Hope is NOT a Strategy


Rick Page’s book, “Hope is Not a Strategy: The 6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale”, is a must-read for anyone in sales. The book focuses on the complexity of the modern-day sales process and highlights six key elements that are essential to winning complex sales. 

Hope is NOT a Strategy - 6 Key Elements

The book is structured around six key elements that are essential to successful selling:

  • Target Account Selling 
  • Proactive Prospecting
  • Competitive Positioning
  • Qualification
  • Strategy Development
  • Relationship Building

Things Have Changed in the Selling Environment

  • Product commoditisation: More and more products and services are being turned into commodities. Differentiation often lies in the extended solution, including services, integration, partnerships, supply chain, financing — or trust.
  • Customer relationship management is more complex
  • Business partnering. There are two types of business partnering. One is teaming with other firms to provide an integrated solution. The other is teaming with clients to solve problems for their customers or constituents.
  • Buyers prefer integrated solutions
  • Multi-departmental buying committees create shifting requirements and politics in ever-changing competitive evaluations,
  • Returning phone calls is becoming a rarity
  • New requirement late in the buying process.
  • Analysis paralysis. The client evaluates and evaluates but doesn’t move forward to a decision.
  • In order to link your solutions into the client’s business problem you must have an understanding of the industry, culture, competitors, clients, and politics.
  • It’s to the customer’s advantage to keep you in the dark and to keep at least three vendors in the hunt.
    They do this for: Due diligence, Price leverage and Safety net (If they can’t come to legal terms and conditions with their first choice, they will need a backup alternative) and sometimes a lack of courage to tell you you’re losing.
  • Because misinformation is such a critical part of the complex sale, anyone who takes one person’s opinion on anything will be a perpetual victim.
  • Control “doesn’t mean manipulation. It means understanding the client’s problem better, linking our solution to those problems in a better way, differentiating our solution in a professional manner, and earning trust by outperforming the competition.
  • Salespeople need a system that tells them, in advance, whether their strategy is winning and how to change their strategy in time if it is not.

This is where Rick's book comes in.

Target Account Selling

The first key element to winning complex sales is Target Account Selling.
This involves identifying your ideal customers and focusing your efforts on them.

According to Page, many salespeople make the mistake of trying to sell to everyone, which results in a scattergun approach and wasted resources. Instead identify the key decision-makers in an organisation and focus on building relationships with them.

R.A.D.A.R. ®

Page coined the term R.A.D.A.R. ® which stands for R.eading A.ccounts and D.eploying A.propriate R.esources.

The R.A.D.A.R approach is:

  • Link solutions to pain (or gain)
  • Qualify the prospect
  • Build competitive preference
  • Determine the decision-making  process
  • Sell to power
  • Communicate the strategic plan

and is covered in the 6 items below.

Proactive Prospecting

Proactive Prospecting involves identifying potential customers and reaching out to them before they start looking for solutions.

According to Page, proactive prospecting is essential because by the time a customer starts looking for solutions, they may have already made up their minds about what they want.

Proactive prospecting involves researching potential customers, understanding their needs and pain points, and reaching out to them with a tailored message that addresses their specific needs.

Competitive Positioning

Competitive Positioning is about understanding your competitors and positioning yourself in a way that differentiates you from them.

According to Page, many salespeople make the mistake of trying to sell on price alone, which results in a race to the bottom.

Competitive Positioning involves understanding your strengths and weaknesses relative to your competitors and positioning yourself in a way that emphasizes your strengths.


Qualification is when you determine whether a potential customer is a good fit for your solution.

Page recommends not trying to sell to everyone, especially if the customer is not a good fit for their solution.

Qualification involves understanding the customer's needs and pain points and determining whether your solution can meet those needs. It also involves understanding the customer's decision-making process and determining whether you have the resources and support to win the deal.

Strategy Development

You just don't win a sale by showing up.

In the summary of SPIN Selling on this site the author makes the point aboiut planning you r sales approach. Thinking beforehand about small wins you might be able to achieve to keep the sale moving forward.

Strategy Development means you have to develop a strategy to win the deal.

Page believes it's a mistake trying to wing it, as it often results in a lack of focus and wasted resources.

Strategy Development involves understanding the customer's decision-making process, identifying the key decision-makers, and developing a strategy to influence them. It also involves developing a clear value proposition that addresses the customer's needs and pain points and positions you as the best solution.

Relationship Building

The final key element is Relationship Building which involves building strong relationships with key decision-makers and influencers in the customer's organisation.

According to Page, many salespeople make the mistake of treating customers as transactions, rather than people.

Relationship Building involves understanding the customer's needs and pain points and building a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. It also involves staying in touch with the customer after the sale and continuing to provide value to them over time.

Of course, the first step in building relationships is to establish rapport.

But there's more ...

  • Effective sales leaders constantly make deposits and build networks of people inside their organizations and industry who help them get things done for the client (as well as themselves)
  • People with influence and no authority can be extremely powerful agents and important to unlocking the complex sale.
  • You need to begin mapping out the zones of influence from your first visit.


“Hope is Not a Strategy” by Rick Page is a valuable read for anyone in sales. Especially if they are involved in bigger sales.

The book provides practical advice on how to win complex sales by focusing on the six key elements: Target Account Selling, Proactive Prospecting, Competitive Positioning, Qualification, Strategy Development, and Relationship Building.

Page emphasises that sales professionals need to be proactive, strategic, and highly focused to succeed. The book provides a roadmap for salespeople to win complex sales by taking a systematic and disciplined approach to selling.

By following the six key elements outlined in the book, sales professionals can improve their sales results, win more deals, and build stronger relationships with their customers.

For a more detailed summary go here