Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
How We Build a 90% Failure Rate into the Sales Process > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

How We Build a 90% Failure Rate into the Sales Process

I recently began doing training in the banking industry. Across the board, successful bankers close between 2% and 6% of the prospects they call on, starting from their first prospecting call.

Not only are those numbers abysmal, they are considered normal. In other words, bankers are expected to fail at least 94% of their time. The insurance industry has the same odds.

In general, every industry closes less than 10% of the prospects they call (first call to close), with over 90% falling in the 7% category. And, since there is no scientific way of knowing which prospects fall into the 7%, we continue running after all 'hot' prospects until they disappear. And then we make excuses for those we lost while having no earthly idea why we actually lost them.

Basically, we are out of control; the only control we seem to have is over product pitch and our ability to chase seemingly hot prospects.

While I'm being a bit harsh, these are the realities that are built into the system of selling. Sellers expect failure and work to overcome it.

Why is it ok to have such a low closing ratio? Why have we built failure into the sales system? Why do we accept a 90% plus failure rate ? and hire an over-abundance of sales people to make up the difference? Why do we continue to teach sellers the same-old same-old techniques that continue getting them the same-old ratios? And why is it ok to have an entire profession that wastes over 90% of their time?

Because we don't know any better.


For millennia we have based sales on our need to sell that which we get paid to sell. We have watched buyers disappear and go into some quiet, silent space that remains hidden from us while they ? while they do what?

Where do they go when we leave them? Why don't they call us back when it's so obvious they have a problem that our product can solve!

We have had this long standing belief that we can fix problems, that our products are the necessary solution, and that we know what a prospect needs (based on what we can see from our vantage point outside of the prospect's environment.

But do we know? How do we know for sure? How can we ever know what another person needs in order to solve their problem? How can we know what a group or a team or a company needs? Just because we can see the problem, and just because our product could solve the problem, doesn't mean the buyer needs it, or is ready to buy it, or doesn't have other choices.

Or wants to leave the problem the way it is.

What makes us think we have the answer?

Let's take a good look at what we're doing here:

1. We enter our prospect's status quo with a solution, and as a result become a solution looking for a problem.

2. Our calls, our questions, our communications ? marketing, advertising, pitches and presentations, needs analyses ? are all biased, and constructed around getting our product sold, even though we profess to be mindful of buyer's needs.

3. All of our conversations are based on different ways to encourage a prospect to understand their need for our product.

4. We assume that if the prospect has a problem in the area our product solves, that they need us to supply them with our solution.

5. We assume that because there is a need, that the prospect just has to be made to understand that they will save time/money or whatever if they use our product ? and of course it's our job to get the prospect to understand they have a problem that we can fix.

What is going on? Until or unless a buyer can recognize, align, and manage their own internal variables ? their culture, if you will ? they will do nothing. And we are left waiting in a void with nothing but guesses to make sense of what seems to us to be an obvious decision.


I'm here to tell you that there is a way to support the buyer on her side of the equation. Rather than sell, we can actually help buyers make buying decisions without selling anything. Not only that, we can close 50% of the prospects that show up, 12% - 15% of the prospects we solicit, and close the sales in ½ the normal time frame.

But to do that, we must stop selling. In the mid 80's Larry Wilson wrote a book called Stop Selling, Start Partnering. Even then he knew that sales wasn't the answer. While he didn't have a model to teach us how to do that, his ideas were sound and refreshing. But being the egotistical lot that we are, we assumed that what we had to do was partner in order to sell.

I'm going to make a different assertion: I'm going to suggest that we truly STOP SELLING and help people buy instead (and after all, selling and buying are two different activities).

Selling doesn't work: it doesn't get us anywhere; we never know when our buyers are going to come back ? or even if they will; and we continue trying to add bells and whistles to the same basic process, hoping to get different results.

These are the realities that are built into the system of selling. We actually expect failure and work from there to overcome it.

Take a look at Buying Facilitation. It will give you skills to help you help buyers make purchasing decisions based on their own buying criteria. It's a systems view of the buying process; a sequencing system of facilitating decisions. It's got nothing to do with selling, and everything to do with solving problems within a system so the system can remain congruent and not disrupted.

Sales is antiquated. It's very possible than better than a 10% success rate. It's very possible indeed ? but it won't be by selling.

Sharon Drew Morgen is the author of New York Times bestseller Selling with Integrity. She is the visionary and thought leader behind a wholly original sales model based on the systems of how people change and decide. She has taught this system to 13,000 people in the fields of sales, customer service, negotiating, coaching, and change management. Sharon Drew is a keynote speaker and decision strategist, helping companies change their internal practices to embrace collaborative decision making, ethics, values, and integrity. She can be reached at 512-457-0246 and and

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

TV Technology (blog)

ChyronHego Fills Two Leadership Positions in Asia-Pacific Sales Organization
TV Technology (blog)
John Foo has more than 25 years of experience in business and sales management for the technology industry. He joins ChyronHego from Ikegami Electronics Asia-Pacific, where he served for five years as strategic business director in charge of enterprise ...

Rory McIlroy's solution for unruly fans? 'Limit alcohol sales on the course'
With the growing popularity of TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, it seems every tour stop is now dealing with a vocal minority of unruly fans. As we saw at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had one of the worst offenders ...
Rory McIlroy calls for limit on alcohol sales at golf events after fan repeatedly yells his wife's name on courseJOE

all 1,249 news articles »

Wall Street Journal

Justice Department Widens Wells Fargo Sales Investigation to Wealth Management
Wall Street Journal
A federal investigation into sales practices at Wells Fargo WFC -1.64% & Co. now includes the bank's wealth-management business, extending the probe beyond the firm's retail-banking unit where the problems originated, people familiar with the matter ...
Wells Fargo Breaks Key Support As Justice Department Widens Sales Probe To Wealth ManagementInvestor's Business Daily
Wells Fargo wealth management employees questioned by federal agents: WSJCNBC
Wells Fargo Probe Expands Into Wealth Management
all 282 news articles »

Business Wire (press release)

Just Desserts CEO Michael Mendes Announces the Addition of Dean Gold as Vice President of Sales
Business Wire (press release)
Over the past two decades, Dean Gold has advanced in key sales management positions working with the Club, Grocery and Mass Merchandiser channel. Gold was successful in expanding distribution and increasing sales with quality brands that featured ...

and more »

Why New Products and Digital Sales Will Be the Highlight of Nike's Third Quarter Results
Nike (NYSE: NKE) will report its third-quarter earnings on Mar. 22 after the market close. It's been a tough year for Nike with North American revenue, gross margin, and earnings coming in lower than the year before. In recent quarters, management has ...

and more »

The Register

UK tech whale Micro Focus: Share price halves as CEO quits, sales slide
The Register
The remaining management team are investing in more field sales reps, will give the top global accounts more love and will try to beef up the exec line-up across the pond, the company claimed. Micro Focus also reckoned its IT system issues are "under ...
Micro Focus Shares Collapse After Sales Warning and CEO ExitBloomberg
Micro Focus Shares Tumble Amid Sales Slump and CEO ExitRed Herring
Micro Focus shares plunge as chief quits after six monthsFinancial Times
Motley Fool UK
all 83 news articles »


Google's Diane Greene whipped the cloud business into shape with key technical hires, sales expansion
"This is something that, if you went back two years ago, you didn't see anywhere near as much activity in this space as you see now, because I think people are getting more comfortable with the cloud, with security, with financial management, cost ...

and more »

3 Reasons Why Deere & Company Stock Can Rise
Data source: Deere & Company presentations. However, the good news is that North American demand is growing again, in particular, large agricultural machinery demand. In fact, management raised its forecast for full-year sales growth as "the industry ...

and more »

Dairy Herd Management

Grocery Store Retail Sales Start 2018 with Solid Gains
Dairy Herd Management
Grocery store sales growth in January was up 4.5% from twelve months earlier, the biggest monthly year-over-year gain since January 2015. That increase helped to offset a modest 1.8% increase in food services and drinking place (i.e. restaurants, etc ...

FinCanna Provides an Update on CTI's Medical Cannabis Extraction Facility in Coachella, California and Receives ...
GlobeNewswire (press release)
To commercially advance these opportunities, CTI has hired an experienced sales team consisting of a director of sales, two full-time sales managers, and three independent sales contractors. Chip Coble, the Company's new director of sales, joined the ...

and more »
Google News

Management by Osmosis

Sales managers are an interesting breed, effective sales managers are... Read More

Retail Operations - Effective Branch Manager Support and Guidance

Performance and behaviour management is by far the most difficult... Read More

10 Things to Help Your Business When Sales Are Slow During the Holidays

Twiddling your thumbs and waiting for some business to come... Read More

Sales & Marketing Plan Strategies

Design and Implementation of a new Sales & Marketing campaign... Read More

The Top 5 Issues Facing VPs of Sales

A recent study of 2,663 sales organizations by Think Training,... Read More

Generous Donor Refused (how qualified business slipped away)

Generous Donor RefusedPicture this. You are a fund development director... Read More

Stop Drowning: Nine Strategies For Managing Your Priorities

I just got off the phone with Susan. She is... Read More

How Exhibitors Can Move More Attendees Closer to Buying

Q. What's the single, biggest change exhibitors can make to... Read More

Sales Plan? Whats a Sales Plan?

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to... Read More

Speed-up Your Sales Cycle

This week's article is my response to a question by... Read More

3 Ways to Increase Your Sales

Last week I got a call from Jose, who was... Read More

Discounting Your Way Into Sales Oblivion

I don't even like saying the word d---------g. I have... Read More

Not Enough Fresh Sales Leads? Marketing is the New Sales

Your sales are down and leads are rare. The phone's... Read More

7 Tips for Testing Your Sales and Marketing

One marketing technique may work wonders for someone, but that... Read More

The Art and Science of Managing Expectations in Selling

It is very easy to fall into a trap with... Read More

Energize Your Organization

No matter what you do, it seems, your employees do... Read More

The Art of Sales (And Tips On How To Manage Your Sales Team)

Selling. Cold calls, introductions, interviews, appointments, proposals, referrals, call cycles,... Read More

Want to Increase the Amount of Business that Your Firm is Getting?

Business development is important for every business and refers to... Read More

How to Win Over the Man in the Chair Salesmanship, Repetition, and Direct Mail

In a classic business-to-business print ad from the late 50's... Read More

SEZ WHO? Tips About Recommendations, Sales Cycles, and Trade Shows

Here's the scene. You're at the trade show, having a... Read More

How to Improve Your Management Procedures Usability

Are your people consistently following your procedures? Each year, organizations... Read More

How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Sales Performance -- Part 2

Another key reason why companies suffer from 80/20 performance is... Read More

Online Sales: Secret To Increase Your Sales By Bundling Your Products

Microsoft has used this online sales secret to become a... Read More

The Effective Executive

What does it mean to be an "effective executive"? Well... Read More

Train a Winning Sales Team: Rounding Third and Heading for Home

Although I never met the man, I imagine Lou Boudreau... Read More