You don’t win or lose in sales because you’re 50% better or 50% worse than your competition. You win or lose by tiny increments that add up throughout the entire sales cycle.

You were the most responsive vendor – Plus 1%

Your tender document was poorly laid out – Minus 1%

You went deep on your discovery and tailored your demo – Plus 1%

You failed to understand, manage and mitigate risk – Minus 1%

And so it goes, right throughout the sales process, these micro-moments occur and you either move forwards or backwards in the mind of your prospective customer.

But here’s the funny thing …

Most of the decision criteria being used to assess your company isn’t actually documented by the customer. We like to think as humans we make rational buying decisions, but much of the time we’re buying with our hearts and justifying with our heads.

Did they tick all of our functional requirements? – Head Sale

Who have they worked with previously that I know, that can vouch for them? – Heart Sale

Did their pricing proposal fit with our budget – Head sale

What will they be like to work with if the project hits a speed bump – Heart Sale

To be successful in sales … stop focusing on making the sale and instead focus on winning these 1% battles. Learn how to sell to the head and to the heart, if you want to create mindshare and wallet-share.

And please, above all else … don’t lose because of a lack of professionalism, ethics or attention to detail along the way. I can’t tell you how many times in the past 10 years, during Loss Review interviews with customers, my team and I have heard statements like …

“They pestered us so much, we eventually discounted them”
“They lied about their products functionality”
“They gave us reference customers who had a really bad experience with their product”
“They missed the basic SLA’s in our tender doc”
“We unanimously agreed that we would never work with them”


Cian McLoughlin is the Amazon #1 bestselling author of Rebirth of the Salesman, a regular keynote speaker at sales kick-off’s around the world and one of the Top 50 Sales bloggers in the world for the past 2 years. He is a passionate proponent of an ethical, honest and authentic approach to sales. His company, Trinity Perspectives, is committed to helping sales organizations unlock the latent potential of their customers’ insights with their Win Loss Analysis and Sales Transformation services. To read more of Cian’s sales articles visit

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