The Story of the Lion & the Gazelle

A Sad Story About Sales
· Sales 3
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The Lion & the Gazelle: A Sad Story About Sales

Are you in sales? Are you a business owner? Maybe in marketing?

I’ve got a sad story to tell you today.

It’s a story about traditional sales. It’s a story about selling in the era of Mad Men and Glengarry Glenn Ross. It’s a story of winners and losers. It’s a story about a system that doesn't work like it used to, but 90 percent of people selling anything still use it.

In order to protect the innocent, I will mask the names of those involved. Instead, I’ll use a lion and a gazelle. And, I’m going to ask you to imagine this story being told in the best Discovery Channel voice over voice you’ve ever heard…

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[Discovery Channel voice over]

“A common site in the business jungle, the average customer grazes from place to place, enjoying her life and everything her environment has to offer. The safety and security of her herd comfort her, allowing her to be vulnerable and open to new experiences. But, sometimes she’s unsure of herself and needs help deciding which piece of grass to gnaw on next.”

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“Enter Mr. Salesman. He loves when he encounters an average customer. He knows her vulnerabilities and her inability to decide.”

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“He does his best to ‘blend in’ to the customer’s environment – seemingly saying, ‘Hey, guys. Don’t mind me…I’m just strolling by. There’s some great grass over here; you should try it.’ And, the average customer, truly believing Mr. Salesman is there to help, ventures over to check out this newfound resource.”

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“Now, Mr. Salesman has her right where he wants her. And begins his attack. SELL…SELL…SELL…SELL…”

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“And on to the next victim.”

Sound familiar?

I’ll disclaim here again: This blog was a fictional dramatization based on a true story and actual events. The names and faces were changed to protect the innocent.

So, what’s wrong with this situation?

  • The customer is taken advantage of.
  • The salesperson only thinks about himself.
  • There is a winner and a loser.
  • The customer walks away feeling beaten up (if she walks away at all!).
  • The salesperson goes from one “victim” to the next.

The list could go on and on. There’s A LOT that’s wrong about this approach to sales. Granted, it is dramatized; but, although it may be an extreme example, it’s the underlying theme of every typical sales process out there.

What’s missing from this is being helpful and providing value.

The traditional sales mentality of push until she caves is outdated and just doesn’t work any more. People buy differently now. Upwards of 70 percent of the buying decision is made before you even know a prospect exists. She has researched you and your competition. She has read reviews. She has picked out the colors. She knows what she wants to spend. And, if you don’t take care of her, help her, education her…she’ll find someone else who will.

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