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2nd Again? Maybe You're the Fluffer!

Are you the fluffer?

No, we’re not talking about the definition on Wikipedia. We are referring to the sales use (watch the movie Unfinished Business) of the term fluffer in which you earn a spot as a finalist for a presentation with virtually no chance of winning. The fluffer is the pre-determined loser, designed to keep the pre-determined winner in competitive check.

How do you know when you are the fluffer? Having completed hundreds of win/loss analyses, we can see patterns emerge within companies. It’s not what you know that makes you the fluffer, it is what you don’t know. Here are just a few of the signs that you may be the fluffer:

  1. The dialogue is completely controlled by the customer

  2. You were the second choice for the timeslot of whether to present first or last

  3. The customer will not tell you who the other finalist(s) are

  4. You cannot clearly articulate the customer’s decision criteria nor decision process

  5. You really cannot distinguish the key decision maker from the key decision influencers

  6. You have not secured the critical concerns and objectives of each of the team members

  7. You have not had sufficient access to “monetize” your solution

Is your company serving as a fluffer? Can you answer this question quantitatively and qualitatively? Done a deep dive on your win/loss analysis lately? It is time to take action.

Complete a Win/Loss Analysis

Take a hard look at your pipeline and what you have won and lost. Unfortunately, most CRM platforms ask the sales rep to select why they lost a deal from a drop down menu. These choices typically include “price,” which is the easiest way for the sales rep to assume no personal accountability. Our research shows that only 4%** of customers buy exclusively on price, yet it shows up over 60% of the time in our win/loss analysis. No one wants to admit they lost a deal for any other reason! If you don’t have the proper gates in your pipeline process, you will be the fluffer more often than not.

Leverage an Independent Third Party

Regrettably, most sales reps and sales leaders are not objective. No change. No change. If you don’t change the way you do things, then nothing will change.

Consider using an outside firm like Butler Street to conduct a Win/Loss analysis including a Post Mortem with each customer that was won and lost. That’s right, go direct to the source. Talking with the key decision maker (“KDM”) – especially the KDM – is critical to understanding what happened. This is much more successful when you engage an independent third party. The output will include 10 reasons for winning and losing a deal. You can then build your training and pipeline process around these key factors and dramatically improve your win ratios. More often than not, the KDM will say, “You should contact our head of sales and do the same for us. I am sure we’re losing more opportunities than we are winning.” They appreciate the value and investment you are making in improving your company.

That is the best way we know to prevent your company from being the fluffer. Click on CONTACT and let us help you move from second to first!

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