Client: [speaking proudly] “I worked a sales lead for 18 months, and I finally landed it!”
Me: “Awesome! A quick question for you… What size deal was this?”
Client: “Well, not a large one. To be honest, it was more on the medium to small side.”
Me: “Question…Over the 18 months, what was involved in closing it?”
Client: “Oh, numerous emails, several telephone conversations and a few face-to-face meetings. But, I finally brought it home [smiling].
There are often several reasons behind doggedly working a sales lead for an extended period. Maybe the lead is a large one or strategically important.
When I see undue effort being spent on a small opportunity I think a mistake is being made. The time and effort applied to that small sale [that is frustrating and takes forever to close] could in fact be applied to finding the the firm’s next huge client.
As my meeting with the client unfolded we talked about the notion of return on time invested. We talked about the desire to win, sometimes to our detriment. We also talked about the reality that when you apply time and effort to one task, others remain unattended to or sometimes go undone.
Don’t let pride or stubbornness [I WILL get this waffling buyer to commit!] get in the way of executing on other higher value sales activities. When it comes to chasing small Leads for an extended period, patience is not a virtue.