CLOSING THE SALE ~ THE WAITING GAME
Insights from Chief Mastermind Jack Kelly
Recently, my daughter competed for a spot on her high school dance team. She attended two intense days of rehearsal where she learned two routines to perform for tryouts. In that short period of time, she had to absorb choreography, master the intricate steps, understand the underlying rhythm of the music to maximize her performance, and cultivate new relationships. The coach was the key decision maker, but incumbent team members helped the contestants feel more comfortable and provided insight into the coach’s expectations and leadership style.
My daughter enthusiastically attacked the challenge in the two days she was given – refining and mastering her steps, while weaving in her personality to make the dances her own.
Following an intense two days, my daughter arrived at tryouts. For over two hours she waited, performed, waited, performed and waited some more. When the last girl finished her audition, the coach informed the group she would make her decision within the next 3-4 days.
She was confident she executed the dances to the best of her ability and highlighted what made her stand out among the crowd. And now began the toughest part – more waiting.
This experience was more than a lesson in dance. It was a real-life lesson. At the age of 14, she learned that she can rehearse and execute to the best of her ability; but ultimately, the decision was out of her hands. Regardless of the outcome, she would continue to live her life and move on to the next challenge.
Interestingly, my daughter’s experience mirrored perfectly the path of a Sales Professional. If you re-read the second paragraph, you can easily identify steps that are similar to those required of a Sales Professional every day.
It can be a roller coaster. You can work for days, weeks and months, mastering your pitch, developing relationships and doing your best to close the deal. In the end, you are waiting on a decision maker and may end up frustrated and disappointed by a lack of success. But you stick with it, because you know that hard work and good luck are not exclusive of each other.
What if my daughter didn’t hear from the dance coach by the end of the week, as promised? What if the coach just couldn’t make a decision for another week or even a month? Worse yet, what if she learned she made the team when she showed up to school, only to find the team has been practicing for months and the coach did not have the decency to inform her? None of these scenarios seem fair.
Yet, this happens to Sales Professionals every day. They provide a quote, a proposal or a statement of work only to find a prospect has gone radio silent.
I could wax poetic about all the ways Sales Professionals can prevent this – I’ll write about that in the future – but for now I ask all those decision makers in the world to do one thing: give us an answer. Yes or No, it does not matter. We’ll get over the No and if we get the Yes, we will do everything we can to make it one of the best decisions you ever made.
If we can get over being cut from a team in high school, we can get over not gaining your confidence to do business with us. But what we have trouble with is not getting an answer. We deserve it, just like a kid trying out for a team.