Why do so many business providers struggle to reach their growth potential? Why when there is real market need for their quality business solutions and services do they find it so difficult to gain market traction? For many the answer lies in a change of approach - a considered realignment with the needs of the customer and a move away from the “tried & tested” but all too often badly “jaded and ineffective” sales techniques. The time for playing the “numbers game” and pitching to anyone who will listen is long gone. Providers of key business solutions need to engage qualify & connect with their prospects and customers on a different level. In order to gain sufficient credibility and mindshare (not to mention business), they have to get inside their customers’ minds, see things from their perspectives and provide creative, constructive and viable input. Few would disagree that the primary purpose of any business is the generation of profit and growth. Yet many invest far more in developing products and services than they do in exploiting their business potential. Like any other commercial discipline there is a science to effective sales and it has very little to do with “pitching your wares”. Successful companies take a far smarter approach to driving their business results. Senior business people no longer want to be sold to (assuming they ever did!). They have no time to consider “solutions” pitched by vendors with little understanding or concern for the pressing business issues they face. Senior influencers and decision makers look instead for intelligent “contributor vendors” who take the time and effort to truly understand their business needs, long before they ever attempt to offer a potential solution. In this fast changing world, “if we always do what we always did, we will be extremely lucky if we even get as much as we used to get”. We must embrace change to merely survive and undergo transformation to thrive. Many of the primary selling approaches and methods that used to work are considerably less effective in today’s business world. Relationship still counts, however it only one dimension of a multi-dimensional paradigm. There are a considerable number of key factors behind any major buying decision; from fear of change to fear of stagnation; from fear of blame to a desire for kudos; from a vague wish list to a cast iron business case, etc. The dynamics behind the mix of personal and corporate attitudes, motivations, politics, cultures, behaviours, open and hidden agenda’s, and so on create an extremely complex minefield for salespeople to navigate. The reality is that most when left to their own devices will keep on bidding if not totally blind then certainly partially so, despite their poor chances of success. They may well be working hard, but are they working smart?