Sales Tips: Don’t Shy Away from Turmoil – Embrace It

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®

Most salespeople shy away from turmoil. I’m suggesting you embrace it and outsell your competition!

When you’re trying to engage with a prospect and everything is going great but they have no need for your product or service, or when things are not going well and your product or offering is exactly what they need in order to address their problem(s)… When do you think they might be most receptive?

triggering event is an event whose consequences are so significant that it would cause an organization to change how they operate. Generally, triggering events fall into one of three (3) categories. 

  1. Awareness. The prospect becomes aware of a need to change for legal, risk-avoidance or economic reasons. For example, the Affordable Care Act (referred to as ObamaCare) required businesses and individuals to provide or acquire healthcare coverage or incur a financial penalty assessed by the IRS. This caused companies to change how they operated.

  2. Bad Experience. The prospect has had a bad experience with a product or service, with people, or with a provider. For instance, there may have been a change in a product or service that has caused the prospect organization to become unhappy.

  3. Change or transition. The prospect experiences a change or transition in people, place or priorities. For example, there may have been a change in executive leadership. I personally look for changes in ‘sales leadership.’ The announcement of a new Vice President of Sales could indicate that an underperforming sales team has been given a new leader who has some performance difficulties that need to be addressed – and addressed quickly. That is the perfect opportunity for me and for the new Vice President.

sales opportunityWhy are triggering events significant?
They represent an opportunity for you as a salesperson if you recognize them and can help your prospect to successfully manage the change. How? The event may indicate that the status quo in an organization is changing. Existing vendor relationships may have been disrupted. The organization has to consider changing how they currently operate. Someone in the company (the hope is that it is a person you are targeting) has a new goal, problem or need that they have to address. Therefore, it is immediately pertinent to the individual you are trying to reach or engage with. Given the significance, action is required now, not later – NOW!

Here is a secret. Most salespeople, especially your competitors, don’t recognize the opportunity. Nor do they understand how to use a triggering event to their advantage. They are afraid of the turmoil. This advantage allows you to develop timely and relevant Sales Ready Messaging® in a personalized manner that is aligned to the specific needs of your prospects. As a result, you end up with two (2) advantages: 

  1. YOU will be the first to identify the opportunity and help your prospect, which enables you to help define the parameters of the project (in your favor, of course).

  2. By the time a competitor recognizes the opportunity or has been called in for a comparative proposal, the prospect will have invested substantial effort in building a trusting relationship with YOU, giving YOU the competitive edge.

For more on triggering events, where to find them, how to use them to improve your prospecting skills and WIN rate, I suggest you pick up a copy of my book, The CustomerCentric Selling® Field Guide to Prospecting and Business Development from It’s available in electronic or textbook format. Or better yet, enroll in the public CustomerCentric Selling® workshop I will be personally instructing in Denver, June 6-9th.

Sales Training Workshop - Denver, June 2017