It’s about time. By which I mean, sales is mostly about managing time. And time is just about the hardest thing to manage, right after your own emotions.
Which brings me to the source of one of the biggest time-wasters in sales: acting like a dog with a bone when it comes to a prospect who says “No” or “Not now.”
The most difficult thing in many life situations is knowing when to let go. “If only this prospect would just see it my way,” thinks the sales rep, “and go to the next step in my sales process. Then I would be one step closer to my goal as a closer!”
So, instead of setting a follow-up task to talk with the recalcitrant prospect in 90 days to see if anything has changed — and it probably will have changed — the rep becomes a dog, and the prospect becomes the bone in his mouth. And every once in a while, this approach works, unfortunately reinforcing this most wasteful behavior.
What’s the cure for this common canine error in judgment? Well, for one thing we could give the rep technology that delivers a fresh conversation with a new prospect with zero effort in a few minutes. Sure, it’s still tempting to keep a tight grip on the current victim; but at least if the rep knows that fresh meat — maybe a big, juicy porterhouse — is going to replace that old gnawed bone, then they might just relax and let go.
The fact is, until a rep knows for sure that they won’t have to wait long for that next conversation, they will clamp on fiercely to the current one.
Don’t we owe it to both the dog — and the bone — to provide an easy way to just relax and move on? This old dog certainly thinks so.
Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the writing of this article.