Committed To Stupidity


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Sadly, every day I see more sales people committed to stupidity. It’s not making mistakes, misunderstanding situations, even some errors in judgement. As bad as those may be, it’s the commitment to being stupid that astounds me.

Stupidity is a choice, and I’m stunned by the number of people that are committed to stupidity.

  • Daily, I get invitations in LinkedIn, “Dave, I’ve looked at your profile….” Yet they never have looked at my profile.
  • Jack Malcolm shared an invitation he received, “Jack, I see in your profile you run and accounting firm. We work with firms like yours….” There is nothing in Jack’s profile that indicates he is or has ever been an accountant (It’s a scary thought to think of Jack as an accountant.)
  • Similar to Jack’s situation, I get a weekly email from someone wanting to be a guest blogger. This individual claims to write great content for accountants, controllers, and treasurers. They may provide stunning content, but they aren’t my target audience with this blog! And it’s very clear to anyone who reads just part of one post (though this person claims to be a big fan of my blog.)
  • I get similar emails and invitations, telling me I’m in an industry or market that we never have been in (though many of our clients may be in those markets/industries.)
  • There are the others thanking me for downloading something, participating in a meeting/webcast, or other things. They want to move to the next step. But I have never even visited the website, downloaded anything or participated in any of the events they claim I have participated in.
  • I got one presenting an analysis of our inventory control issues, suggesting we needed a new system (I was getting a little low on beer in the refrigerator, but I had that on my weekend “honey-do” list.)
  • Others suggesting they could help us more effectively staff with electronic design engineers. (I’m a little worried about even writing this in public, I know within days of publishing this post, I will get inundated with recruiting firms trying to help me find those engineers.”
  • Or the email I just got to improve our developer hiring—though we do nothing in house, which is obvious with a little research on our company.

There is no end to the stories you or I can share about this stupidity. At least 90% of the prospecting email I get, at least 90% of the prospecting calls I receive should never have been made. Forget their bad content or execution, but my company would never be a prospect for what they are calling about.

What makes them stupid?

They could have all been prevented, with minimal work. If a person took the 15 seconds necessary to scan my profile, they would not be caught in a lie. Likewise in Jack’s case, going to his LinkedIn profile (it was a LinkedIn message) or his company web site, or his outstanding blog site, one would quickly understand he isn’t an accountant. All the other examples could have been addressed with a minimal amount of work.

We have endless tools that help us better target and more effectively engage the right prospect–people/organizations within our ICP. We can leverage these tools to improve our ability to target the right person with the right message at the right time. Our companies may even be paying for those tools already, but we never seem to use them (Even the developers of these tools don’t seem to use their own tools in their prospecting.)

Stupidity can get worse. For example, the person calling me suggesting a good friend suggested he call. The problem is that good friend, a mentor of mine, passed away 10 years ago (there is an “In Memoriam” at our website, which, I suspect is how this person got the name). Or those that claim reference accounts, which are not references. Or claims about product capabilities that are simply not true, or….. or…..

We seem surrounded by stupidity and the associated sloppiness (in thinking and execution).

There are problems with stupidity. First, it’s, well……stupid.

Second, stupidity is actually hard work. By that, it requires little thought to be stupid, but being stupid make our work much harder.

For example, the yield we get from stupid prospecting conversations is far less than the yield from targeted/relevant prospecting conversations. So stupid/aimless prospecting requires us to do much more, much more frequently, to produce the same results as more limited smart/focused prospecting.

Since stupid sales people are poorly prepared and have poor understanding of their customers, for those few conversations they do have, the only thing they can talk about is themselves, their company, and their products. Customers don’t care about that. So to find an interested prospect, they have to have many more conversations.

Stupid sales execution is a losing strategy. You can’t make your numbers. You work long hours, you actually work very hard, but you don’t produce results. It’s a vicious cycles of spending more time doing more stupid things.

I suppose I may be too lazy to do stupid things (at least purposefully). It’s too much work for too little return.

It’s somewhat counter intuitive, but focused, purposeful activity works. Restricting our prospecting to people and organizations that have the problems we solve works. Engaging those people in well prepared discussions about their businesses and what they want to achieve creates great interest. Customers want to learn, they want to improve, they want help.

Smart execution is takes much less time for the results produced than stupid/mindless execution. So I don’t get why so many are committed to such hard work by doing so many stupid things.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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