The Dangers of Half Measures

The danger in half measures is much bigger than simply losing a deal; you also lose time, the one finite, non-renewable resource you have.

There’s this great quote from Lance Armstrong’s cycling coach.

If you are going to expend that first big block of effort and energy to participate, you might as well go ahead and give whatever it takes to win. – Johan Bruyneel

You’ll have to forgive the fact that Lance Armstrong admitted to cheating. Surely everyone was in on the plan, including his coach, but that doesn’t mean that the lesson in this quote is any less valuable to you or me.

If you’re going to go through all of the trouble to engage with the prospective client in the process of changing and potentially buying from you, then there is no reason to take half measures. There is no need to shorten the time that you spend with your prospective client as you engage in this process. There is no reason to try to move through the process at a faster pace than the pace that best serves your prospective client in making a decision, and a decision to choose you.

The idea of engaging in the sales process with your dream client is about helping them make a buying decision and a preference for you, your company, and your solution.

What Are Half Measures

Half-measures include rushing through the discovery process to give your prospective client a proposal. Even if they want the proposal, if it’s premature, then you are taking a half measure by giving it to them. Do the work.

It’s a half-measure to provide a proposal and presentation without having already vetted it with a prospective client to determine whether it’s a perfect fit and meets all of their needs.

Half-measures include having a meeting to uncover your potential customer’s needs and leaving that meeting without an agreed-upon next step that you will take together.

Half-measures also include having only product knowledge and lacking the business acumen and experience to create real value as a consultative salesperson and trusted advisor. Walking in as a talking brochure only sharing features and benefits is a half measure.

Half-measures entail dealing with the single stakeholder when the decision for them is strategic, and you are going to need the support of multiple stakeholders.

It’s Your Choice

If you’re going to exert the energy to compete, exert enough energy to win.

The decision you make about half-measures is a decision about the quality and caliber of your work. If you decide to take half-measures and your prospective client doesn’t know that your “all in,” then they are not going to feel a strong preference for you and your solution.

You might believe that going “all in,” requires more effort and energy, but it is still more efficient and more effective than taking half-measures and not producing the outcome at all. There is no way to go back in time and do all the things that would allow you to win—and that you should have done when you had the chance.

Look at the prospects in your pipeline. Which ones are you taking half-measures to win? What would it look like to go “all in?”

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Filed under: Beliefs, Sales 3.0

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