Get Your Salespeople to Take Layups, Not Shoot Three-Pointers

Get Your Salespeople to Take Layups, Not Shoot Three-Pointers

Salespeople often create pipedreams rather than pipelines. Learn how to avoid that sales mistake in this episode of the Sales Management Minute.
Get Your Salespeople to Take Layups, Not Shoot Three-Pointers

If you’ve been a follower of the Sales Management Minute, you know that baseball is the main sport in my house. Living in Minneapolis, baseball is not viable in the winter so my boys play in a basketball league.

My older son (age 12) had some early “success” shooting three-point baskets. Success? At this age, there is maybe one three-point basket scored in a game between both teams, but that doesn’t stop the kids from taking the long shots. While it was great to see him make a three, it also changed his game strategy. He kept trying to get more three-pointers rather than shooting layups and short shots. I love the passion, but questioned the strategy.

I asked him… If he took ten, three-point shots, how many would go in the basket to which he responded,  “One or two.”

Then, I asked if he took ten layups, how many he would make to which he said, “Seven.”

Let’s do the math. Two, three-pointers means a six-point game contribution. Seven layups is a fourteen-point contribution to the team. Plus, each missed three-point basket is an opportunity for the competition to get the ball. Why not focus your game strategy where you have the greatest likelihood of success?

I see this same thing happen in sales. A salesperson will win an account that is completely out of alignment with the attributes of the company’s ideal client profile. As a result of that win, their game strategy becomes pursuing all opportunities rather than the ones with the greatest chance to win.

What happens when they employ this strategy? They think they have a prospect pipeline, but they don’t. Their pipeline is loaded with suspects – deals for which there is only a small chance of a win.

Every salesperson gets the same number of hours in their selling day. The ones that win the game focus their time on the lay-ups, not the three-pointers.

See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.