“Neediness kills sales faster than anything else. Find out why you feel needy and deal with it!”
~ Chandell Labbozzetta
The Confidence Killer…
I was looking through some old presentation files the other day and came across a slide with the title, “The Confidence Killer” and an image of a vampire just about to bite a young man while he was in the middle of a sales presentation…
The notes on the slide reminded me that it was the story of Jake, a sales man I mentored during my corporate career. Everyone on the team had to make 100 appointment setting calls every second day, with the idea being that we’d get 10 appointments for the following day and Jake was constantly missing the target.
He’d start each day with his list of people to call and ease gently into the day, taking the time to get psyched up for each call. By early afternoon, he’d be burning through that list at speed hoping to get the appointments he needed for the following day. On average, he’d get about 5 appointments from his calls in the morning, and 0 in the afternoon.
On appointment day, he would make about 2 sales in the morning, 0 in the afternoon.
When you looked at his metrics, you’d see that his mornings delivered OK results, his afternoons delivered nothing.
Jake knew it. His manager knew it… And his job was on the line.
I’m not even sure why Jake wanted to stay in his role, but he did, and he came to me for help.
Never be Needy!
I listened to a few of his call recordings and it was fairly clear what was going on.
In the morning, he was relaxed (probably too relaxed) and friendly. By 1pm he’d realise that he was less than halfway through his 100 calls for the day and he’d be rushing to meet that quota and he’d also be desperate to book appointments for the next day.
The stress and neediness showed in his voice, in his abrupt responses, and in his inability to listen and really hear what prospects were saying.
During appointments, something similar would happen. I went along with him and it was clear that the prospect could sense his urgency and discomfort and wondered why he was being pushed into a sale.
It was a vicious cycle… The closer Jake got to a deadline, the more stressed and nervous he became, and the less likely it was that he would actually reach his goal. Neediness was killing his sales AND his career.
So… How Do I Stop Feeling Needy?
Jake had asked me for help, so I was able to ask him some questions and find out why he wanted to keep putting himself through this torture instead of looking for a job in something else. I quickly realised that he had powerful reasons for wanting to succeed, so we created an image that would remind him of his deep intrinsic motivation and put it beside his desk.
I taught him to look at that image, breathe deeply, and really focus on how a successful sale felt, then we worked on his call strategy.
The essence of what Jake discovered was that if he focused on his intrinsic motivation rather than his need to:
1. Make 100 calls;
2. Set 10 Appointments;
Then he was more relaxed and able to listen. He said it was as though his neediness just evaporated and he was focused on the person at the other end of the phone. As a result, he got through his calls in a timely fashion, and he started to book 15 or 20 calls each day.
When we applied a similar tactic to his appointments, his closing rate went through the roof and he become one of the most productive sales people in the company.
The Hydra of Neediness
Remember the hydra?
It was a horrendous monster and every time you cut off one head two more grew in its place.
Neediness is like that… You might feel pressured by:
- Performance goals
- Action goals
- Income goals
- Bonus goals
- Time goals
Whatever combination of these you face, as the time behind you gets longer and the time you have to complete the goal gets shorter your sense of neediness grows… And undermines the chance that you will achieve your outcome.
Neediness threatens your likelihood of achieving any goal, but it’s particularly dangerous when it comes to sales.
Do you have a strategy for leaving neediness behind you, even when you desperately need to achieve your income goal or results target?