I was talking with Scott Leese, the SVP of Sales for OutboundEngine the other day. Scott is not only one of the smartest sales leaders I know; he’s also a great friend. To give you some perspective…Scott has successfully built 4 different inside sales teams that sell into the local space. Team sizes have ranged from 75 to 100+ reps in multiple cities. To say the least he knows how to build and scale.
We were just catching up about family and stuff and he was telling me about his experience with building a 1000 piece puzzle. It’s a picture of Athens, Greece. Scott and I like doing puzzles. It’s very relaxing to work on puzzles at the end of a work day to take your mind off of work and focus on something mindless. It’s also a good way to spend time with kids to teach them organization, discipline, and focus. Scott has a goal to go to Greece. I know Scott will make it, he always achieves his goals.
A puzzle is very easy because you know you have all the pieces there to complete it. Scott and I often discover we are wired similarly. We both find it terribly frustrating when you are trying to find one particular piece. If you’ve done a puzzle perhaps you can relate. You end up spinning your wheels looking for that one particular puzzle piece. Then you become stubborn and will not focus on any other part of the puzzle until you find this one particular piece. Then the boom drops. You feel defeated because sometimes you just cannot find it.
We then both laughed when we realized if you walk away from the puzzle and start to work on another part, then and only then do we run across the one piece that had temporarily defeated you.
The reason I bring this up is because this correlates with our process as sales leaders. We are given the pieces to complete the puzzle and when we only focus on one part, close rate for example, we get nowhere. When we take our mind off the thing stumping us and start to focus on the other parts of our process and putting them in place, then and only then do we stumble on the missing piece we spent enormous amounts of time and energy on.
Next time we are focused on only the target we should all take a step back and focus on what gets us our deals (calls, process, value), and then will we find the missing piece (deal).
When you are only focused on the next sale, you will almost never find it. Just like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle, the best thing is to step back for a second, come back to the puzzle, and build the thing the way you know how.
Find the corner pieces. Find the edge pieces. Build other sections.
And then when you stop thinking about the missing piece? There it is!
Same thing with that one sale you want so badly, keep building the puzzle and you’ll find it.
Scott, thanks for sharing an awesome story.
So what’s your missing puzzle piece in sales?
Follow Scott on Twitter: @sleese555
Follow The Harris Consulting Group on Twitter: @rharris415