Imagine walking into a prospect’s office and having him or her say, “I have a problem. There is a monkey on my back and I want to make it yours.” Any normal person would know better than to say, “Great, toss that over here and let me add that to the monkeys I am already working with.”
As a sales coach, I spend time with quite a few people who have big monkey collections. They have accepted that their prospects and clients’ problems are actually theirs. Unfortunately, these monkey collections have some predictable consequences.
First, a large collection of monkeys generates a higher level of stress because they are not yours. You can’t control their constant chatter and yet, it is often all that you hear. Second, a loud noisy troop of monkeys will keep any salesperson from focusing on the right higher-priority tasks (typically this is the “I do not have time to prospect” excuse). Finally, because of the constant chatter and the lower level of productivity, a large monkey collection will create the perception that the salesperson is ineffective.
To get out of the monkey wrangling business, salespeople need to follow this simple process:
1) Recognize the Monkey,
2) Identify its owner.
3) Define the impact.
4) Commit to feed or shoot the monkey.
Not every problem is your problem. It may not be your monkey. Not every problem needs to be fixed. Some monkeys are pets. If your prospect would rather feed his pet monkey than shoot the problem monkey, there really is no sale to be made.