Whenever a sale closes, I like to understand why we won or lost the deal. So I’ll ask the decision maker what pushed them one direction or another. They’ll frequently say “The decision was really difficult. Each competitor was very strong in their unique way,” and the deciding factor is often something so subtle and nuanced that it would be easy to overlook.

Sales are often won or lost on the very narrowest of margins; the market is full of active, qualified competition, and they’re always working on preparing well and getting better, just like we are. It’s a game of inches, much like many professional sports. The huge, blowout wins are rare; it’s much more likely that a game – or a sale – is won because of precision, small details, and the results of continuous work and improvement.

To increase the narrow margin between winning and losing, I’m always actively looking for ways to improve my game. I read books, subscribe to LinkedIn groups, and listen to podcasts. I test and try new software. Along the way, I might uncover a useful insight about refining a sales process, a better sales technique, or a better technology that can give me that slim advantage to win the business.

But one of the most powerful things I’ve discovered is how many sales are won or lost based on the small details that are captured in the day-to-day conversations we have with our prospects.

It’s not about fancy-sounding theories from the sales gurus, or generic process improvements based on “best practices”. Instead, it’s the age-old art of listening – carefully – so we can capture and understand the sales narrative, or the entire story of a sale from the first conversation to the last. The heart of every deal is in that ongoing communication between a salesperson and their prospective buyer, and too often, it’s easy to miss the most important details that can make the difference between a “yes” and a “no, thank you”.

Everyone appreciates a salesperson who truly wants to help solve a problem. That means asking great questions, using active listening techniques, and demonstrating interest and curiosity about your prospect’s business. Worry less about what you’re going to say and more about what your prospect is telling you and they’ll always make time for you.

Then, carefully and consistently write down or record those conversations and take solid notes. That record of your sales narrative becomes a treasure trove of critical information, and might just help surface the detail, the angle, or the solution that you need to win a deal.

Sales narratives aren’t necessarily flashy, but they’re the backbone of every successful deal (or the key to understanding the ones you don’t win). If you want to consistently win the game of inches, the details matter – and a clear, documented sales narrative is the place to start.

If you agree that sales are often won or lost by the thinnest of margins, I’d like you to consider taking Traq.ai for a spin. We’re looking for high-performing salespeople who embrace the importance of a rich sales narrative and want to use AI to revolutionize their sales conversations. Check how Traq.ai works.