How to spot the sales opportunities behind the opportunities


Pay-off: spot the hidden valuable opportunities
Investment: <2 minutes

Many people in BD seem to have ‘opportunity planning’ all wrong.

Either they don’t do it at all, they don’t do it enough, or they do it and begin to believe that things will go to plan, being unprepared then to deal with unexpected surprises or shifts in conversation.

The thing about opportunity and sales call/meeting planning is that you want to do the right type of planning, to the right level, for the right reasons.

These reasons could include:

  • it increases your clarity on the a road ahead
  • it increases a feeling of certainty/confidence
  • it increases your awareness and options for when you need them
  • it increases your chances of spotting opportunities that you plan for, on the road ahead that you planned for

However, there’s a twist. Here are two ways this could backfire:

1.Things rarely go to plan. When the world (or your prospect/client) delivers you an un-planned for blow (or the prospect simply changes directions), are you ready to shake off all your plans, step up, listen, learn, adapt, deliver and succeed?

This is why you need the capabilities that enable you to adapt and re-establish fit, relevance and value fast.

Most non-sales people need to work at this as it often doesn’t come naturally, and it’s costly.

2.Your efforts to stick to your plan can put the blinkers on and have you missing any other opportunities that you didn’t consider in your plan.

Whilst it increases the chances of you spotting what you planned for, it can decrease the chances that you’ll be open to exploring all corners of the unknown, looking for the opportunities behind and between the obvious ones.

“No one should manage against a business plan for fear of hitting it and missing untold opportunities” – Alan Weiss, Ph.D. (consultant and author)

Of course, you can increase your chances further if you weave into your plans a step where you purposefully drop any attachment to where things are going, and march forward with your prospect into the unknown, to explore those corners.

You’ll need to be prepared to probe around areas out of your comfort zone. Keep them talking. Remain open. Schedule to reflect on what they said after the meeting too. And see what else you could dig up. See if you can spot the opportunities behind the opportunities, and turn them into mutual value.

For more on opportunity spotting and planning and building your BD capabilities within your non-sales teams, contact me here or visit:

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