All is fair in love and sales

All is fair in love and war (and sales?)

When layoffs are on the horizon, mortgages need to be paid and bonus targets hit; do rules go out the window? When reviewing sales reps performance across revenue intelligence and conversational intelligence tools, it seems that the best reps tend to bend the rules.

Let’s bring this back now, all is fair in love and war, this maxim can be dated back to 1579 and the poet John Lyly. The original quote was “The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.” This saying has taken on various permutations over the years with things like “all is fair in love and the world series”, or “all is fair on gameday”. In recent pop culture, Andie and Ben (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) are playing a game of true/false. Andie’s turn is up, and she poses this: “all is fair in love and war?” to which Ben says “true”.

So, this begs the question. Is all fair in love and war, and software sales? Maybe the new definition of fair is changing based on how artificial intelligence is deployed? 

Let’ dive in to break this down even more as we know how important software sales are… plus the tech stack you have – like conversational intelligence tools.

When to bend vs break?

Hidden pricing has become all the rage on websites these days. Request a quote, contact sales… the language used in the call to action doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the person who wants pricing information has to give up their information to get it.

Is this tactic fair?

It depends upon which side of the zoom call you are on. For sales reps, not having public-facing pricing is a game-changer.

Maybe your company prices are based upon volume, but your prospect wants to start with a smaller tier. Well, that doesn’t account for the “big ass company” tax that should be applied because you know they are going to be difficult to work with. Or maybe, because you’ve been doing this long enough you know that procurement is instantly going to want 15% off the deal, so you automatically mark the deal.

When reviewing pricing for our next generation conversational intelligence tools (even ones like Abstrakt), we went back and forth on public facing pricing. Ultimately, we decided to be transparent about what is good for us right now, to let the world know how much Abstrakt costs (that might change).

What we gave up was the ability to bend the rules on pricing on a per situation basis. This is the difference between other revenue intelligence companies.

Maybe, you work for a startup company as a sales rep and your product isn’t as mature as some of your competitors? When reviewing your team’s calls in your conversational intelligence software you notice that one lacking feature seems to be the main sticking point.

Are you forthcoming with your prospects, or do you find a way to bend the experience in your favor? Maybe it’s a “clickable” mock demo environment via AdobeXD? Or maybe it’s an actual web-based application where the order in which things are clicked matters because nothing else works?

Is it worth the risk to move the needle?

Even More Proof

Another example might be related to the psychological approach taken to different situations.

For sales reps that are students of psychology, they might have an advantage. For example, knowing how to use various words, voice inflection techniques, and body language to manipulate potential prospects into the outcome they desire. In Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, he talks about the manner in which a question is asked and its impact on the response. “How do you think we should go about getting that contract signed by the end of month” is a lot different than “What stops us from getting this signed this month?”

Why is that different?

The difference is that it forces the recipient to think of all the steps necessary, which automatically exposes roadblocks and hurdles. Should we use psychological principles to manipulate our prospects? Maybe? Maybe not?

Just another interesting example of the rules of engagement not being so clear. We could go on and on about this as you can see. So what side are you going to take? Does it change based upon what you are selling?

So many questions to ask yourself!

Clear as mud

Ultimately, the decision to bend or break the rules with the goal of quota attainment in mind is only one each of us can make for ourselves. Some reps are able to make things very black and white, win deals and succeed. Others tend to live in the gray area, deploying various tools like real-time conversational intelligence tools to give them an unfair advantage over other revenue intelligence platforms.

Either way, this is what makes the world of sales so much fun.

If you’re looking for something to give you and sales team an advantage, check out Abstrakt. Our solution provides automated playbooks and real-time recommended responses to objections in 0.2 seconds.

Yes, it’s really that fast!


Tiffany Williams - SDR

Before joining Abstrakt, Tiffany had a very successful career as a Physical Therapist. As someone who selflessly looks to serve others, she is always looking to help her prospects by helping them understand how technology can enable their success.