CHAPTER 1

Seeing the Invisible

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

—often attributed to Charles Darwin

“Know this about yourself: there is only one reason professional salespeople lose orders. They are OUTSOLD,” began our first book, Power Base Selling, in 1990. Assessing over 28,000 sellers and coaching more than 50,000 competitive deals since then affirms that the best sellers are politically astute, driven to provide significant value to customers, and strategically competitive, as a matter of habit.

The best sellers win because how they sell increases the value of what they sell. In fact, how they sell adds value for their customers and for their own company, beyond the value inherent in their company’s product, price, and brand, as shown in Figure 1.1. Even without product superiority or price parity, the best sellers outsell their competition and please their customers. They are a source of competitive advantage for their company and are compensated accordingly. And you can be, too!

Figure 1.1: Maximizing Sources of Competitive Advantage

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Most sellers do not gain clarity about their customers’ informal political structure—the Power Base—that really makes an organization run. At the same time, they focus on only their customer and do not engage their competition. Without insight into politics ...

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