Sales 101 – Stop “Venting” and Start Selling!

Are You Venting or Just Making Excuses?

A colleague recently posted a rant about the quality of the leads she was handling on an automotive industry social network. As a part of her diatribe on her most recent batch of Internet sales leads, she gave some great examples of just how bad the leads really were. Her examples proved that some of the leads (certainly her examples) were indeed crap with a capital C.

In case you’re feeling like you should be the next one to go online and rant, read on…

Venting can be cathartic, and for those of us in your shoes, we know your vent will probably be warranted. After you’re finished venting, however, be sure you’re factoring in the percentages. Once you do this, you’ll likely find that things are much better than you imagined.

Like my colleague’s, yours will probably be a rhetorical venting, but I can’t help but provide a little advice. I’m hopeful you take this in the right light, as the following is the same advice I would give to any sales manager who expresses similar dissatisfaction in the quality of their leads:

“Failures” in the Sports World

  • You should know that the most successful hitter in Major League Baseball history was Ted Williams. In 1941, Williams maintained a .406 batting average. Since then, no MLB hitter has been able to break .400. This means that in the last 68 years, every batter in baseball has failed more than 60% of the time. Are they all failures? Of course not.

  • More recently, Derek Jeter of the Yankees won the Silver Slugger award in 2008 and was an All Star for the 9th time in his career. Should Jeter waste time venting about the 70% of the at-bats he had last year where he failed to get a hit? Of course not.

  • Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, yet his NBA career shooting percentage is just .497. He missed more shots than he made! Is MJ a failure? Of course not.

A traditional team in my industry handling Internet customers closes about 10% of their leads, a very good Internet sales team can consistently close above 18%, while a great team generally closes above 25% of all leads. This means that even the great teams fail to close 7.5 out of every 10 leads they receive. Wow, those guys are either complete failures or those leads must really stink!


Do the Leads Stink or Does the Team?


Of course, neither statement is true. A team closing 25% of their leads consistently is on the top of their game… and the leads they’re working are of the same quality you’re working.


The truth is that with proper lead counts, a great process and a dedication to that process, any team can be successful closing sales leads.


I’ve always believed you can vent about the bad leads or you can sell the good ones.


Stop Whining and Start Selling


While I’m not sure how my colleague took the advice above, it could be worse. I could have simply recited Blake’s words from Glengarry Glen Ross: “The leads are weak. F***ing leads are weak? You’re weak.”


We can always find reasons we cannot succeed… they’re called excuses. It’s time to stop whining and start selling.