If you are unwilling to prospect, you are an order-taker. If you refuse to do the work of creating opportunities, you are not a rainmaker. You are a rain barrel, sitting empty, eyes pointed towards the sky, praying for rain. The Gods of Prospecting are certain in their demands, requiring activity in exchange for their blessings. They punish those who violate this rule with empty pipelines and a sense of desperation and despair.
What salespeople do can be boiled down to two things: opportunity creation and opportunity capture (everything is simply some form of commentary as to these two, most necessary outcomes). For some reason, there are people with titles that indicate that they work in sales who believe that selling is only the second and not the first. They like the idea of pursuing deals but they hate the idea of having to create the opportunity in first place. They believe it is someone else’s job to do the lowly work of prospecting, allowing them to reserve their highly specialized skill set from something more valuable work.
The idea that someone else is supposed to create your opportunities for you is the mindset of an order-taker. It’s also a strong indicator that you are conflict-averse and lack the chops to interrupt a prospective client and share something valuable enough to command their time and attention. More still, it means you can’t gain the first commitment, the Commitment for Time, which means it’s suspect that you gain the equally difficult commitments of Consensus, Investment, and Resolving Concerns. One can hardly imagine trusting the conversation about value and price and the negotiation that follows to one who is afraid to call a stranger for fear of being rejected, or whatever it is they fear.
Because of the very limited value an order-taker creates for clients and the business for whom they work, they are increasingly becoming less and less valuable. The real value a salesperson brings is their ability to both create and capture new opportunities. The rewards in sales accrue to the rainmaker, not the rain barrel.
There aren’t too many things that make you an order-taker more than an aversion to prospecting, that being necessary to create new opportunities.
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Filed under: Sales