We’ve all been there; you have the opportunity to pitch your dream client.
You take your time during discovery. You gain access to all the decision-makers. You expertly differentiate from the competition. The numbers make sense. Your entire team rallies around the pitch—and you crush it.
But then… nothing. Your dream client goes dark.
Not long after comes the “no.” And it’s over. There’s little consolation. No second prize for “Closed Lost” in Salesforce.
Sales Is Full of Uncertainty
That’s the thing with sales. Even when you work hard and do everything right, sometimes it feels like winning needs a pinch of luck.
So we try to capture that luck. Manufacture that luck.
The belief that we can win is what keeps the wind in our sails, even though deep down we know we can’t control the outcome.
But science shows us that the feeling of control, even an illusory feeling of control, can reduce stress and thereby increase performance.
Why Superstitions Work
Superstitions help us because they provide a feeling of control, and that feeling of control actually helps your salespeople perform better under pressure.
I’ve had my own rituals throughout my career and started to wonder, does everyone? So I asked my favorite salespeople that I’ve worked with over the years, and here’s what they had to say about superstitions:
“I NEVER celebrate a verbal close or tell my CEO a deal is done until I get final signature from my client.”
– Patrick M., Pandora
“We all have reps on our teams that consistently sandbag. Some of my most senior reps still refuse to tell me when they had a good meeting or even move a deal to a higher percentage in Salesforce for fear of jinxing the momentum.”
– Austin L., Smaato
“I once had a building in my territory in SoHo where I literally lost every single deal. It was my Temple of Doom. After a while, I determined the entire building was jinxed and never set foot in there again.”
– Daniel E., Konica Minolta
“I have a lucky business card holder. I used it so much the button broke and wouldn’t clasp, but I still rocked it for years.”
– Ed G., Pabst Brewing
“I’ll never duplicate and reuse a proposal from a previous ‘Closed Lost’ opportunity.”
– Antonia M., IKE GPS
“I have one special mug I'll drink coffee from in the morning if I have a big meeting with a new client or if I’m negotiating a house that day.”
– Ana W., Keller Williams
“I always wear a blue shirt if I’m closing a piece of business and if I know there’s a cattle-call pitch that lasts the whole day, 12 noon is my lucky time slot. (Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring the client lunch with heavy carbs so they slip into a food coma while listening to your competitors’ afternoon pitches!)
– Mike H., iHeartRadio
Getting Lucky Takes Work
If rituals and superstitions provide you a feeling of control, by all means, use them to combat the stress that comes with the territory (pun intended).
We all welcome a pinch of luck. Unfortunately, it’s not predictable, repeatable or scalable. An even better strategy to feel in control is to develop a winning sales approach.
Lucky for you, Pitch Lab returns to General Assembly on November 6th for our next workshop: Every Great Sales Team Needs A Great Strategy. Here’s Yours.
You’ll leave with insight on how to ask the right questions to understand client motivation, differentiate yourself from the competition and close the right deals.
Until then, good luck… I mean, break a leg!