What a whopper! I was fortunate enough to be invited by one of my best friends since 5th grade. Many would say we are twin brothers from different mothers. Where you saw one of us, the other was nearby. That included the principal’s office, detention, and many other places we are not allowed to talk about. LOL.
It was Venice, Louisiana, and the waters were ripe for a great day of Red Fishing. At 4:30 a.m., the fog filled the canals as we pulled into the mighty Mississippi for a short jaunt into the grass-lined bays, bayous, and mud flats. I must say dodging the tugboats pulling barges the length of your neighborhood was especially chilling and alarming when the foghorn broke the eerie silence of an early morning bayou. And when we felt the wake of another fishing boat that we couldn’t see, it caused concern. Sometimes, in an adventure, you must put your faith above and realize control is not yours.
As the sun burned off the fog and we escaped into places we never knew existed, the fishing got hot! Throwing a shrimp under a Cajun Popper near the grass edges, small mouths of creeks, and into shallow pockets neat the edges produced time and time again. Everyone in the boat was filling the ice-chest.
All of a sudden, my line started screaming. ZZZZZZING, ZZZZZING, ZZZZZZZIIIIIIINNNNNG, the line was peeling off like a hot rod at a quarter-mile track. I thought for sure it was a big shark. Working the drag on the reel to slow the run but not break off was a balancing act. Finally, it slowed. I started cranking, and cranking, and cranking. 20 minutes later as it neared the boat, we saw the dorsal fins and knew it was a Bull Red. OK, BREATH, JUST BREATH. (Faith Hill was singing in my ears). I reeled in about 10 feet from the boat, and when that swamp monarch saw the boat, it was on again! ZIIIINNNNNNNG, ZIIIINNNNNNGGG. I lost another 200 years of line. The fight moved to round 2. Pump – reel, pump reel, pump reel. This was the theme for the next 15 minutes. She began to tire and finally came to the boat. I thought it was over. Nope, she had a little more gas in her! Zing, Zing, Zing… Only about 50 yards this time peeled off the reel. Ok, there goes Faith Hill again… breathe.
Of course, seeing the pictures below, you know the rest of the story. So, what does this have to do with sales? Well, a lot. For starters, working with sales organizations, I see they tend to live in the past. Much like I’ve done sharing the fishing story, however, I can’t eat that fish again. It’s a great memory, but it does nothing to put food on the table today.
Salespeople tend to live on past accounts and not generate enough new business. Sales Managers tend to focus on the metrics defining the pipeline and number of proposals, not the metrics that drive qualified proposals. Sales leaders tend to focus on past trends, and they look at history, not future potential.
To grow sales, stop living in the past and looking at historical data. We know 50% of sales teams are not making quota. And 35% of sales hires don’t make it.
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