So what does it mean to get out of your own way? Dana had been making a lot of sales calls, seeing many people, and enthusiastically presenting proposals during the past few months. She was pleased that her pipeline was full because she had so many proposals on the street. Her prospects seemed to take a lot of time to make buying decisions. The problem was that sales were just not happening. Dana did not believe her colleagues when they told her that her prospects were not being totally honest with her and to expect only 5 to 10% of her proposals to turn into business. Dana believe that it made sense for her prospects to mull over their decision because she sold a complicated high tech solution. So Dana, how do you get out of your own way?
Dana unfortunately had a wrong belief. This refers to the process by which a salesperson makes purchases for themselves. In this case Krista s method of buying typically involved researching several vendors, collecting lots of information, and spending a great deal of time evaluating which option to choose. Dana seemed to use this process for virtually every purchase over a few hundred dollars. As a result, she tolerated behavior from her prospects that were similar to her own. She often commented that she “understood” why they needed to take their time to evaluate her proposals, but as a result, she was vulnerable to stalls, put offs, lies, excuses, sob stories and other forms of “think it overs” from her prospects. It s called buyer empathy, and it has no place in sales. This is not Dana’s fault. She simply has a belief that if not identified and worked on (if possible) to change that thinking, she will have a fully stuffed pipeline and very little will be making it to the bottom of the funnel and close!
As a sales leader, I would first recommend avoid hiring a person with this weakness. I am calling it a weakness but it is only a weakness in sales or any occupation that includes selling as part of the job description. This weakness can show itself in many ways. One of the things I recommend highly is, at the end of the interview with this potential new hire, tell him/her that you will need to think this decision over and let them know. How do they react? Are they even cognizant of the ‘think it over’ that you have just given them? If they aren’t, they will not be aware of it with a potential client. Think it over is the death of sales! Not a no. With a no, there is at least an ability for a next step. A think it over is a deep, black hole that you have no idea how to get out of. How about follow up? and follow up and follow up!! Can they get out of your own way? You need to hear something like, “What do you need, “Can you share with me why you’re hesitating”? at the very least, “When will you be making that decision?” and get a date specifically. At this point you need to only spend time with candidates that have passed the basic phone questions, assessment, etc. If you do not hear something like this, pass.