Why you should be provocative when selling

In these hard times where companies cut back on all non-essential costs for a seller there is only 1 thing to do: to ensure that whatever you are selling is absolutely necessary. Do not come up with terms such as faster and better… it is now survival time. Companies do not seek a solution, but a rescue from the collapse, and unless that is what you sell, you better not bother. This requires a new attitude towards selling: provocative based selling. The seller must bluff and hope the buyer falls for it. The intention is for the seller to be seen as the savior-in-distress, the wonder-doctor (note: no quack, trust is essential).

It starts with finding the issues that keep the CEO awake at night and threaten the survival of the company. There is always budget available for solving those kind of issues. This does mean that the issues are still elusive and indefinable to the customer. These are new problems from which in their MBA education they have never heard.

Step two is to formulate a provocation to attract attention. You must come up with a miracle product that you then should pitch with the right person… namely the budget holder.

This reminds me of an old management theory to get people moving; in times of great insecurity, one should offer a vision of security and when customers are very confident, show them a risk that makes them insecure. In these times of financial crisis the first situation applies. People are uncertain, do not know what to do and are open to solutions, but do not have the time for experimentation or comparing different solutions in an extensive vendor selection.

Hopefully this offers some inspiration for the salespeople and account manager in these difficult times. Cheer up, you do know that a sale always starts with ‘NO’ right?

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One Comment on “Why you should be provocative when selling”


  1. I agree with many of the ideas expressed in this presentation, but the characterization of Solution Selling is just flat-out wrong. For a detailed examination, see this post: http://bit.ly/19tHyX


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