: “I don’t know. I just know that this is what we need to do to win.”

You haven’t done your homework. You don’t know how much of this product or service they will use. The problem caused by your not knowing is that your team can’t help you win the deal based on your guesswork. If your dream client uses this service in one way (or at one volume level), then it might make the deal unprofitable (and we don’t take unprofitable business). If they use it at another level, it may in fact be a non-issue.

You don’t know the information you need to know, and you cannot behave as if you do. By not knowing, you have turned your internal team into the Sales Prevention Department and your Management into the Vice President of We Can’t. You did that.

Your job as a salesperson requires that you have the business acumen to do this analysis before you even sit down with our internal team. Your job as a professional salesperson also requires that you take the initiative to gather the information that you need to win the deal. When you sit down, you need to be able to say: “Look, my analysis indicates that the concession on price for service A is easily offset by the greater overall profitability we will generate on service B. They only use service A at a minimal level and we have agreed upon pricing that increases should they become more expensive to serve in this area.”

You still need to be prepared to prove that your work isn’t guesswork, and it is likely that you will still be asked: “How much of service A do they actually use?” To which you, having done your homework, will respond “Last year they used 1,200 of service A, and the year before that it was 1,400. It is slight downward trend that they expect to continue to decline based on factor A and factor B.”

Now you are in the driver’s seat, and you can fully expect to put together the deal that you need to win.

Doing your homework to be able to sell inside helps you to help your dream client, your company, and your own sales results. You need to make sure you anticipate the questions and that you already have the answer. But, if for some reason you don’t know, don’t answer the question. Call your dream client and get the answers you need to both win the deal and to succeed for them after you have won. Get the answers you need to sell inside.


If you are going to succeed in sales, you are going to have to sell inside your own organization. This means you need to do your homework, just like you would to sell outside.


    1. How much preparation do you normally do to prepare to present and sell an idea to your dream client? How much time do you spend preparing to sell your ideas internally?
    1. Why do you want to know what you need to know to win your deal with your dream client? Why is it important to anticipate their questions? Why is it important to know the facts? Why do you believe selling inside should be any different?
    1. If you need concession, changes, and modifications from your team, what attributes do you possess as a salesperson that you can use to ensure that you get them?
    1. How can you learn the facts that will allow you to put together the right deal for your dream client and your company?
  1. Does your sales manager treat you like you are leaving money on the table? Does she treat you like you are selling price? What part of your behavior do you need to change to be treated differently?

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on August 14, 2010
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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