I was leading a prospecting workshop, when I was hit with one of those “Silver Bullet” questions.

A student asked, “Randy, net it out for me.. what do we REALLY need to be successful in sales?"

This is a legit question. And the answer took me some time to formulate.

WARNING: Read to the end for a Self-Assessment, you may not be ready for the answers.

Of course, (no surprise if you know me) I began a long, detailed answer that didn’t really answer the question in a consumable way, so we put it on hold.

As the day progressed, I continued to search for the best answer. I could have answered with concepts of sales process, pre-call research, value articulation, etc. There's a long list of potential answers!

But he asked me to net it out. So, that night as I worked in my hotel room, the answer came to me.


Drum roll please…

There are 4 Cs you must master to kill it in sales. Not much more, certainly not less. They are:

1. Create Confidence

You’ve heard it a thousand times but many reps really don’t understand the concept. Your prospect ‘buys’ you first. They buy your confidence. Confident that you can navigate this process and bring them to the outcomes they seek. In the eyes of yours prospects, you are more important than the company you work for and the products you sell.

Why this matters: Without confidence in you, risk increases. Risk is the second most powerful force in the decision process. It’s up to you to reduce it. Your propects will always choose the solution with the lowest risk.

2. Competency

Contrary to what so many tell you, when it comes to killing it in sales, you DO need to be the smartest person in the room. At least in the areas related to your prospect’s market. You must have mastery of your solutions and clearly articulate the impact your solution will have. Can you create an outcome that your prospect can emotionally and rationally attach to? This isn’t for the novice. It requires real expertise.

Why this matters: Your competency is the basis for establishing and defining the value of your solution. The business impact is what your prospect ultimately pays for.

3. Commitment

You MUST have a committed process in your approach to work. This includes how you time block your calendar to maximize Productivity and minimize Leeches. This includes having a prospect follow up plan that goes far beyond what you think the pursuit cycle should be and is multi-channel (new blog soon on this concept). How you control and allocate your precious resource of time is everything.

Why this matters: Without a committed process to control your sales activities, you will end up being reactive and controlled by others.  Frustration will abound!

4. Caring for the Client

So often overlooked, this may be the most important element of the four. Prospects have real problems that cause them emotional distress. And yet many reps are focused on themselves, their product and getting the deal done.

Your prospect doesn’t care about YOUR needs. They want help from someone who has genuine interest and concern for their problems and a desire to guide them to a solution that delivers real outcomes. Don’t miss this opportunity to stand out.

Why this matters: You can smell it a mile away: a sales rep with commission breath. So can your prospect. Until they believe that you care about them and solving their very real problems, they simply won’t be open to your ideas.


Before you write off these 4 concepts as ‘too basic and beneath me’, I have a challenge for you in the form of a self-assessment.

Reflect on the last 5 deals you lost.

Rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 for each of the 4 areas above.

To win repeatedly, you need to be at least a ‘7’ on all four of these.  Pretty revealing, eh! I guarantee you were very low on at least one or two of these.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what you think. It matters what your prospect perceives. Don’t kid yourself to think differently. Sometimes you need to Run to the Truth™.


Until next time...




Randy is President and Co-Founder of Span the Chasm, a firm focused on driving sustainable sales growth for companies and sales teams. He’s a seasoned Sales Master, with 28 years of success in Sales and Product Management, Consulting and Training.