My feeds are filled with articles, tips and advice about lots of things customers and prospects inflict on we poor sales people. It may be “ghosting,” or “the stall,” “or not giving us the information we need,” or “ignoring our outreach,” or even, “lying.” The total absence of consideration of these prospects to our work and outreach, their lack of respect for our hard work is reprehensible!
The lists of things sales people use to assign blame to customer behaviors seems endless. If only these customers/prospects would stop doing these bad things, then we could move forward and make our quotas.
I’m reminded of Newton’s third law, which can be viewed as:
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Physicists debate the deep definition of this, filling pages with equations, refining it, but for our purposes, let’s go with this as an approximation.
First, I’ll admit, every once in a while, people display abysmal behaviors, there are jerks everywhere. But I choose to believe that’s a small fraction of the population.
But as we look at the “bad behaviors” prospects and customers display to us, perhaps we should think about, “What is it that we may be doing that provokes these reactions? What should we change that would reduce the possibility of this happening?”
All we have to do is look at our own inbox’s, connection requests/InMails, voicemails, texts to see the outreach of most sales people drives this behavior. I ghost/delete/spam 95% of the requests I get. We’re not target customers and would never have the need for the product/service (lack of research and focus on ICP), you don’t understand me or my business, you want to talk about what you want to talk about, not what I am concerned about. The list goes on. Basically, you haven’t earned a response.
There are 5% that standout, that I do respond to, even if I have a marginal need. I think that I might learn something. But then, many of these fall short. They aren’t prepared, they haven’t done their homework. Alternatively, I see that, for various reasons, it doesn’t make sense to continue, telling them so. Yet they persist. So I don’t respond.
Sometimes, I don’t respond in the way people want, or I may not be as open as people would like. It’s never out of maliciousness, but it’s out some other reason. And if asked, I’ll explain straightforwardly. And there are sometimes those people who think I may be lying because I’m not responding the way they want me to respond.
There are lots of pseudo experts that offer gimmicks and tricks to get around these challenges. If you say these words in this way, if you do these sequences, if you stand on your head and cluck like a chicken (actually that works, people laugh so hard, it breaks the ice).
I’ve always found it to be much simpler–focus on the right customers/issues, be prepared (well I am an Eagle Scout), be curious, care, focus on them, be direct/don’t play games. Sure it doesn’t always work, some people don’t appreciate it, or don’t respond (even though I don’t know why, often they may be good reasons). But most of the time people engage, even if the way the respond is not what I would have liked to hear. They give me their rationale and are always open to future discussion.
Of course, there is lots of bad sales execution that “poisons the well.” It is more difficult, but I have found well executed, authentic approaches do work. Perhaps it’s their authenticity that makes them stand out.
I choose to believe we earn the reactions we get, and if we are not getting the reactions we want, it’s probably not the prospects’ faults.