My husband and I used to live in a home where a crazy squirrel ran back and forth, back and forth, on top of our backyard fence.
This erratic behavior got even more exciting when our neighbors let out their dog. It would bark and chase this squirrel every day, thinking his barking would get the squirrel to change his behavior. The squirrel would stop for a second, glance at the dog and then continue on its merry way, running back and forth on the fence.
How many of your salespeople are barking at squirrels, alias prospects, that are never going to change their buying behavior or do business with your company?
Probably too many. Salespeople chase squirrels for a variety of reasons.
Optimism – This emotional intelligence skill is an important EQ skill in sales because optimistic salespeople have a can-do attitude. They quickly bounce from adversity. However, optimism can become a detriment to sales success without a reality check because overly optimistic salespeople believe EVERY prospect is a good prospect. They may have trouble disqualifying an opportunity because they just know this one is going to be their next customer. They keep barking and pursuing.
When coaching the overly optimistic salesperson, ask a few questions to provide your seller with a reality check.
- “When you asked the prospect how this business problem was affecting his ability to achieve key priorities for the year, what did he say?” (Uh, I didn’t ask…I just know we can help!)
- “When you asked the prospect where she could get the most resistance in on-boarding your solution, what did she say?” (Oops, missed that one. We were having such a great conversation!)
Delayed Gratification – In our 24/7, always-on world, salespeople often are busy but not productive because of the constant pull of instant gratification. There is no time invested in slowing down to analyze where they are winning business and where they are losing business. They just keep barking at any and all squirrels, hoping for a change in sales outcomes.
Help your seller slow down to speed up by asking questions that help him recognize he is on a sales treadmill running to nowhere.
- “In analyzing your business, what sales activity is creating the most revenue?”
- “What trend are you seeing in business problems that prospects are willing to invest time and money to eliminate?”
Sales managers, it’s time for your team to stop chasing squirrels!