In case you haven’t heard, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had a pretty decent season. (Being from Denver, I’m following this pretty closely, of course.) The future Hall-of-Famer threw for 5,477 yards (an all-time NFL record), completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, and accounted for 55 passing touchdowns (another NFL record).
OK, so Manning (and his team) had an unbelievable season — one of the greatest ever by a quarterback, according to many pundits.
But here’s the thing — all of those numbers will largely mean nothing to Manning and his Denver teammates if they don’t cap this season with a Super Bowl title. And there are certainly a handful of excellent teams — namely, the New England Patriots and Manning’s arch nemesis Tom Brady — still alive in the NFL playoffs that would love to make sure the Broncos aren’t holding the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 2 in New York.
Being the top dog isn’t always the cakewalk it appears, is it?
For the Broncos to survive this season and fend off lesser teams that would’ve loved nothing more than to knock off the best, they’ve had to remain extremely focused on the moment and resist the temptation to become complacent. After all, as the Patriots proved against the Broncos in November, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win unless the final whistle has sounded.
That’s a key lesson for salespeople who might feel comfortable about where they stand with their prospects. Even if you feel like the clear frontrunner, letting your guard down simply gives another company or salesperson the opportunity they needed to come in and steal an account that you should have won.
To avoid that, you have to remain dedicated to delivering consistent, high-value attention to your prospects until the proverbial ink is dry on the contract. Unfortunately, that’s not always an easy thing to remember to do if you haven’t built in a step for it in the sales process.
So, what should you do to take control of your situation and maintain momentum as you wait for the prospect — or their board — to sign off on a final proposal?
Really focus on the individual prospect and their situation by giving them the attention they need to make a decision in your favor. For instance:
- Call or leave a voicemail with a new idea that’s occurred to you, or with information that you think would further cement your position as the frontrunner.
- Send a blog article that’s highly specific to the prospect’s unique situation, and delivers key insight that helps them overcome a hurdle in their buyer journey.
- Deliver an update that lets the prospect know what you’re doing on their behalf, such as preparing a proposal, researching their issue, or talking with clients who have experienced similar pains.
The basic point here is that in order to remain a frontrunner, you have to proactively find relevant reasons to stay in that position. You have to maintain momentum, show your prospects what it will really be like to work with you, and continue to be aware of any competitive threat that could undermine all your hard work.
If Manning and the Broncos manage to do that on Sunday, they’ll earn a trip to the Super Bowl. If you do it with your prospects, you’ll win a heck of a lot more business.