Veteran's Great Quote Makes News and Has Terrific Lessons for the Sales Profession

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 @ 14:02 PM


Disclaimer:  This is not a political post even though I quoted someone with a political opinion.  The entire article is about sales.

On my way to the office, I was listening to FOX News when they cut to a diner in Jacksonville, Florida to interview some of the patrons there.  One of the people interviewed was Stanley, a Veteran who said he had two messages he wanted to share.  He said, "To the media, don't make in-depth assumptions from shallow observations.  And to the obstructionist democrats, we have a saying in the military.  When the horse dies, dismount and quit riding that dead horse."  

I might not have nailed his quote word for word, but I'm sure I captured the gist of it. Just think of the sales lessons that can be taken from this!  The short video below is from the FOX interview and below that I will share some lessons for the sales profession.

Don't Make In-Depth Assumptions of Shallow Observations.  Salespeople make more assumptions of a prospect's buying potential and readiness than you can imagine.  They observe what appears to be interest and then, instead of uncovering their compelling reasons to buy, thoroughly qualifying and building a case, they assume the prospect is "good" and will "probably" do business, hastily create a proposal, forecast the business to close, and then spend most of their time in the act of futile and ineffective follow-up.  Result?  Dead opportunity.

When The Horse Dies, Dismount.  Salespeople with nothing but dead opportunities in their pipeline are pretty much dead themselves.  We are seeing inadequate pipelines in many companies and there are multiples reasons for it.  They include, but aren't limited to: 

  • Lack of accountability
  • Lack of clear expectations
  • Confusion over whose job it is to find new opportunities
  • Unwillingness to make cold calls
  • Over-reliance on social selling

Salespeople who include their dead opportunities in the pipeline are reluctant to archive them for several reasons.  They include, but aren't limited to:

  • Fear of letting go
  • Repurcussions of an empty pipeline
  • The reality that without those opportunities they will have to prospect
  • Fear of rejection
  • Alternate facts
  • Lack of Commitment
  • Poor Outlook
  • Ineffective Hunting skills

I believe that Stanley shared two great, shallow quotes that deserve more in-depth analysis!

Speaking of News, here are some other things you should be aware of.

My thoughts and a fantastic Wharton School of Business video on why sales leaders fear predictive assessments appear on LinkedIn Pulse. Read and watch it here.

My Annual Sales Leadership Intensive - the best two days of training on the planet on how to be an elite sales coach - is coming up on May 17-18.  Learn more here. If you would like to attend, use discount code DK-Blog-Subscriber.

Earlier today, I presented a 30-minute session on how OMG's Tailored Fit is not only different from benchmarking, but makes benchmarking silly and unnecessary.  It was very fast-moving, had lots of data, a good story line and a sneak peak at the magic of the OMG sales selection tool.  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, sales pipeline, selling tips, lost sales opportunities, fox news

What Happens When Sales Expectations Aren't Met?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 06, 2010 @ 06:04 AM

There was a tremendous amount of hype surrounding the Red Sox-Yankees opening day game.  Two ace pitchers were to take the mound when Josh Beckett, pitching for the Sox, would face CC Sabathia, hurling for the Yankees.  Two of the best pitchers going head to head against two of the best offenses in baseball.  What a pitching duel this could be!

Well the opportunity to watch a pitching duel never materialized as both teams hit better than they pitched. The game itself was fun, but the pitching matchup failed to meet expectations.

Yesterday must have been an incredibly slow news day.  The 11 PM News had a brush fire in Boston (a brush fire?), Josh Beckett's contract extension, Tiger Woods' first day back to the PGA, The President throwing out the first ball at the Washington Nationals' Opening Day Game, and two women who, while walking in their neighborhood, were struck by pellets fired by bicycle riding teenagers.  I kid you not.  For the Beckett, Woods and Obama stories to be included as part of the news instead of the sports shows just how slow a news day it was.  Yesterday's news really failed to meet expectations.

Yesterday, one of your salespeople learned that their opportunity with that nice large account is not going to develop.  While they were simply out kicking tires, your salesperson got excited about the potential.  In the end, the prospect decided to stay with their incumbent vendor.  This opportunity failed to meet expectations.

What's the difference between a baseball game or the news failing to meet expectations versus one of your salespeople's opportunities failing to meet expectations?  (Rick was writing about the same thing this morning!)

The game and the news are quickly forgotten and don't impact your life unless you bet on the outcome of the game or happen to be the leading story on the news.  When your salespeople focus too much of their time and resources on a large opportunity and it doesn't materialize, you can lose 6-12 months of productivity from them.  Not only that, your forecasts fall short, your budget goes to hell, and you could have a frustrated, demotivated salesperson on your hands.  The worst part is if you have a long sales cycle, say 8-12 months, and the salesperson devoted most of his time and energy to this opportunity for 8-12 months, it will take an additional 8-12 months before the pipeline will produce new, meaningful revenue.

Has this ever happened to you?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, salespeople failing to meet expectations, Obama, beckett, sabathia, lost sales opportunities

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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