How many "stuck" opportunities are you struggling with right now? If you're like most sellers, these prospects drive you nuts. They don't reply to your emails. They fail to return your calls. You even begin to wonder if you misjudged their interest.
Several weeks ago I keynoted an actuarial conference at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. These really smart people spend their days analyzing data and calculating risk.
Just the thought of “selling” makes most actuaries cringe. They view people who do it as slimy, manipulative and disgusting—not at all like them. Yet their leadership team very wisely realized that future growth depended on them acquiring these skills.
How was I going to change the actuaries’ perception of sales?
Anyone who has ever taken a nightmare sales job can, in retrospect, detect some warning signs. But they didn’t pay attention to them. Or, they hoped they were wrong. Or, they were scared to not have a paycheck. Desperation and seduction can easily override good sense.
A massive clap of lightning awoke me from a dead sleep at 3 am. It was pouring outside. I responded as I always do in a storm—rushing downstairs to unplug my computers, hoping they weren’t already fried.
Ever lost an important deal that you were sure was going to close? Conversely, have you ever been surprised when you emerged as the winner?
In the Experience Economy, authors Pine and Gilmore write, "Those businesses [sellers] that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience."
At a recent conference, a sales rep was telling me about a deal he should have won. After hearing his story—I couldn't help, but agree. He should have made the sale.
Even worse, it was clear that someone was ruining his chances. And I knew exactly who it was. (This same person has sunk my own deals too.)
Sometimes just getting that first meeting feels like a major victory! You've been dying to work with this company for months and you're finally on their radar! You can't wait for the first meeting—and neither can they. You've piqued their curiosity and they want to learn more.