The Biggest Goof Sellers Make When Dealing with Hot Prospects
By Jill Konrath
I dream of hot prospects who call me up and say, “We’ve heard good things about your company. We want to make a decision quickly. We’re hoping you can help us out.”
Occasionally, my sales fantasies turn into realities. When it happens, it’s so easy to be seduced by this low-hanging fruit. Outwardly, I try to appear calm, cool and collected – a true professional. But inside, every inch of my body wants to scream out, “Take me! Take me!”
Okay. I’m being a bit dramatic here, but I really want to make my point.
It’s so easy to be tempted by these opportunities. And when you yield to this temptation, you make fatal mistakes—ones that can totally derail your sales efforts and cause you to lose the business.
True, But Embarrassing Story
Let me give you a personal example, to show you how easy it is to get caught up in this seduction.
A few years ago, my primary business focus was working with large corporations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area when they were launching new products. My expertise? Helping them shorten time to revenue on new product introductions.
I’d just launched SellingtoBigCompanies.com to help small businesses gain access to my expertise. It was my new baby. I’d invested tons of time and lots of love to get it up and running.
When the phone rang that day, I answered absentmindedly. But when the caller announced that he was from Southwest Airlines, I snapped to attention. He’d been all over my new website, was very impressed, and also very interested in my training programs.
The airline was going to be putting its salespeople through training in the not-too-distant future and was evaluating its options. When I asked who else he was looking at, I was delighted to be included with the industry biggies.
Mr. Southwest had dozens of questions about my content, delivery models, remote training options, learning reinforcement and more. I answered every single one of them in glorious detail.
When he requested a proposal, I asked, “How soon?” When he answered that he wanted it in two days, I quickly agreed.
The proposal I sent to him via e-mail covered everything we had talked about in our conversation, plus a full range of pricing options. It was a masterpiece. I had high hopes that this opportunity would take my business to a whole new level.
I never heard from Mr. Southwest again. Even though I contacted him many times, he never called back.
It was my own fault. I mistakenly let my own eagerness to land this marquis customer outweigh my common sense.
The truth is I really needed the business at that time. After spending many months and lots of money to create SellingtoBigCompanies.com, I was running short on cash. I should have known better, but I was seduced by the opportunity.
In retrospect, I failed to find out if Mr. Southwest was just exploring his options or actually in the final stages of decision making. It’s highly likely he was just doing the former.
Had I known that, I would never have written a detailed proposal. Instead, I would have focused on helping him determine the business value of making a change. I would have used my expertise to help him sell the concept internally and establish decision criteria favorable to my solution.
Over and over again, I see other sellers make similar mistakes when they have a hot prospect on the line. Like me, they expound on their capabilities and benefits. They willingly provide detailed information and do tons of extra work to create proposals or presentations—anything the prospects want.
While that puts you into the “nice” seller category, it’s not a good business decision to invest tons of time and effort to land a fantasy customer. Nor does it help your prospects make the best decision for their organization.
If Mr. Southwest was actually deciding in a couple days, I should have addressed the fact that I was a small boutique firm that didn’t compete head-on with the larger companies he was looking at.
Doing business with me would have been risky. I knew that. But I didn’t want to bring it up; I was hoping he wouldn’t notice!
I was so blinded by the opportunity that I was willing to do anything that he asked. It was delusional on my part. Wishful thinking. Hopeful. When we feel this seduction, we need to remind ourselves that “hope is not a strategy.”
While hot prospects may hold the promise of big paychecks, there’s often much that still needs to be determined if it’s a good fit for your company.
Don’t be overeager. Instead be ruthlessly realistic. Detach from the fantasy and assess your true chances. Bring up the tough questions.
Why? Because it’s the right thing to do for both you and your prospect.
Real Winners Keep Moving the Finishing Line by Harvey Mackay
When the World Series or the Super Bowl rolls around, there’s usually a reliable way to pick the winners: The guys who say “I’m just glad to be here,” aren’t going to be the ones wearing the championship rings when the game is over. They achieved their goal before the game began.
What’s really more important, goal-setting or goal-getting?
A teenager will mow lawns all summer in order to buy the jalopy that he is certain will impress Mary Anne. The real lesson—learning solid work habits—is easily lost if Mary Anne is not impressed.
|We all know companies that were household names, the bluest of the blue chips, that are fading memories today. W.T. Grant. Woolworth’s. Zenith. Studebaker. Montgomery-Ward. Every salesperson knows an ace who was on top of the sales charts for years and all of a sudden lost his stroke. He didn’t go from first to second; he went all the way to the bottom.
In each of these cases, the goal was the same, to get on top. But once they got there, they started to lose their way.
|They lost the hunger, the ability to innovate, to listen to their customers, to adapt to change, to be humble.
They had achieved their goals. Now was the time to reap the rewards. About 20 years ago a fellow named Parkinson wrote a series of books in which he cleverly framed his observations into “Parkinson’s Laws.” Most are just as valid today, because these rules of human nature are timeless. One was, and yes, I’m paraphrasing a bit, “Whenever a company proudly announces the establishment of their beautiful, new, modern, efficient corporate headquarters, you can be sure they’re heading downhill.”
Why? Because instead of focusing on their business, the company’s managers are focusing on themselves. Messy desks, cramped quarters and unlovely surroundings are the physical manifestations of people too busy getting the work done to care much about their own creature comforts.
The greatest danger to a business is not risk. It’s lack of risk: complacency. As success piles upon success, the goal changes. Number 1? We are number 1. Roll out the red carpet. Get that door, will you? And where’s my driver?
Look back at that list of corporate casualties and you won’t see Wal-Mart. It didn’t matter how much money Sam Walton made, he still drove a beat-up pickup truck. Instead of hanging around a plush office, he got out and walked the floor of his stores and his competitors’ stores. His people were well aware of his habits. The Walton-lifestyle is ingrained into the Wal-Mart culture.
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was never so wrapped up in enjoying material things that he lost his desire to get the education denied him by his impoverished childhood. At 60 he went back to high school and got his GED. He attended the prom with his wife and they were crowned Prom King and Prom Queen. His fellow students voted him “Most Likely to Succeed.” Not all of today’s high schoolers are in the dark about goal-setting.
What’s your goal? Whatever it is, I suggest you commit it to writing and keep it on your desk where you’ll see it every day. At least quarterly, give yourself a report card. If you ever achieve your goal, be like Curt Carlson, the billionaire founder of the Carlson Companies, the parent of the Radisson Hotels.
As a young soap salesman, Curt used to set yearly sales goals for himself, write them down and stick them in his wallet. About halfway through the year, when he reached his annual target, Curt would tear up the slip of paper, toss it, and set another goal.
Curt has the reputation of being a tough boss. There’s a reason: he’s never quite satisfied with himself.
Curt knows the answer to the question I posed earlier: It’s not goal-getting that matters. It’s goal setting. You never want to reach your goal.
J.K Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, spoke to the graduating class of Harvard in June 2008. She didn’t talk about success. She talked about failures. Her own in particular. I absolutely love her quote.
“You might never fail on the scale I did,” Rowling told that privileged audience. “But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.
Enough of the money games. Ask yourself this question. Would you ever buy the product you are promoting if there was NOT an opportunity attached to it? 99% of the times the answer is no. Stop being an MLM junkie and jumper. Stick with a legit publicly traded company that is FTC compliant ( all direct sales big ticket items are now NOT! if you are not following the new FTC guidelines) Build with a winner and get results like you deserve.
Visit my Lightyear Wireless website:
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More people using cell phones for real-time info”
Click on this link http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2012/05/study-more-people-using-cell-phones-for-real-time-info/1#.T6kPBMX64ek to read a terrific article. “Roughly 70% of Cellphone owners have used their devices in the last month to gather real-time information such as traffic alerts or look up sports scores, a new study finds”. ——- Think about HOW BIG the wireless industry is growing and Lightyear Wireless PAYS YOU!
Are paying for your cell service?