Win/Win is not enough

It’s quite rare for something to get sold without a Win/Win situation.  When something does get sold without a Win/Win, it typically doesn’t stay sold, and for sure there will be no follow-up deals. The spooky thing is, the vast majority of sales professionals earn their livings with a single-minded focus on generating one Win/Win situation after another.

The days of achieving success by creating Win/Win deals are numbered.

nowinwinDon’t get me wrong, the Win/Win aspect of any deal is still necessary.  Necessary, but increasingly not sufficient.  Even a 3-way, Win/Win/Win doesn’t carry the wallop it used to.  Technology has enabled the creation of larger and vastly more complex networks.  Projects that only a multi-national behemoth could pull off 20 years ago can now get done with an army of independent individuals and small firms who share nothing more than a common objective.

Think Linux.  Think WordPress.  Study what’s going on with 3D printing.  More and more of the BIG business wins will be based on loose arrays of large numbers of people and organizations; each involved perhaps for only a very short period of time; each with his, her or their own set of objectives.

The new critical sales skills are orchestrating and aligning.

Like the conductor of a symphony, the sales rep needs to orchestrate the skills of many – none of whom the rep controls – to produce a single, unique and amazing result.  (Check out this classic article by Peter Drucker for an outstanding explanation of the analogy.)

The sales rep also needs to be constantly vigilant about how each and every aspect of each and every one of his or her own products, services and capabilities can be positioned to align with not only the wants, needs and desires of customers, but also with the products, services and capabilities of just about every other organization out there.

It’s a bit like taking your own giant set of legos with thousands of different types, colors and connection points, then teaming up with a bunch of others, each with their own similar lego set, all collaborating to create that optimal combination of customization and personalization that each customer now demands.

In that context, Win/Win sounds like yesterday’s news.  It is.