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What is the Definition of Sales Insanity?

The CRM screen looked like a spreadsheet with entries made that all looked the same. Written on every line was, "Called, Left Message, no Response." I scrolled down the page on my screen, and there must have been 50 such entries, all the same. Some of the calls were made several days in a row, some dates skipped a week or two, some longer, but the results all looked the same. Later that day, I spoke with the salesperson that handled this account. They told me how they had the CRM tool up to date with all their entries. I then asked, "Why were they all the same?" The response was that the representative could not get the prospect to return his call, to which I replied, "Then stop doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

As professional salespeople, the very last thing we want to hear is No. I think that salespeople believe that as long as they do not get a No, there is a possibility of a Yes. And while that might be true, it can be a soul-destroying process when the sale takes an inordinate amount of time. During my selling career, I was never told by a prospect that they were waiting for my call. Nor was I ever told that the very day I called, they had been hoping for my call as they started their day. Unfortunately, in sales, we are often an afterthought, much to our chagrin. Timing, as much as anything, ranked as one of the top reasons a sale was eventually made. My management never wanted to hear that to them it was the product, the value, the process that was driving the business. More times than not, something changed with a prospect to accelerate discussions. That change was often something I said, shared, or did differently to kick start the process. Was I changing the timing?

Salespeople are a very resilient bunch. However, we need to be smart about our interactions with prospects to avoid falling into the trap that so many salespeople do.

"Mr. Johnson, this is Bob from Acme Services. Can you give me a call at 555-1212. I would like to talk to you about how our product can help your business."

Now I don't know Mr. Johnson, but I will assume he is like most, a busy man who probably gets multiple calls a day from representatives selling all types of products. Would you respond to this message? And if the representative making this call repeated this over and over again, would it make you any more likely to respond? I did not think so. Yet, as salespeople, we do the same things over and over again in the name of an activity, to maintain a CRM database, and some metric that will never, ever help you close the deal. The question is, do we think this repeated behavior will deliver a different result? Sadly, it often does not.

The new currency of the realm for salespeople and sales leaders alike is judgement and awareness, two critical skills that are often lacking in favor of process and activity. As salespeople, we must resist the urge to do aimlessly that which needs a purpose. Every interaction with a prospect is unique and therefore requires a unique element from the salesperson to help them differentiate from the selling competition. Fresh ideas need to be generated to gain access that are less about your product and more about a critical business need that a prospect has or needs solving. It is paramount to research your prospect and their business to discover where gaps might exist for you to fill. This is not easy. And it will test your commitment to the mission and the pull to fall back into the old habit of doing the same thing over and over again.

Mr. Johnson will talk to you; just give him the reason he needs. In your research, you discover the missing link. Now you are ready to make that call, and you won't continue your past repetition.

"Mr. Johnson this is Bob from Acme Services. I understand that you may be experiencing difficulty with the flow of new customers into your business. Many of our new customers were having the same difficulty. I would like to get your opinion on a set of customers we have identified that spend more than $10 million per year and have a propensity to buy the products your business sells. Do you have a few minutes next Wednesday to discuss this? My Number is 555-1212. I repeat 555-1212. Call me anytime. I look forward to talking with you about filling your revenue gap."

So, don't practice the definition of Insanity:

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Roger McNamara Bio:

Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple industries and across the globe that include Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $300 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchants pay to accept Credit, and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces, in general, to be able to better position their products and gain share, particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at

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