One of my clients was griping about their sales team last week.
His chief complaint was that his salespeople were being unrealistic about their pipelines. Specifically, they were inflating how much potential business they were working on.
Once a salesperson had an appointment with a prospect, she was sure it was just a matter of time before the deal closed. As a result, the salesperson would have lots and lots of old deals in the pipeline, hoping they would close some day.
For the sales manager, this practice made it impossible to know what was really going to close and what was just a pipe dream. That made it impossible for him to predict his sales for the month.
As I related this story to a colleague, he immediately said, “That salesperson is high on ‘hopium’.”
After I finished laughing my head off, I realized he was right. “Hopium” is an addictive drug that makes us unrealistic about outcomes, overly confident about sales and ultimately leads to the poorhouse.
Closely related to “hopium” is its cousin “feelium. “
This nasty little chemical causes us to ignore the facts about what is working and what isn’t and “feel like” we are going to be okay at the end of the month.
Sadly, many people are addicted to both “hopium” and “feelium.”
The telltale signs are:
- Consistently missing sales goals
- Waiting until the last minute to take action and close sales
- Having lots of excuses why sales goals aren’t met
- Spending too much time on non-sales activities
- Lack of activity and results tracking
- Not earning enough in sales
Are you high on “hopium” or “feelium”? If so, it’s time to put down the pipe, take a long, hard look in the mirror and do the following.
Clean out your pipeline, leaving only your truly good prospects. If you’re not sure if they are truly good, then call them and ask their likelihood of buying in the next two weeks. That will give you a keen insight into whether they are viable prospects or figments of your addiction.
Choose five things you are going to measure every week that will tell you whether you are on- or off-track for your sales goals. Commit to taking these measurements every single week and changing your activities if you ever fall behind on your results.
Create an excuse jar. Every time someone hears you make an excuse for lack of sales, put $5 in the excuse jar. You will quickly learn to skip the excuses and get real about your selling.
Put your selling activities in your calendar, not on your to-do list. Schedule the first three hours of every day (with a 10-minute break each hour) for sales activities. Don’t answer email, don’t play on Facebook – just get on the phone, reach out via Linkedin, send prospecting emails or have sales appointments. Don’t forget to track your activities and results to get the “feelium” out of your system.
Commit to “getting clean” and leaving your addictions behind. Your bank account will thank you.