You get no points for getting to the 1 yard line

In football, it goes without saying that unless the ball makes it to the endzone, in your hands, then you don’t get any points.  In sales, we have to remember that we also cannot celebrate until the sale is done.

It takes a lot of effort to prospect, pitch, and ultimately get someone to agree to buy your software.  It often takes a significant amount of more time to get through the contract negotiations.  But – none of this is a sale.  A sale is only a sale once the money is in the bank.

Too often, I am amazed by companies and sales teams that are hi-fiving based on getting to the one yard line.  A perfect example is a start-up that I was helping with sales.  We managed to get a big company in the media space very interested in the service we were offering.   We did get ink on the contract, and we did start rolling out.  But, the salesguy got too cocky about the “sale” and decided that since he closed this big contract, he didn’t need to work hard at it anymore.  The management bought into his cockiness, despite my objections, and ultimately the contract was not serviced correctly, and the company only received about 30% of the money on the face of the contract.  And, as result, the company which had the opportunity to be the big dogs in the space, became a small player.

The lesson is that if you take the time and the effort to get to the 1 yard line, then take the time to follow through into the endzone.  And you should always use the momentum to contiinue to close deals.