"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field."

~ Physicist Niels Bohr, quoted in the Harvard Business Review ~

Drinking Too Much And Its Parallels In The Sales Office

What has alcoholism got in common with members of a sales team? This is my theory.…

So, what has alcoholism got in common with members of a sales team and sales call reluctance?

This may seem like a strange question. Alcoholism is a serious illness. I would be the last person to make light of it in comparison to sales teams in telesales rooms. My comparison below is given as a theory.

This is my theory: Alcoholism, in its early and middle stages is the only illness known to man that tells you that there is nothing wrong with you. It tells you that there is something very wrong with most everyone else. It's how alcoholism fools you and how it is so destructive. The way it takes over makes it so that you don't feel that any of the responsibility for your condition lies at your door.

This then is the similarity with sales call reluctance. It is possibly the only profession that really does tell you, in the early and middle stages, how much is wrong with other people. Potential clients, even existing clients, are just not doing what you want, what you expect and what you strongly feel they should be to doing. In its latter stages call reluctance comes in and you hardly pick up the phone, and when you do it's just weak and inconsequential stuff. You stop selling and wait for people to buy. Meanwhile it's all their fault when they don't.

That's where the similarity ends. With alcoholism it usually kills you unless you manage to rehabilitate yourself. It's a sure-fire killer of most either directly or indirectly through accident or organ failure.

The end of the story in sales is simply being fired or jumping just before that happens.

We tell ourselves it's the customer‘s fault, it's management's fault. It's the leads, it's the time of year, it‘s the end of the week, its Chinese New Year, its Christmas, it‘s just after Christmas, it‘s January or it's the beginning of the week. It's all these things and more.

80% of the time it's simply us and our own tiny demon of self-talk. If there is just one other person in your office getting reasonable returns on their cold calls or dealing with incoming calls then the issue is normally us, nothing else. We are to blame for not having the attitude, the resources and the drive for new business.

The secret , if there is one, is to take stock of where you are. Stop and think. We all actually know where it's going wrong. Your desire needs to be very strong. That's number one.

Number two is are you asking for the business? Every call you make are you positioning yourself in such a way that you can ask for the meeting, ask for the advance towards the sale, ask for the sale? Are you willing and able to formulate a proper, concise and persuasive pitch and that ends with “Does that work for you?“.

Do you even have a script? No, you don't is probably the answer. You are way too smart for scripts I am guessing. But you are also probably skint at the end of each month. So why not treat yourself to a proper script and start calling like a professional? It's what I did for many years, using scripts wisely, selling commission only. Most of you would rather dig graves than work commission only.

All the rest of the process and the pitch dies away if you are not positioned to take the business when the opportunity arises. Are you making the opportunity, are you grabbing it at just the right moment? There is such skill involved and my concern is that many, many in sales are just waiting for lucky breaks. The 80/20 formula is rarely more accurate than in a sales team. Where are you sitting is the question? Desire and taking opportunities are where it all ends up. If you have the desire you get the product or service knowledge, you know the stalls, you know the strengths and the weaknesses of your argument and you are ready, like a tiger, to pounce. Or are you? When I visit offices I see very few tigers. I see a lot of sleepy cats. You know this and I know this. I have the answer and you have the question. Our mutual problem is that only you can implement the answer.

Take the positive from the above guys and girls and do something about your attitude to work and your attitude to being a huge sales success. It does not happen down country lanes or in country pubs. It happens inside you. If you can make it happen then Happy Days. Some of you will look at this as a rant and a couple will see this as their personal epiphany. Either way I am looking back from the Winner's enclosure. I did the above and had the epiphany. Fortunately many moons ago.

What's needed here is a grip of steel on yourself. The steel hand in the velvet glove that I mention so often. Only you can do this for you. I and others give you the tips , training and coaching but you have to weave your own spells. It's that complicated and that simple all at the same time. Being mindful of your place in the coaching process is essential. It's about a whole experience moving you forward never to return to the old weak ways. If that's not how you see it you have not engaged in the process. Many cannot, will not or are too lazy.

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