The Playbook

Actionable insights, tips and perspectives for accelerated sales teams.

Wanting a Sale Versus Needing a Sale

As we near the end of the first quarter of a standard fiscal year, countless B2B sales professionals are feeling a bit of downward pressure. Maybe they’ve got a few deals on the table that haven’t signed. Or maybe their pipeline is stalled beyond belief. Regardless of the specific situation, they often need to close a sale before quarter’s end. And that’s very different from wanting to close business.

Needing a Sale

We’ve all seen need: aggressive tactics that are actually more desperate than anything else. The sales rep that needs business calls his or her prospects incessantly. They send follow-up email after follow-up email. They do all this in an “are you interested?!”way rather than providing any sort of value or insight. Instead of inviting a prospect to take a look at, say, some hand-curated articles relevant to the future of their business, they’re only interested in inking the singular deal. When a rep needs a deal, they’re not concerned with a long-term relationship. After all, they’ve got a quota—and in the moment, long-term means nothing.

Want-Sale-Need-Sale

When a rep takes the “need the deal” approach, they’re setting themselves up for failure. From a tactical perspective, a needy rep will almost always irritate the prospect. But if by some divine intervention the prospect converts, they are almost immediately handed off. No relationship development, listening, or trust. The rep that needs a sale is reactive and thus incapable of doing much more than moving on to the next target they need to land in order to save their own you-know-what.

Wanting a Sale

But then there’s the rep who takes an approach that is more about want than need. When you’re not in need mode, you’re able to take a holistic view of a prospect, their business, their role, their concerns… the whole picture. When you want to close a deal, you want to help your prospect’s business. If that intent is effectively communicated, the prospect is going to react more positive than with the rep that needs their business. So instead of a barrage of unrequited emails, a want-oriented rep will deliver the right value at the right time. What does that value look like? It looks like a third-party research report that helps a prospect figure out what questions they need to be asking. It’s an invite to a webinar that educates without selling. It’s a case study illustrating how a company of similar size solved a similar problem.

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Will downward pressures like quotas always exist? Of course. And will those pressures always produce “I need to make this deal” scenarios? Without a doubt. But the more reps can focus on wanting to make a sale versus needing to, the better their customer relationships will be long term. And that will almost always translate into new revenue opportunities within a client.