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Fact or Crap

What overly persistent sales people (stalkers) fail to realize is for every ending, you get a new beginning. Their scarcity mentality does not allow them to accept this. These type of traditional sales people have a huge capacity for self-deception, they lose composure easily, they follow-up from a position of neediness, and they find the unknown unbearable.

In their zeal to make the sale, often they are selling after-the-fact. They are getting yesterday's answers in the future, instead of getting tomorrow's answers today. They are chasing dead deals that were dead on arrival. So no more postmortems. No more ad hominens.

Classically trained sales people have a tendency of doting on poor prospects, in chasing unrequited interest, on doggedly pursuing non-starters. Breaking up is so hard for the avidly persistent because of fear of replacement selling (prospecting). Catch and release is a concept that they do not find appealing.

A lot of their persistent behavior is simply avoidance activity. "It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants," said Henry David Thoreau. Inefficiently minded sales people are wasting a lot of time selling a customer in nine months that they could have potentially sold in three months. Worse yet they are losing deals in nine months that they could have lost in three weeks if they would have let pragmatism rein. I believe too often rabidly, persistence sales people are what Kurt Mortensen says, "It is motivation by desperation, instead of motivation by efficiency and high probability."

Many persistent sales people truly do have a natural talent that is largely misdirected. They should capitalize by refocusing it towards the persistent pursuit of the customer's truth and their problems.

Fail often. Fail early. Fail forward. Fail well. Then succeed. You have to learn how to fail efficiently in sales. It is part of the natural equation and evolution. The deception of sales people at the hands of customers pales in comparison to the deception sales people put upon themselves because they are not willing to admit failure when it is starkly staring them in the face.

The reason most mature, veteran sales people grow out of manic persistence is because they no longer have the energy or inclination to be delusional. They find overstaying their welcome unprofessional and degrading. So they stay picky, discerning and discriminate. I have never met a consistently top performer who was not choosy as to with whom and under what conditions they would choose to pursue opportunities.

What drives irrational persistence is sales people who too easily put up with duplicity. They do not trust their instincts. They are blind to the truth. It is ironic also a happy place where one can cover up their major sales weaknesses. Often when you lack strategic sales skills, persistence and chasing is what you are left with. Blind determination cannot tell the difference between obligatory tolerance and genuine interest in prospects.

Carly Fiornia, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, was considered extremely bright and tenacious. When the merger with Compac was failing apart one executive commented, "She's very confident, but she can't bite the bullet and say we lost. Other business people can say that and move on. She can't." Her unwillingness to admit defeat, and her inflexibility and denial was her professional unraveling. Like many conventional sales people she was not willing to throw in the towel when appropriate, and reinvest her energy and resources elsewhere where she could get a greater return on investment. "Intellectual arrogance often causes disabling ignorance," says Peter Drucker.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com