WHAT THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE TEACHES ABOUT SALES – PART 1: THE RACE
You probably know the story of The Tortoise and The Hare.
Once upon a time, a hare was bragging about how fast he was – the fastest of all the animals in woodlands. Listening to the hare’s boasting, the tortoise spoke up, “I’ll challenge you to a race.”
The hare couldn’t believe it. Of all the animals, the slowest one, the tortoise, wanted to have a race. Supremely confident, the hare agreed. The other animals got together, mapped out the course, and settled down to watch what they thought was a foregone conclusion. The race started and the hare was off, quickly putting a significant distance between himself and the tortoise who was moving along at a slow and steady pace.
“This is too easy,” thought the hare. He spied a tree off to the side of the course and settled in for a nap. He fell asleep, thinking, “I’ll have more than enough time to relax and still win the race.” The tortoise kept going at the same slow and steady pace. Eyes on the finish line in the distance, never stopping.
The hare woke with a start. There was cheering going on at the finish line. Surprised, he bounded the rest of the track to find the spectators surrounding the tortoise who had already finished the race.
The tortoise had won. There are a number of lessons in this famous story.
Here is what it can teach you about succeeding in sales.
Table of Contents
1. The Danger of Overconfidence
The hare’s initial mistake was that he was overconfident.
He bragged about how quick he was, dismissed the tortoise as having no hope in winning, and believed he could take a break from the race and still win. Don’t get me wrong, confidence is a good thing. If you’re confident in your skill as a salesperson and confident in your ability to make the sale, you’ll come across better and be much more successful than if you’re not confident.
However, if you too confident you can make mistakes and cut corners.
A great example is viewing a potential sale as super easy. You brag about how you could close this sale in your sleep. Rock up to the meeting with the prospect unprepared but because your solution is the quickest on the market, you’re supremely confident you’ll make the sale.
The meeting goes well, and you take the afternoon off while you wait for the prospect to accept your proposal. What do you have to worry about?
You don’t hear from the prospect that afternoon or the next day. Then, later in the week, you hear from one of the other salespeople in your company that your prospect has gone with a competing solution. A solution sold by a salesperson you don’t really rate.
What just happened?
The other salesperson followed their sales process, built a relationship with the prospect, and then followed up.
2. The Importance of Focus and Determination
The tortoise stuck to his game plan. He couldn’t worry about the hare and what he was doing, and it wasn’t helpful to dwell on the fact the hare was built for speed and he wasn’t. Instead, he did what he could do – focus on the finish line and put one foot in front of the other. Slow and steady.
The tortoise focused only on what he could control.
The massive lead the hare raced out to didn’t bother him. He focused on his own performance. He didn’t get distracted by the hare sleeping off to the side of the track. He made his way to the finish line and won.
In sales, it is easy to get distracted but what other salespeople are (and aren’t) doing. You’ll also hear that there’s no way you can make a particular sale or reach a certain target. But, if you’re focused and determined, there’s no reason why you can’t.
3. Finish What You Start
Both the tortoise and the hare started the race. The tortoise kept going until he finished the race, whereas the hare took a large break in the middle.
Think about how your leads and prospects make their way through your sales funnel.
Do they always make it to the finish line as either a “yes” or a “no”? Or do some of them get lost along the way? By this I mean, did you have the initial meeting and then not follow up? Or was the answer “not now” and you never got back in touch?
If you’ve started building a relationship with a prospect it’s important to get them to a finish line. Close the sales with a “yes” or get a “no”. Not getting a definitive answer or leaving them somewhere in your sales funnel means you’re missing on potential wins (sales).
And from the prospect’s point of view, it’s not a good look if you start the sales process and then disappear. Definitely not a way to build a relationship! Finishing what you start applies to other areas of life. My building apprenticeship was tough. At the building firm I worked for, very few apprentices made it through the three years necessary to qualify as a builder. In fact, due to the abusive nature of the crew, most lasted only a few months.
I wanted to quit so many times, but I hung in there. Finished my apprenticeship and that gave me the qualification I needed to start my own building company.
Overall, there are some valuable lessons that can be learned from The Tortoise and The Hare.
Be confident but not overconfident when it comes to your sales. Overconfidence can lead to mistakes and missing out on “easy” sales.
Have your eyes on the prize and be focused and determined with your sales efforts. This will help you not get distracted and allow you to push on to the finish line.
Finally, finish what you start. Don’t leave prospects lost in your sales funnel.
We have a number of events and programmes specifically designed to help salespeople and business consistently reach the finish line. Get in touch to find out more.
Sharn Piper, CEO Attain NZ
Hi, I’m Sharn, and I love nothing more than getting that ecstatic phone call from a client who has just smashed their sales targets after a session with Attain.
Over the course of my career I’ve led numerous sales teams, built multiple successful businesses and learnt how to craft a sales process that is robust, repeatable and produces consistent results.
I love a challenge and have acquired a reputation for being quick to get to the core of the issue and find out-of-the-box solutions to unleash better sales. These skills have proven useful time and time again as I’m approached to boost the results of high-performing teams wanting to take business to a whole new level.
For help with your sales, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org