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Sales Jeopardy

What is Sales Jeopardy?

Every day across the world, there are hundreds of situations in sales known as sales jeopardy. Sales jeopardy is that moment in time, whether you’re face-to-face or on the phone, when you have made the presentation and are not getting a yes or a no. From that moment forward, until you get a definite answer, you are in sales jeopardy . . .

There are two problems with sales jeopardy: salespeople tend not to recognize when they are in it, and they persist in having hope. We usually think of hope as a good thing. But it is not in sales, and salespeople need to realize this: hope in sales is futile to the point of disaster.

Let me give you some examples of Sales Jeopardy:

  • “I know for sure I got the sale.”
  • “They told me I will get their business.”
  • “He reminds me of my grandpa; he sounds just like him on the phone.”
  • “I’m so sure I am getting this deal.”
  • “Chuck, I’m buying you a steak dinner and a bottle of wine when the money comes in.”

Why are these examples of hope bad? Because nothing is settled—it’s only wishful thinking. If you for sure got the sale, why hasn’t the prospect given you a definite answer yes? If they told you that you will get their business, why haven’t you already? Would your grandpa buy what you’re selling—if you weren’t the one selling it? If you are so sure you are getting this deal, why haven’t you gotten it? How do you know when or if the money will come in?

And I’m still waiting on that bottle of wine.

Sales Jeopardy = Hope = Disaster!

C’mon! We’ve got to stop this hoping that is not based on anything! If you simply hope and don’t do anything, another salesperson with better distinctions and more conviction will swoop down and capture that deal you were so sure of.

Let’s look at it another way. As some of you know, I am an instrument-rated private pilot. And I know that hope in aviation, just like hope in sales, is disastrous. Here are some examples that pilots have been known to say, taken from black box recordings:

  • “I hope the engine won’t quit.”
  • “I hope there’s enough gas.”
  • “I hope the thunderstorm will go away.”
  • “I hope there will be no lightning.”
  • “I hope the ground fog will dissipate by arrival time.”
  • “I hope the runway’s long enough—we’re fully loaded, it’s raining, and there’s a lot of water on the runway.”

But the runway wasn’t long enough. They ran off it and cracked into three pieces a brand new 73800 series aircraft. Luckily no one was hurt. But simply hoping did no good.

You can’t stay in the limbo that is sales jeopardy! You must do something! And one thing you can do when you realize you are in sales jeopardy is mail a profile sheet of testimonials about you, your company, your product, your service, your offer, in a bright-colored envelope to that prospect who hasn’t given you a definite answer. Or mail one of those brochures that is gathering dust in your office. Or send a thank you note. Or something else to make sure they do remember you and give you a definite answer.

However, first you must remember that sales jeopardy can occur and do what you can to prevent it. I trust this information has helped you.

If you need more information on sales, marketing, or business management, the place to go is www.chuckbauer.com.


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