Sales lessons from a pop song: “Call me, maybe?”

My five year old daughter has been walking around the house over the past few weeks singing constantly, “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number.  Call me, maybe?”  Carly Rae Jepsen’s song is incessantly catchy, and is therefore in my own head constantly.   It does not help that I picture this cute five year old bouncing around singing it.

Of course, i hear the words and I think of how it relates to sales – in particular how it relates to “not so great” salespeople.

Every  tradeshow / networking function that I have ever attended essentially starts like this:  You show up, meet a bunch of people for the first time, you exchange business cards and other contact information, and then hope that it will lead to business.

In the song, the woman is handing a phone number over to a person that she barely knows, is declaring her undying love for (“before you came into my life I missed you so bad”) without any knowledge if this person is the right person for them, but has already decided that he is.  She is placing all her hopes and dreams on this chance encounter and is already convinced that this is the right person.

If this person that she has met is indeed the most perfect person for her, then why in the world is she waiting for him to call her?  She should call HIM!?  In sales, if you hand out a bunch of cards, and then wait for the person to call you, then you are certainly not going to be headed for the Quota Club.  You need to pick up the phone and ask for the business.  Salespeople feel good when they are busy.  They leave lots of phone messages, distribute their entire stock of 500 business cards, and are then convinced that the business should come to them.  They are convinced that they are selling.  They are not… they are making noise.  When salespeople aren’t actively pursuing the prospects that they have identified, then they are not selling – they are simply collecting a salary.

Another line in the song is, “all the other boys, try and chase me, but here’s my number so call me maybe…”  She rebuffs all other boys in favor of this one perfect guy.  Again, a bad, bad sales practice that happens way too often.  How many times do salespeople try to find that perfect deal, or chase that one amazing deal that will make their careers, and ignore the rest of the really great potential deals in front of them.  As a sales manager, I have had to force sales people to stop focusing on “that one amazing deal” because they were forsaking the rest of their pipeline.  Sales, is very often a numbers game, and in order to make your own quota, you need to be working as many deals as you can simultaneously – including that one perfect deal.  However, it is easy to slip into spending WAY too much time on that one deal that you think will make everything great.  You can make a lot of money on little deals along the way waiting the the kingpin deal to close.

Often, the little deals lead to the big deal.  In my first start-up, I worked this little tiny deal and made it successful.  About a year later, this manager left his company and went to one of the largest companies in the country, and he gave me a call to help him out there.  A small deal turned into a very large deal.  The woman in the song places all her hopes on this one guy deciding to call her, when perhaps the real perfect match is one of the other people she has ignored while looking at the one prize.

As you look to become better and better at sales and consistently crush your quota, you should never be handing out cards, or leaving phone messages or emails and hoping that someone will call you, maybe.  You should be proactively connecting with the prospects, and also working as many as you can at any one time.




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