I’ve been working a sales opportunity for several months now…I am in discussions with a company to help them launch their own radio show/podcast. Made some good progress. Prospect is a CEO of a cool company. Prospect is very interested. But just this week, I heard the dreaded:
“We love the idea, but we just don’t think we have enough time to make it happen. We are swamped…”
What? We actually expedite things… We don’t “cost” time…
If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you’ve surely heard something similar to this. But here’s the thing:
Bad sales people notate this opportunity into the closed-lost category on the ole’ CRM, and move on the next guy on the database.
Are you a great or a bad sales person?
Bad sales people say, “I cannot believe this guy doesn’t understand what we do. How can he not get it? I mean, honestly, didn’t he read all my collateral?”
Great sales people say, “Man, I failed to make him understand. Shame on me.”
Bad sales people say, “They obviously didn’t listen to me…”
Great sales people say, “I have to be better next time when we create a solution together…”
Bad sales people say, “I hope the next prospect is smarter…”
Great sales people say “What can I learn from this? How can I help them understand the time element?”
Funny thing is, with regards to the package I am selling this prospect, my approach has changed quite a bit since I first connected with this prospect. If I met him today, honestly, my message and presentation would be different.
But that’s ok. That’s what happens over time. In fact, that’s how this sales process really works. It is ever changing. It is always evolving. There are little nuances that present themselves every day that are actually opportunities to make adjustments to get better.
Bad sales people jot this one down as a loss.
Great sales people take it as the next step in the sales process. Learn and understand why things evolved, and take it from there.
Bad sales managers smack you upside the head and criticize you for not making your numbers.
Great sales managers are thrilled that you have new knowledge and now know what to do to advance the process further, they encourage you, and confirm you have what you need to continue helping the prospect.
No, I won’t lie. I was disappointed to get this message from my prospect. And at first, I was frustrated. I had been already strategizing in my mind about this future project. But I now realize that I have to do a better job helping him and his team understand how we can contribute to their big picture. I have more work do to.
But here’s the thing:
1. It won’t happen tomorrow.
2. You need patience.
3. This isn’t a loss. This is the next step.
4. This isn’t even a setback. But it is knowledge.
5. It won’t happen tomorrow.
I am choosing not to view this as bad news. I am choosing to view this as good news, new information, that helps me and the prospect move forward…
Are you a bad sales person? Or are you a great sales person? Do you fold like cheap suits? Or do you celebrate any bits of new information that helps advance the ball with your sales opportunity?
Time to decide…
[cartoon by hugh macleod]