I received quite a lot of feedback and comments with regards to my last post – These People Will Never Be Your Customers – telling me how I was wrong to use the word “never”, and that only failures wouldn’t try to sell to every one – that giving up on some prospects was weak and that I was advising people to turn their back on possible opportunities, lurking somewhere in an undiscovered country.
So I thought I should write another article to put the record straight.
“Quitters Never Win and Winners Never Quit”
I’ll happily live by that statement – in fact, I love those seven words – I have no problem with that sentiment – What – So – Ever. ( take a look at the article – The Real Secret to Sales Success – and you’ll see I pretty much built a career on it)
But it’s not great advice if the road you’ve chosen to head down is the wrong road for you to be on – if the direction you’re heading is actually taking you further away from your goal rather than closer to it.
And it’s probably not the best advice for a gold prospector either, when every ounce of gold has already been sifted from the river he’s working.
And it definitely wouldn’t be the best advice to give an eighty year-old ex-boxer – who never won anything in his life – but who now wants to take on the 30 year old heavy-weight champion
Stephen R. Covey famously said;
“If your ladder is leaning against the wrong wall, every step you take just gets you to the wrong place faster.”
And it’s exactly the same if you listen to – and believe – all that (possibly career damaging) advice spouted by far too may “gurus” who want to tell you that everyone – absolutely everyone – in your market place – has the same chance of becoming your customer.
Let me paint you a picture.
Imagine you were a doctor and you had a shot of vaccine for a horrible, life threatening disease – But you only had just enough to cure a single infected patient.
Unfortunately, there are two patients in front of you – both appear almost identical – same height, weight, hair colour, accent and cultural background.
One is telling you that he desperately wants to live for his family’s sake – to prosper, carry on loving and caring for them, providing and protecting them – he can’t afford to lose the battle – he really needs your help.
The other one keeps telling you to go away, leave him alone – whatever you’ve got – he doesn’t want it – FOR GOODNESS SAKE – how many times does he have to tell you. LEAVE – HIM – ALONE!
You have less than one hour to administer the cure before you lose them both – so – who do you give the vaccine to?
And if you sell solutions (and if you sell anything – anything at all – that’s exactly what you’re doing), then – believe it or not – you have to make a similar choice every 60 minutes of every working day.
Whether you like it or not – you only have 24 hours in every day – and a limited number of working days on the planet – we all do.
So – you have to decide – whether you devote your efforts looking for, finding and then spending time with the people who you can help and who will gladly accept that help.
Or you can battle away pointlessly trying to save a group of people who don’t even want to be saved.
There are tens, possibly hundreds – maybe even thousands – of people who want to work with you right now – and sadly – some of them might not even know it yet, so they don’t know to come looking for you.
Unknown to them , you might have the vaccine to their impending problem, or the cure to something they’re already suffering with – or maybe the solution that takes away a pain that they’d almost given up hope of ever finding any kind of relief for.
But you see – that’s why salespeople really exist.
It isn’t to hoodwink the innocent – it isn’t to mind wipe the weak or fight with the undeserving – and it definitely isn’t to take money off the foolish.
It’s to show people – who might not even know what they need – to recognise what’s available, what’s out there that they hadn’t even realised existed – give them another choice – a better choice.
Simply put – in the 21st Century – the sales function exists to help people make great buying decisions.
It’s to deliver the thing that can help them prosper, carry on loving and caring for the people who matter, so that they can provide for those people – keep them safe and protect them – while helping them to win all the personal and commercial battles they’re currently fighting.
But – even after reading this – some salespeople (and their management) would much rather push water up hill than kayak easily down stream.
And some salespeople (and their management) would rather prove angry people wrong – than spend their time helping put deserving people right.
And some take great pleasure in telling me that they can force and bully anyone and everyone to buy whatever it is they are selling.
But those people probably aren’t my customers.
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