What an Alcatraz inmate taught me about sales.
Recently, while speaking at a conference in San Francisco, I took a side trip with my daughter to visit Alcatraz, the infamous, non-escapable prison in the middle of the bay.
By sheer luck, we arrived just in time to hear a special guest give a talk on his years as a former inmate. He told us about arriving as a brash, angry young man who blamed the world for everything that was wrong with his life. He'd mouth off to anyone he didn't like -- and that was just about everyone.
The guards didn't like his attitude and before long he was sent to the dreaded "D" cells -- tiny, barren, unlit cells where they remained for 23 hours a day. (That's me in one!) Even worse, in solitary confinement, the inmates couldn't even talk with each other. It was inhumane treatment, reserved only for the hard core. Our speaker ended up there more than once.
Then, one day it dawned on him that his own behavior was the root cause of all his problems -- both inside and outside of prison. And, that's the day his life started to change. It took a while to break his bad habits, but ultimately, when he was finally released he became an upstanding citizen.
As he was talking, I suddenly realized that he was really speaking about sales. In SNAP Selling & in my workshops, I talk about the Dreaded D-Zone. It's a miserable place where prospects send you if they think you're irrelevant, over-complicate things or act like every other self-serving salesperson.
When you're in the Dreaded D-Zone, you're Deleted or Dismissed. Your sales are Delayed or Derailed. It's where opportunites Die.
But here's the deal. A salesperson's own failure to focus on key business drivers and priorities is the root cause of most sales failure.
And, it's 100% preventable. If you find yourself in the Dreaded D-Zone too frequently, you need to realize that you can escape. Or, you can blame the world for how tough things are.
The choice is yours. Learning new knowledge, skills and behaviors can be tough. But nothing can be worse than being stuck in sales prison of your own creation.