Avoid My Biggest Sales Mistake


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Dumb And Dumber To

Sometimes I wish I was more like Stone Cold Steve Austin. Not that I wish I could throw down (I can), I just wish I could be more detached.

Salespeople operate with an indelible sense of optimism – we have to or else we’d be f-ing shattered after every rejection and disappointment that comes our way. We get attached to promising prospects, and it’s that commitment to blindly getting the “yes” on a deal that led me to the biggest screw up of my sales career.

We were working on a big deal with a Fortune 500 company in the Philly area, pitching a consulting service. I had a strong sense that our culture and our solution were a perfect match for them, and as an added bonus I actually REALLY LIKED the people at the company. We were on the same wavelength – how could they NOT go with us??

Alas, it didn’t work out. And here’s where our tale of woe begins.

While my team and this company were like peas in a pod, there was another division of the same company that became interested in our product (sounds like a bizarre love triangle, doesn’t it?).

In some sort of serotinin-induced high we recommended that both divisions work together to solve their problems the same way. It would be good for both of us, we thought; a win-win situation. What we didn’t realize was that the other division was working with the largest consulting company in the world and already had a great relationship with them.

Long story short, we had a hard time connecting with the other team because they already had a strong relationship with the other consulting company. We went from a really strong shot at a good-sized deal with our buddies, to a who-knows shot at a really big deal with both teams.

We probably could have just taken the smaller deal off the table and went from there, but because we were so blinded by our (or my) feelings, we got ourselves in a situation that just couldn’t be resolved.

We thought our team would be able to convince the other team to choose us. That didn’t happen and we wound up losing a really big deal we’d been working on for a year, in addition to the smaller deal we’d given up to chase the big deal.

In short, my biggest sales mistake was that I was more emotionally driven than analytically driven. I should have taken a step back to get more perspective. Maybe I could have gotten some beans out the whole enchilada before I squashed it.

Here are some ways you can avoid letting your emotions and attachments get the best of you:

Talk to Your Sales Manager for Perspective

You have to meet with your sales manager anyway, right? Use them for all that they’re worth! They can smack some sense into you if you’re getting too carried away by your attachments. You might have a favorite prospect, but are you losing sight of the bigger picture? Check out our 4 Ways to Improve Your Meeting With Your Sales Manager post to get more tips on what you should be talking about with the big cheese.

Look at The Numbers, They Don’t Lie

Need a dose of reality? Look at these three numbers:

  • Average deal size
  • Win rate
  • Opportunities created per week

If the math doesn’t add up, you’d better take another look at your special “feelings” and ask if they’re worth losing Benjamins.

Always monitor yourself for these issues, especially as the stakes get bigger and bigger. It’s only human nature to get attached to clients that you vibe with, but don’t let your emotions cloud your better judgement on the way to becoming a legendary sales guy.

Photo courtesy of www.hippowallpapers.com

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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