The Power of Small-Wins Selling

From Paul Reilly

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Benjamin Franklin

Ask any salesperson about their greatest success and they’re happy to tell you the story. Although these successes have several common themes, there is one underlying theme. It is the ability to progress the sale forward through small wins.

Any salesperson can get excited about a big opportunity, the deal that no previous salesperson could close, or the highly visible opportunity that would have significant impact on the organization. Salespeople love the challenge and the thrill of the chase. It’s exciting. However, very few salespeople do what is necessary to fully capitalize on these opportunities. They are too enamored with big-win results but fail to put forth the big-win effort.

Salespeople too enamored with the big win tend to set the wrong benchmarks. When they fail to achieve these benchmarks, they become frustrated. Frustrated salespeople rarely perform at their best. Then, they give up on these opportunities. The key to staying motivated and winning the big deal is to shrink it by taking a small-wins approach.

In a small-wins approach, you identify where you are with an opportunity and where you would like to be. Along this sales journey, there are small wins to help you get to the desired state. Using a football analogy, you’re positioned on your twenty-yard line. The end zone is where you would like to be. To get to the end zone, you’ll need some first downs. The first-down markers are the small wins.

Small wins are a series of moderately significant events that produce a result. One or two small wins don’t really mean anything, but the combination of several small wins eventually lead to the big win.

Focusing on achieving small wins is what keeps salespeople motivated and engaged. The next time you’re pursuing a big opportunity, ask yourself the following questions to identify the small wins.

Where are we currently with this opportunity?

Where would we like to be?

In order for that to happen, what small wins do I need?

Big opportunities excite and inspire salespeople. Temper your excitement by focusing on small wins. Behind every big victory there is a series of small wins.

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