It’s difficult to play from behind when your buyers have already entered the buying cycle. Once they’ve decided that they’re dissatisfied and need to change and have started evaluating options, you’re already working from behind. If you think you can wait for your dream client to decide they need something before you start engaging with them, you’re incorrect.

It’s difficult to play from behind your competitors, too. Once they’ve managed to find their way to your dream client and have begun making connections, you’re already behind in the important job of relationship-building. If you think you can play catch up after your competitors have gotten the place wired, you’re going to learn just how difficult it can be to displace someone who has built strong relationships. Selling is built on relationships of value. You need to have built relationships before you really need them.

It’s difficult to play from behind when it comes to pricing. Once you’re at the end of your sales process and begin negotiating, it’s too late to start trying to define the value you create. To successfully maintain your pricing and your margins, you needed to build value and gain agreement on what you’re worth to your client early in the sales process. The only way you can push back against price challenges is if you’ve already gained that agreement. Sharpen your value creation or sharpen your pencil.

Selling is a game that’s best played from in front. Work in front of opportunities to help your dream clients understand their needs—and the solutions you can provide. Work in front of opportunities to create the relationships you need. Work in front of pricing by gaining agreement on the value you create before you sit down at the negotiating table.

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Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/