Anyone with an interest in running a successful business will at some stage as a child have enjoyed a competitive game of ‘Battleships’, or at least know about the game and its idea of shooting from a position of ‘best-guess’. The title of this book is a simple recognition that this is how most business marketing and sales is done. It’s not the best tactic, but it is the most commonly applied tactic during these essential tasks. This book aims to change that for you — the reader — and represents the equivalent of ‘taking a sneaky peek’ at the placement of your opponent’s battleships on the popular board game. It’ll help you up the odds in your favour and get you more results through less effort, by gaining a better understanding of the issues that affect the buying decisions of your audience. When I was playing the board game as a child, my brother was generous enough to remind me that taking a sneaky peek is, in fact, cheating. In my later role as a business coach, I can tell you that looking at where the opposition have placed their boats and working out how to shoot strategically from your own is a marketing ‘must do’. There’s something intrinsically fun about out-thinking the opposition and finding the best and most effective way of outmanoeuvring the other companies in your battlefield of business sales. In the following pages, we’ll take a look at some new marketing and sales strategies and give you a breakdown of what makes for a winning approach. My overall aim with this book is to take away some of the fears and frustrations that exist in your marketing and sales world. I want to help as many business folk as possible to create real success, while enabling them to have some fun in gaining their future customers. What makes this book a little different from most in the business advice world is that the principles and viewpoints I have applied in its pages come from both inside and outside the business world. Before becoming a businessman, I was a police officer for ten years, which taught me an awful lot about what makes people tick. Why people respond to something is influenced by a huge range of factors and how you communicate with them can have a significant impact on your likelihood of success. Within this book, I have blended the experiences I gained through policing, teaching, being a geologist and many more. Drawing together the various ideas and processes has taken a great deal of thought, but my intention was to create something different, practical and engaging. I want you to be able to read a few pages, take an idea and immediately go and use it. Having read countless books on the subject of sales, marketing and other business topics, my biggest realisation was the lack of immediate application that exists in so many. If, as I intended, you read this book and it leaves you with ideas to take away and get on with straight away, I’d love to hear from you. Using the ideas in this book, I have built a successful, award-winning business coaching company within the franchise of ActionCOACH. Through teaching them to my clients and running seminars, I have helped hundreds of business owners from various industry sectors to step it up a notch in their own companies and teams. In the next few chapters, you’ll discover your own key marketing and sales ideas from a completely different standpoint. As a result, you’ll be able to apply your own personality and individuality in business engagement, making you much more effective when contacting, meeting with, converting, and keeping new clients! This isn’t a book filled with step-by-step models, but instead I have included enough to give you the scaffolding around which to build your own strategies. You see, models and systems are great… but most of us resort to the instruction booklet as a last-ditch effort when we’ve tried every other approach and not got the results we would like. Take the TV for example. How many of us have picked up a new remote control and tried to use it like the old one? I have and I bet I’m not alone! The question is, why? If we had actually invested some time in learning the various functions and foibles of our new TV controller, we’d probably have mastered it much quicker and not ended up watching the Chinese version of X-factor whilst furiously tapping the ‘undo’ button and swearing loudly at the characters on screen! The point is, had we had the luxury (and amusement) of watching someone else go through this painful process, we probably would have learned from their mistake and avoided going through it ourselves altogether. This book, I hope, will help you learn from my own and others’ experiences and mistakes. It should enable you to be more effective more quickly, whilst also smiling smugly at the business owner across the street who is just picking up the remote control and a lesson in Mandarin as you turn the next page!