There’s only one thing worse than a big fish story, and that’s a story about how big a fish is that you’re going to catch! Potential is a dangerous thing. Potential is a lie that we tell ourselves when we aren’t working hard enough or are afraid of making the tough decisions. The world is comprised of talented failures that are full of potential. Even years back when I was selling telecommunications solutions in New England, I was weary of businesses that had plans to get big. A two phone line account was a two phone line account and that was it. Hardly ever would I lie to convince myself that this small business was going to go through some momentous transition that would require them to have so many services it would be like landing a monster deal without having to do the work. I may have just as well played the lottery.
This pitfall is far more dangerous in the transportation industry. In such a volatile economy with accordion-like freight capacity and ever changing shipping rates, it would seem easy to believe a business is about to get big or that their volume is going to really pick up soon. In the telecom and logistics industries, sales reps both new and veteran alike, would fall for this seduction time after time again. “When they land that deal” or “come out with that new product line” or “when the seasons starts” their volume is going to really get huge. I don’t even like chasing big deals because falling for this seduction can cause you to fail when you feel you are about to succeed. A fish on the hook is still just a fish in the water.
I know I’m struggling now, but when I land that deal I’m about to blow up
This deception disseminates beyond just a sales reps perception of their own sales funnel or career path. Sales managers become too enticed with the potential of their sales reps to recognize when they are not working, failing, or have no chance of succeeding. This potential is just an excuse to avoid making a tough or unpopular decision.
I know they’re struggling now, but when they land that deal they’re about to blow up.
Falling for the deception of potential prevents you from capitalizing on actual opportunities. When you convince yourself that a bad deal is a good deal, your competitor is already selling the next truckload or expedited shipment. When a sales manager is hanging onto every phone call their inadequate rep is making, their competitor has just hired the market’s newest logistics sales superstar.
Strong prospect management involves understanding the specifics of your prospects. How many LTL shipments do they currently do? How much revenue does the sales reps currently project in their funnel?
The biggest crime of all is that by setting this false potential, we will never live up to our true potential. With that said, should we continue upon this dangerous course, we are all destined to be failures. Focus upon the opportunities in front of you and save the fish stories for another day.