Heed sales advice with context

Context is almost everything when selling in B2B sales and in life, really….It’s quite possibly the most important thing when dealing with new or current customers. If you don’t know or have proper context with your customers you will most likely lose.

Closing. Pitching. Selling. Persuasion. Influence. Tactics and on and on and on….None of it matters unless the context is understood and has been defined. I probably spend more time thinking about situational context with my customers than anything else because I truly believe it’s the most important thing. Having context requires patience, humility and attention to detail. It requires selfless behavior, which almost always rewards in the end. It’s the recipe to win the long game…and that’s the game worth winning.

Without context you become tone deaf. Your ability to connect with people decreases dramatically and whatever value propostition or potential influence you once had will vanish. Hopefully these examples make it clear:

  • Introducing your company, yourself and what problems you solve on a first appointment with a customer before discussing any business…that’s having context.
  • Resisting attempts to introduce another product or service before you’ve solved a current problem with a product or service…that’s having context.
  • Finding ways to work with your customers that DO NOT involve your products or services…that’s having context.
  • Being fully engaged in business situations that do not immediately benefit you…that’s having context.
  • Understanding interpersonal dynamics within an organization and how company size and structure affect these dynamics and affect how you will sell within them…that’s having context.
  • Asking your customers if there is (a process) and what the process is when adding new products and services. Then using that information to your advantage…that’s having context.

You may already do a lot of these things. But being more aware of when you create context and being more senstive to when you understand it will help you deploy it more often. And that’s a skill worth having in sales. At least if you want to win the long game.