The End of Sales Obesity.

It’s getting to be that time of year.  You push back from the table with a awkward sense of “why did I gorge myself so much”.

Any movement out of your chair is slow and painful.  You just feel annoyed with yourself.  About the only word you can say is “ugggggh…..”

You didn’t even enjoy anything you were stuffing into your mouth.  It was in front of you along with the knife and shovel (a.k.a “spoon”) so you just kept pushing more down.  Plate after plate after plate….  (The toothpicks stacked up from the cheese cubes you ate could make  a small village.)

Sounds kind of like the holidays, right?

I was actually talking about how the typical sales dude spent the last 6 months of 2010….

Stuffing down lead after lead.  Meeting after meeting.  Without taking the time to savor each opportunity.  Without a thought about what could be.  No need for practice or preparation — just choke it all down before the guy in the cubicle next to you can grab the lead.

It’s a classic case of sales obesity.

I got to thinking about it not too long ago.

Two weeks ago, the New England Journal of Medicine noted that about 34% of U.S. adults, or 72 million people, are obese.  That means that you weigh more than 30% more than doctors somewhere think you ought to weigh.

I don’t really care too much about all these opinions.  (Frankly, I’m not too fond of people telling me what to do in the first place.) What did catch me eye was a line almost at the end of the article.

According the experts, you can add-up to four years to your life by slimming down.

Less pudding. More proteins….

Now that gets my attention.  Quality of life is important.  But so is quantity.  I may push the limits of all things “outrageous” and set the tone of living life extreme, but I still don’t plan on checking out any time soon (not if I can help it).

I feel the exact same way about closing big deals.  I don’t want to check out too soon.  And I certainly don’t want to get sloppy doing what I am doing.

And yet as I look back this year, I think I see some bad habits.

Frankly, I am upset about how sluggish I feel after plowing through a year of leads.  I don’t even remember most of their names or why they called me in the first place.  I speak and they come to to hear me, but I don’t get the opportunity to hear all their stories — to make a difference.  They called me for help, because they wanted to generate a lot more revenue, and I was too busy to really help them.  I need to do better.

How about you?

Did you “qualify” your easy-money deals into your annual “102% of quota” report  without putting in the extra effort to land a few “super huge ones” that only require a little more discipline — a little more sales fitness?

Did you?

Probably…  (and not because I love being the “Nagging Nelly” of sales writing)

That’s probably what happened BECAUSE that is what is easiest to happen.  Left alone, without a plan to stay in “selling shape”, we tend to just stuff ourselves with sales leads and hope that we close enough business to stay off of HR’s radar screen.

So what to do?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Create sales goals for yourself that are outrageous to your sales manager.
  2. Treat each lead with respect even you if you decide that you won’t sell to them.
  3. Manage your selling distractions proactively before they start effecting your performance.
  4. Say (and really mean) “Thank you…” and “I’m sorry…” to stop negativity from controlling your attitude.
  5. Read and meditate on a wide range of books, blogs, magazines, and videos about your craft of selling.
  6. Keep trying even when it seems like what you trying to do is not working.
  7. Live without regrets — don’t contribute to future bad karma coming back to you.

If I can simply trade twinkies for four more years of my life, I would be crazy to ignore that opportunity.

And it’s the exact same for selling big deals.  Why would you want to stay sloppy and slow when you could be a rockstar?

So I am declaring the end of “sales obesity”.  Let’s get back in shape together…

What do you say?

Care to hit it out of the park with me?

-----

This article first appeared at Paul McCord's Sales & Sales Management blog, where Dan was asked to share his perspective on high performance selling.