Yes, there is one.

But it's not about having the killer idea or the killer team or the killer technology... although undoubtedly all of those help significantly. It's not about being first to market, being the cheapest or the luxury or elite version. It's not about sector specialisms, niches or even being the one-stop-shop.

It's even not about how much you invest in marketing, SEO, PPC - and/or any amount of other smart acronyms and activities that come with eye-watering £££ signs and which seem to be the secret to the success of many of the wealthy, incumbent brands of our time.

It's a secret however, that many of those now wealthy and established brands realised quite some time ago. It's one that is shared by the inspiring cohorts of market-changing disruptor brands breaking through today's norms; those who are re-educating us about what we should now expect and how we should consume the things that we now realise we cannot live without.

It's really a very simple action that any business can achieve with great success: to sell better and to entice and retain customers, just listen to them.

As Steve Peters very aptly advises in his thought-provoking, best-selling read, The Chimp Paradox: 'calm your inner chimp'. Avoid jumping up and down excitedly with hard sell one-liners, copious and wordy slide-decks and sales 'power-speak'. 

Instead, take time to know your target customers, in their own words. Just as it's not generally a great approach to say 'snog me now!' the minute you meet someone on a date for the first time, the same is true for business relationships. Be measured and open-minded in your approach; seed the right conversations, bide your time and pay attention. What you hear will hold many, if not all, of the seeds for your own business success.

The excellent read by Steli Efti (co-founder and CEO of, which I've attached below, is a very helpful starting point for crafting a killer sales approach, from opening doors at the outset, all the way through to closing the deal on great terms. At its heart however, you'll find exactly the same advice as above. Listen. And listen really well. Because sales isn't about you or how much you want to say and it's not about you answering all the right questions. It's about you asking them. And it's about you knowing the difference between asking a good question - one that sets up opportunities and delivers solid insights in the responses - and a bad one that ends the conversation before it ever really gets started.