Do You Know How to Create a Win-Win Sales Strategy? | Clarke Inc. Creative Marketing & Print Communication
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Do You Know How to Create a Win-Win Sales Strategy?

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If you think a 25%-sales win rate is acceptable, you might be a snake oil salesman.

If you think sales is more about problem solving, you might be a great salesman.

If you practice a win-win sales strategy you might be in the top 20% of sales producers.

Win-win selling is about designing a relationship highly beneficial to both the buyer and the seller. For example, when we notify our clients about possible savings with bundled printing, they win because they save on costs. We win because we’ve earned more revenue on a sale we might not have gotten otherwise, and still have a good profit margin.


Win-win selling does not always mean dropping the price (win for the client) to get the sale (win for the business). It’s understanding your client’s needs, satisfying those needs, and fulfilling your promises while still making a profit. It means gaining a customer you like, and they accomplish their goals or overcome their challenges.

Some people think win-win selling is like compromising, meaning each party must modify their original expectations for the sale. But that’s not always true. Both sides can come out ahead if they mutually seek to do so.

The best approach is to demonstrate ROI. Done well, you can even increase your profit margin without them questioning your price. Most businesses will happily pay a lot of money to make more or lose less if there is sufficient evidence working with you will make it happen.

The most typical win-win scenario I see with B2B companies is a partnership relationship. Not one legally on paper, but two companies who buy from each other and refer business to each other regularly. You can’t do this with every customer, but finding and nurturing a chosen few can do a lot over time.

We approach our sales process with a long-term perspective. So, win-win scenarios are best. We want to be the customer’s go-to years from now.

  1. Be approachable

This can be difficult for seasoned sales reps who are always looking to sell, sell, sell. Being approachable means giving the prospect time to talk about their needs and listening. You aren’t desperate for the sale but proceed confidently in closing deals with prospects who are the right fit for the win-win outcome.

How to be approachable:

  • Be genuine
  • Invite conversation
  • Get back to people if they leave a voice message, email, or text
  • Maintain a positive, helpful attitude

If you are good at interacting with people, you’ve probably got the basics listed above covered. Here are a few more advanced tips:

  • When asking about their challenges, use follow-up questions to gain clarity. A client’s first answer isn’t always the root of their problem. You need the full story to respond appropriately later on.
  • Listen when the client is talking. Resist thinking about what you’re going to say next or thinking about the perfect solution. Instead, determine what motivates them or would cause them to stall in the sales process (red flags).
  • Understand their goals. People find it easy to talk about their problems, but you can’t help them change course without talking about their goals. Ask how they will measure results and the desired timeframe. Ask what will happen if they don’t reach their goals.

Being approachable means you are actively in the mindset of helping them, rather than in the mindset of how you can sell to them. It pays off because you build trust with the client, making future sales much easier.

  1. Be the Right Solution

You want prospects coming to you when they have a problem to solve. Rarely do they seek precisely what you are selling. They may not even be aware of what you offer, but have a general idea of what you can do.

When people ask upfront for you to explain your service or product, stop. Don’t fall into the trap of allowing them to qualify your business on a short conversation. Instead, say you might be able to help, and then ask them to explain their needs first along with why it’s important.

Your goal is to position yourself in selling so they feel good about the deal long after the sale. Throughout the process, you mutually build trust. If you do have the right solution, they will buy from you. If you don’t have what they need, then it’s good to part ways.

By being the right solution, you not only sell products, but you sell your client the “right” product. You are not “a” solution, but the “right” solution. Set up your win-win opportunities by:

  • Identifying all your client’s needs before addressing them with the products or services you sell.
  • Determining a price that is good for you and reasonable for them. The key here is to focus more on the value you provide rather than the dollar amount.
  • Removing buyer remorse (make them feel confident in their decision on the product, but by building their confidence in you as a trusted advisor).
  • Fulfilling each promise that you make. That means deadlines and deliverables.
  • Always telling them the truth.
  • Don’t make promises you cannot keep.
  • Do provide an answer to questions even if it is “I don’t have a solution for that.”
  • Do follow up with a solution, even if it is not your product.
  • Don’t leave them hanging.

  1. Make Sure Your Team is Winning

Most of this post has covered how you can ensure the delivery of value to prospective customers. And, I’ve made the point that earning more revenue is not necessarily a win for the business or you as a salesperson. You want quality customers.

As you develop a relationship in the sales process, you are assessing if they will be easy to work with and are the most profitable. Bad customers are a huge time-drain, and it impacts the morale of your workplace.

  • Is the prospect in a vertical or industry preferred by your business?
  • Are the key people involved in the business relationship capable of maximizing it (have the competence and the time)?
  • Has communication been respectful and unhampered up to this point? If they are jerking you around during the sales process, it won’t change as a customer.
  • Are their practiced values as a business or person (the way they do things and engage with others) in alignment with your company’s values?


Win-win selling is about you as much as it is about your clients. When you focus your sales approach on achieving a win for your client, you are going to see how you can win at the same time too. That relationship turns into repeat business, larger orders, recommendations, and referrals. Looking beyond what’s in it for you “right now” is central to successful win-win selling.

Do you have a fourth Win-Win strategy to share?  Post it in the comments box below.

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Victor Clarke

Victor began a 30+ year career in sales and marketing with Xerox Corporation following his graduation from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has sold copiers, word processing systems, computers, print, mail and graphic design. In addition, he advanced from a street wise sales person, to the Director of Federal, State, Local and Education Sales, to the owner of his own company. He has been the owner of Clarke, Inc. for 20+ years evolving it from a dedicated print shop to an inbound and outbound marketing firm. We deliver epic marketing truth every day for our clients. We provide real solutions for real businesses. If you want the marketing pretty boys, we’re not it.

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