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Five Mile Markers Of A Sales Marathon
By Curt Tueffert   Printer Friendly Version

Complex sales require the stamina of a marathon runner. The sales cycle is long and there are many steps and people that you have to satisfy before the sale is made.

Recently, I ran in the 1999 Cozumel Marathon, located in Cozumel, Mexico. I trained long and hard for this event, much like a sales professional needs to for the complex sale. Here are 5 mile-markers to help you get through the long sales cycle.

Mile 1: OK, you just started. You feel fresh, full of energy, and ready for the long haul. In sales, here is where you begin your strategy of how this account will be managed. Who are the decision makers, the influencers, and users. How do they fit into the bigger picture of your product or service?

Mile 5: Time to grab some fluids to replace what has been used by your body. The pack of runners is starting to thin. In sales, the competition has begun to drop, stay focused on the goal ahead. Replace fluids by making sure all the homework and research you need to do is completed. Keep all the players in the account up to date on your progress.

Mile 13: You're half way there! Keep drinking fluids, grab some PowerGelâ to maintain your energy and drive. Pace yourself to insure you are running your race, not the other runners. In sales, take the extra shot of energy by having the client use your product or have them meet at your office for an executive overview and agree on the logistics for implementation. Keep all the players in the loop. Note the competition around you, pace yourself to sell your strengths.

Mile 20: Here is where you make the switch from hype to heart. The next 6.2 miles are the most difficult. You'll need to dig deeper, focus, draw on that reserve of passion and commitment to complete the last 6.2 miles. In sales, you're beyond the research, analysis, requirements, and specifications. You've eliminated the competition, and recommended your solution as the most effective. Time for the close and handling the objections for the next 6.2 miles.

Mile 26: Only 200 yards to go. You're tired, spent, and almost disoriented. You know you've got 200 yards, and you don't know how to finish. Then, you hear the cheer of the crowds, the encouragement of friends pushing you forward, you can almost see the finish line. In sales, you have their commitment, signed paperwork, and timeline for installation. Now is the time to reassure the customer they've made the right decision, trusted the right sales professional and their company, and will be very happy with their decision.

In marathon running, you need proper training, focus, passion, and a calling higher than most. Only 1/10 of 1% of the US population can complete a marathon. In sales, you have the greatest career ever known. You'll need proper sales training, focus, passion, and a higher calling to be successful. As you pass these mile markers, remember, you are than much closer to obtaining the sale, congratulations!

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