Successful outcomes are the result of many different elements including preparation, practice, and skill. With every action comes a reaction and the intensity of that reaction can be linked to the effectiveness of the originating action. If you walk at a slow pace for exercise it will take longer to work up a sweat as opposed to a brisk walk or even a jog where you will sweat much quicker. Action versus reaction.
How often have you left a sales call wondering where things went wrong? You didn’t get the business. The prospect seemed on board but decided to go in a different direction. That reaction, whether we’d like to admit it or not is the direct result of an action we took at some point during the sales process. In fact, the primary action that results in lost sales is communication. Clarity of communication, followed by the ability to process that communication, is where many sales people fall flat.
In his book Exceptional Selling, Jeff Thull talks about “the last three feet” as being the distance that separates a prospect from a sales person sitting across a table from one another. How often have you felt you’ve done everything right and in your final meeting – in that last three feet – with the prospect, you learn they decided against doing business with you? It’s happened to us all at least once. If you have been selling for years it’s most likely happened hundreds of times. But why?
The main reason for this disconnect centers around a miss fire in communication. You either said something to the prospect that turned them off, or you said the right thing that disqualified them as a prospect but you were too stubborn to see it. We’ve all been taught to never walk away from a sales opportunity. Further we have been told for years that everyone is a prospect. These ideas are just flat-out false. Not everyone is a prospect and the quicker you find out who presents a real opportunity the better you’ll become at selling. Remember your time, money, and energy are only of value to you so protect them. The faster you can sort the real opportunities from the imaginary the better.
Watch for my next blog when I’ll present a sales strategy I have used with great success that eliminates the risk of the last three feet.