A Walk To The Elevator

Many years ago, at the height of my sales career, I remember witnessing a classic and devastating sales mistake.  And if you’re in sales, you’ve likely made this mistake as well.  Maybe you still do.

I was with my Sales Manager on an appointment with a very strong prospect. A prospect is one who has shown qualified interest in your product or service, and this guy was definitely that.  There we were, engaging in a good discussion, discussing how we were going to provide effective solutions and the excellent partnership we would make. We left the prospect’s office having had a good, solid, solutions-focused discussion and with strong rapport established.  This contract would have been by far my largest single client, likely doubling my annual sales revenue. 

As we walked to the elevator, my Sales Manager basically congratulated me on this tremendous success. We got it! It’s a done deal!  Those were not the exact words, but they might as well have been. I was not so convinced. My thought…before speaking it as a public success, I need the proverbial money in the bank. 

My trepidation was dead-on, as the commitment never came to be. He walked out with “happy ears” – hearing what he wanted, not necessarily what was said, or in this case not said. Here is what was not said: “You have the contract.”

Ultimately, I’ve become much more cautious in my optimism.  I guess that might mean I’m more realistically optimistic. I need proof of my confidence when it comes to something beyond my control. 

Too many people, sales for sure, figuratively spend what has not yet been granted.  When it comes to your future, are you projecting with your heart or your mind? I suggest if you go with your heart, at least back it up with your mind.

That level of realistic optimism will keep you honest.