Repeat After Me: a MAP is NOT about YOUR SALE

This article is written by Ashleigh Early, who has a decade of experience building and re-building SDR and Inside Sales teams. She is also the co-host of “The Other Side of Sales” which is focused on promoting sales cultures where anyone can thrive.

There’s a common misconception that sales is about…selling. It isn’t. The true secret to sales is finding people who need you. Then not scaring them off before they give you the money. And then making sure they’re happy so they give you more money later. So if you want to sell you don’t need to “sell” someone on your product – you need to find someone who needs you.

To do that – which we fully acknowledge isn’t easy – you have to start by talking to people. Sometimes a LOT of people. Asking a lot of questions about them.  Asking what they care about, how they make decisions, what’s on their mind at any given time.

This is where most sales pros get a little lost. Notice the pronouns used in the last paragraph? Were the majority of the pronouns about the seller or the prospect? You guessed it – the focus is the prospect. Not the seller – or even the seller’s solution.

Everything is about the prospect. Which is as it should be. 

Congrats! You’ve identified a prospect who needs your product – or at least likely needs your product. Now comes the “not scaring them off before they give you the money”, and now your focus shifts to your product.

Just kidding!

It’s still ALL. ABOUT. YOUR. PROSPECT. The moment your focus shifts to your deadlines, your quota, your needs, you will lose the prospect because they don’t appreciate being pressured. 

The best thing to do is come together in a partnership and build out a Mutual Action Plan (MAP).


Why do I need a MAP to close a deal?

MAPs are the best way to navigate complex sales processes as a partnership focused on one goal – solving the prospect’s problem. 

A MAP is an opportunity to “lay all the cards on the table” and get concrete deliverables from both sides to ensure not only your product solves their problem, but also that neither party invests unnecessary time or energy if this isn’t going to get to the finish line.

When a MAP is developed and executed properly the prospect can trust the process without concern about being coerced or rushed into a decision. They see that their problem is at the core of the process and that you, Ms. Seller, really understand that pain and can help them solve it.


Okay, the MAP is about the buyer – but how does this help me?

First – if you don’t solve the buyer’s problem, you won’t close the deal. Period.

But once you know the problem, without a MAP, getting an accurate close date forecast is next to impossible. 

Prospects don’t care about quotas, when the quarter ends (unless they think they can get a better deal), or even hearing about each and every one of your product features. It doesn’t matter how nice you are, who invested, or invented your solution, or how you’re different from the competition. They care about their problem and finding a solution to it, on their timeline. If the prospect isn’t clear that you share that focus, every move you make will be treated with skepticism and slow down the sale.

In the discovery process, you confirmed there is a problem you potentially can solve. Executing the MAP means you understand their problem AND their Process, People and Priorities. It also means you’re involving the buyer so it’s a collaboration – not a demonstration.

When the buyer is engaged, knows the process is centered on them, and they’re actively involved, it’s easy to keep the process moving. No more prospects going dark! They know what they have to do to keep the process moving and you’re keeping their eye on the prize because the MAP shows them exactly what they will achieve if they follow through. It’s not signing a contract, it’s their solution with ROI built-in. No more deals slipping unexpectedly – because you have open channels of communication to evaluate the status and discuss changes.


But what if trying to solve their problem kills the deal?

Let’s be frank – if you’re not actually solving a problem for your prospective client you’re not selling. You’re schilling. Sales pros don’t manipulate people into buying something they don’t need. Sales pros don’t sell products that don’t solve a problem. That’s for con artists.

You’re not a con artist.

It’s easy to be self-absorbed when conducting a sales cycle. We get it. You have a number that dictates whether you can make your car or student loan payment. But the moment you switch your focus from your goal to their problem and keep it there, that’s the moment you take control of the sales cycle.

Does that mean you will “lose” more deals? It may seem like that at first, however, what you’re actually doing is disqualifying bad deals, earlier.

This means your overall close rate will improve as you find buyers trust you quicker and participate more actively without your constant chase for updates.

So by making the MAP all about your buyer you’ll spend less time chasing them down, close at a higher rate than ever, and create a more positive experience for the buyers (hello customer loyalty).

Still think a MAP would be better if it focused on your sale? 

Enjoy your visit to discountville on the last day of the month because that’s the only tool you’ll have left to make a sale.


Teams that use DealPoint close more deals, have a super accurate forecast and enjoy all the benefits of mutual trust & transparency between buying team and selling team.

So what do you want your next quarter to look like? Let’s talk. 

Download your copy of our Mutual Action Plan template