To the military strategists position is a crucial element in any campaign plan. The general who doesn’t know where he or she is in relation to the enemy – whether in terms of geography, knowledge of forces, lines of supply, weather, or other factors — is simply setting people up to be killed. On the battlefield, being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be a fatal error because no matter how brilliantly an army may perform in a face to face encounter it will never get a fair chance to do so if its leaders don’t know where they are or if they’re marching off in the wrong direction.
The same principle applies in selling. In account strategy, positioning is the name of the game. What ‘setting a strategy’ really means is doing whatever you have to do to put yourself in the best position to accomplish a particular objective or set of objectives. Of course this can entail a great deal. It can involve all aspects of your selling situation physical, psychological, economic with regard to a given account or prospect and a given sale objective. Fully understanding your current position means knowing who all your players are, how they feel about you, how they feel about your proposal what questions they want to have answered, and how they see your proposal vis-à-vis their other options. It means in short having a reliable fix on all of your strong and weak points before each selling encounter even begins.
But even if you’re foggy on some of these points, even if you’re unclear about your position, you nonetheless have a strategic position. You always have a position and for that reason you always have a strategy, whether or not you can articulate what it is. If you’re not certain where you stand with regard to a given account, you are or soon will be lost and that will be your position.
To avoid the perilous situation of being positioned in the great unknown, the first thing you need to do with each account is to make your current position visible. Just as a general would find a fix on a map, you have to fix on a map you have to fix yourself within your current sales situation, so that you will fully understand where you’re coming from you’re going to do that now, with regard to a specific account and a specific sales objective.
First you need to pick the account or prospects. We don’t want you to select one in which everything is