Sales people are a lot like Labrador Retriever puppies. The run around, excitedly, chasing every opportunity they smell. If it looks like a sale they chase it. They clumsily chase every opportunity thrown at them by the customer. Everything looks and smells like a deal. I’ve seen it often and have been guilty of it myself. It’s easy to chase everything that looks like revenue. We want to be responsive to our customers. We want to deliver revenue for the company. The problem is sales costs money, and not all sales are the same. Some sales cost more than they are worth. They can distract you from what should be sold. They can cost more than they bring in. Bad sales waste time and rarely deliver a return, even if they are sold. Chasing everything can hurt more than it helps.
Smart sales people recognize just because you CAN sell something or because something can generate revenue doesn’t mean you HAVE to sell it. Every sale has a process. It takes time to sell something, no matter how simple it is or how badly a customer may want it. It takes money to sell something. There are good deals and bad deals and knowing the difference is key.
It’s not easy being the person who says no to a revenue opportunity. It’s unpopular. Like the Labrador puppy, everyone loves the person who says yes to chasing every deal. Like the Lab puppy, they rarely return with anything of value. The lab puppy brings back everything it can find. The mature lab brings back ducks and that’s what it’s supposed to do.
Know what your hunting and go after it. Don’t get distracted by all the little stuff along the way. Bringing back a ball or a stick are nice and feel good, but the don’t pay the bills — bring back ducks.