Don’t Bet! Instead, grow your way into successful selling

If you had bet KShs 200,000 on Leicester City Football Club winning the English Premier League (EPL) last year, you’d be worth one billion shillings now. And what would you have learnt? Nothing.

The seductive, aromatic and hypnotic smell of betting frenzy is in the air. Able bodied men and women are flocking cyber cafés. You will find them transfixed to the monitors, fervently wanting, craving, needing their team to win in a process they have zero control over. They want to reap a lot for sowing a little. They want easy money; and every occasional small win by them or someone they know (or are told about) serves to energize their resolve. Like a junkie, they are hooked. We may criticize them, yet the average salesperson is no different from them-he doesn’t sell, he bets. He lacks a plan for selling. Here’s how.

You do not prospect- you toss a coin

As with any successful sale, betting companies thrive on relentless prospecting. Their prospects are those who bet. The more people bet, the less the betting companies have to give away in winnings, and the more they make in profits. Unlike betting companies, the average salesperson complains that his appointments, and therefore sales, are dwindling, but they do not relentlessly seek new prospects (persons who need and can buy their product or service). They bet that things will miraculously look up.

Much like betting addict, who swears on his mortgaged TV set, that the next game will see him win more than enough to clear with the Shylock, get his TV set back, and be left with change to spare.  None of this happens; and just like the consistently ‘prospect-less’ seller he spirals into obscurity. Continual prospecting is the cornerstone of successful selling; erratic or nil prospecting, is the cornerstone of frustration and failure; it’s betting.

You don’t prepare for the sales call, believing you can wing it

The very first article, three years ago, spoke of the 5Rs of preparation, that is, representation (externally, that is, your dressing, and internally, your attitude); repertoire (having your sales kit ready, such that you do not rummage through your stuff looking for a calculator the way a woman does her ringing cell phone or car keys in her handbag);

Then there was research (exploring client needs through insightful questions, studying the client on- and off-line ahead of the presentation and reviewing your material to ensure that the PowerPoint or Word document does not have remnants of the previous client’s details); rehearse (something few salespeople do, telling themselves that they will wing it-which they don’t); and finally, the 5th R is repeat, reiterating that the 5R’s are a continual cycle. Selling randomly is akin to betting; you have zero control over the process; you throw caution to the wind.

Misled by the occasional win, you sink further into gullibility

If you had bet KShs 200,000 on Leicester City Football Club winning the English Premier League (EPL) last year, you’d be worth one billion shillings now. And what would you have learnt? Nothing. Except, of course, how to reap where you’ve not sown; plus, grow your gullible muscle to take on more gullibility. Like the thousands of Kenyans who lost money in pyramid schemes, your new found knowledge leads you to bet the winnings and soon enough you are back to square one; only now you have an ulcer to show for it.

Lottery wins

Studies show that lottery winners frequently become estranged from family and friends, and incur a greater incidence of depression than the average person. Over 90% end up worse off than they were. Likewise, your random meanderings may land you a juicy sale. Say, a desperate contractor sees your branded T-shirt and says, ”Hey! You are the ones selling bid bonds? I need one for a billion right now.” You have no idea where it came from; the sale just landed on your lap. You even brag about it-the sale that is, not the fact that it fell on you out of the blue. In the process, you are nudged towards getting another sale, or deepening that one. You can’t. You’ve never grown the correct muscle. Soon it is evident you bet. Frustration builds and exit is imminent.

If you’re in doubt about any of the things mentioned above, remember pyramid schemes. Betting is going down this very well-trodden path. Don’t bet! Grow.

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