Brain Food: Your route to the top - Selling at scale

Zoom out. Think strategically about the system you are selling into.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Avoid jumping straight to tactics, such as how to close the deal. You need to know who to deal with first.

Figure out who holds the purse strings. Who might say 'no' when everyone else says 'yes'? If you are unsure whether you are dealing with the final buyer, ask: 'Is there anyone at a senior level whose approval we need?'

Secure a supporter. You need someone who has credibility with the key buyer and believes in your solution. Keep them up-to-date with the details of the deal. Choice words from them will keep your solution at the front of the minds that matter.

Make it right. You may be screened by someone judging the technical aspects of your offer. Stay in the running by ensuring all the right boxes are ticked.

Charm the end users. Negative consensus among the people who use your idea or product will soon reach the buyer. Consider tailoring your pitch: rather than telling users how much money it will save the business, highlight how it will make their job easier.

Rate the reactions. Note on a scale of 1 to 7 how supportive each decision-maker feels towards you and your offer, with 7 being 'will support the offer at all costs' and 1 being 'will try to stop the sale'. For anyone scoring less than five, brainstorm immediate things you can do to increase their enthusiasm.

Build momentum among decision-makers. It will then be easier for each individual to go with the flow towards your solution, rather than swim against the tide.

Work out who wants what. Decision-makers are people first and buyers second. They will have personal motivations as well as business aims in choosing or rejecting your offer. Make sure you address both.

'The Mind Gym: Give me time' is published by Time Warner Books (£12.99).

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