Sales: The Fog Will Lift Soon

Sales guru Paul Reilly provides an anecdotal message of perspective and advice as sales staffs eagerly await the return of "normal".

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Torrey Pines is arguably one of the most beautiful courses in the world. It sits upon a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The views are breathtaking. This “hallowed” ground is a mecca for golf enthusiasts everywhere. Last year, I was lucky enough to play this course with a couple of friends.

The days leading up to the tee time were filled with excitement and anticipation. We were thrilled to play the same course that so many legends have played. However, our excitement soon turned to frustration. Upon checking-in, we were told that a dense fog would obscure many of the breath-taking views. The dense fog would also render the course extremely challenging.

Although we were disappointed, it wasn’t going to define the day. My buddy had to call 90 days in advance to get this tee time. We were playing no matter what. Besides, the starter offered some encouraging words before we teed off, “No worries. The fog will lift soon.”

The fog was bad. From the tee box, visibility was roughly 60-70 yards. We could barely tell where the fairway started, let alone where to aim. Every ball we hit seemed to disappear into an eerie abyss. Since we couldn’t see the ball land, we relied on a course map and steady fundamentals to guide us through the fog.

It took self-discipline to throttle down and swing smooth. We weren’t crushing the ball off the tee, but we were hitting it straight. Even with the dense fog, we didn’t lose one ball. Sure, the fog was frustrating, but we were still playing one of the most iconic golf courses in the world. And eventually, this fog would lift!

Currently, we are facing an even denser fog. A frustrating, elusive fog, that doesn’t seem to lift. In the midst of all this fog, it’s critical that we keep playing and pressing on. It’s uncertain how and when this fog will lift. It’s uncertain what we’ll see when the fog is lifted. Accepting the unknown is the most challenging aspect of this fog. But there is hope. Like the starter said, “The fog will lift soon.”

Until that fog lifts, focus on the fundamentals. Review and build your pipeline. Review and tweak your account plans. Consistently reach out to customers and prospects. Focus your attention on the buyer’s needs and define value in their terms. Whether dense fog or clear skies, these are the fundamentals of selling.

After nine holes, the fog lifted and the skies were clear. We could finally see the majestic views from the cliffs. It was spectacular! So naturally, we reverted back to our old habits; overswinging, playing too aggressive, and taking too many risks. My scorecard reflected these old habits. After a painstaking triple bogey, I jokingly said to my friends, “I’m sure we’ll start playing better, we just need a little fog.” Although this fog is frustrating, it is a not-so-subtle reminder to focus on the fundamentals.

Paul Reilly is a speaker, sales trainer, co-author of Value-Added Selling, fourth edition (McGraw-Hill, 2018), and host of The Q and A Sales Podcast. For additional information on our keynote presentations and seminars, call 636-778-0175 or email Paul@ReillySalesTraining.com.

This blog was originally posted on Tom Reilly Training's website here.

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