The Sales Mirror Lies to You
Author – Bill Farquharson
Taking stock of your own sales efforts is a lot like looking in the mirror while wearing an ill-fitting but super cheap clearance item. The low price makes you ignore the fact that the color and style are outdated and, if we’re being honest here, ugly. So, you see what you want to see and not how things really are. Sales people routinely do the same thing when gauging their own progress, sizing themselves up as if they are in a dressing room:
“Sales mirror, mirror on the wall, how am I doing?” they ask in an effort to justify their current state. And the mirror, a willing accomplice, does what it does best—It lies:
- “You are amazing. You’re universally loved inside and outside of the plant and the powers-that-be love you and think you’re doing a great job. You have loyal accounts who aren’t going anywhere. This place would fall down without you.”
- “You can’t possibly prospect for new business. You’re too busy with existing clients. That’s crazy talk! No need to open new accounts. All the new business you need will come from within your current account base.”
- “Learn new skills? Learn about new technologies? Learn about a new product line? You don’t need to do that. Print has been your bread and butter and it will continue to put food on your table.”
But, here’s the thing: The sales mirror lies to you. It tells you what it wants you to hear and what you desperately need it to say so you don’t have to face the harsh truths. So long as it keeps up the illusions, you are good to go.
Similar to the fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes, sometimes we see what we want to see and other times we believe what others tell us despite the fact that neither demonstrates the truth. An accurate examination of our sales self would be an eye-opening if painful experience. But instead, we hear and eagerly believe the lies our sales mirror tells us, namely: “Sales mirror, mirror on the wall, how am I really doing?” If you constantly work for your customer base and never take them for granted, if you stay sales-curious for new accounts, if you keep your boss informed, if you check in with your CSR department, and if you never stop learning, you really are doing great, but…that clearance item shirt you are wearing needs to be taken off and burned.
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