Second Place

We recently worked with several producers who were frustrated and disappointed that they were getting “their unfair share of second place”.

We used this opportunity to conduct some case studies that revealed some interesting common factors, a pattern of activities and even some false beliefs.

Here is a short summary of our findings – see if any of these could be true for you.  Of course, we’ve given you an assignment for each point.

  1. Improper identification of the prospect’s objectives. Are their objectives clearly defined? Are they meaningful to your prospect? Are they measurable? If the objectives are not clear, can you define them on behalf of your prospect? Without clearly defined objectives to achieve, the prospect generally decides on the basis of price, price and (did I mention?) cost and not on the terrific products, options, services and commitment you are offering.

Your assignment: Identify at least five objectives for each prospect you are working on right now. Go back to those prospects; explain their objectives to them and, if appropriate, put the objectives in writing.  By the way, you get two objectives for free – Competitive Price and Pro-active Service.  What are the other three?

  1. Is the buyer enthusiastic about hiring you? Have you gauged this enthusiasm?  Is there energy evidenced by the prospect’s responsiveness and activities in working with you and your team? What are the “no buy” signals?

Your assignment: This one is really a gut check. Is the prospect energized about working with you?  Yes, No or I don’t know and better find out.

  1. Improper identification of the actual decision maker.  We could write a book on this one (Oh, we did!).

Your assignment:  Have you ever asked the question “Who else is on the team with you making this decision?”

  1. The inability of the prospect to fire the existing relationships. We have discussed this many times in our prior newsletters.

Your assignment:  Can you make the following statement to each of your prospects?  Something like – “I have no easy way to say this but we are talking about firing your existing agent and probably your existing underwriter. Are you going to be able to do that?”

  1. The “ka-ching” factor (we made this sales term up all by ourselves!) This happens when our emotions are all fired up and we honestly believe “we won this one”. You can already hear the cash register ringing (“ka-ching”!)   This is another gut check because when we have that overly optimistic winning feeling, we are likely to miss something, like points 1 through 4 above. To use a sports analogy – we lose our fastball. Something gets by us – we make an error in judgment, we ignore other factors with this opportunity, we do not follow up enough and we may even stop asking questions.

Your assignment:  Do you have that prospective account that you “know, without a doubt, we’re going to land it”?  If so, stop that thinking immediately!  Look for the “no sale” signals that you are creating and where you may be diminishing your chances or missing an improvement on your strategy.

If you have other examples of second place, we’re always happy to hear from our subscribers – please contact us at

Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
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