There are many parallels you can draw between everyday life and sales. As I reflect back on 2017, I realize that one of the most important lessons I learned from both a personal and a professional standpoint was the importance of letting go.
Letting go can be one of the hardest things to do. Whether it's letting go of someone in your life or saying goodbye to that favorite article of clothing you loved at one point but haven't worn for years, letting go can be tough. However, getting good at letting go is necessary to move forward in any facet of life.
This is especially true in sales. Getting attached to accounts can waste hours of time and focus. I lead PayJunction’s outbound sales team, and I teach them to keep a “lean” pipeline. This means I want them to focus the majority of their attention on the accounts they think will move through the buyer’s journey and to not chase accounts that are just clogging up their pipelines.
By no means am I encouraging letting go of an account early in the prospecting phase just because you didn’t reach the correct person after two or three attempts. I think it's important to have a personalized, multi-touch cadence over the course of two to three weeks before marketing steps in to manage ongoing communications.
After you’ve demonstrated your value proposition and have built good rapport, there comes a point when you need to tell yourself, "I have done what I needed to do; the rest will fall into place if it is meant to be." This might be a month or more into your sales initiatives, but looking at historical data and determining the best time to call it quits is crucial to maximizing your sales team’s potential. Send that breakup email and then move on to the next account.
While this may seem particular to sales, the same philosophy applies to life. You only have a finite amount of time on this Earth: Why waste it holding on to something that doesn't allow you to move forward? Letting go is a practice; like pretty much anything else, you need to do it multiple times before it gets easier.
Here are three things to keep in mind when letting anything go:
- Things tend to happen for a reason. Whether due to timing or not being the right fit, sometimes you just won't get that account you really want, no matter how hard you try. If you stop focusing your attention on what you can't have and instead focus it on new possibilities, you’ll be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves — often sooner than you think.
- Don't get attached. People tend to place a lot of attachment on materialistic things, accounts and even people. When we attach ourselves to things, letting go becomes that much harder. It's OK to have strong connections, but never feel that you need to depend on closing a particular account to hit your quota. There are plenty of accounts in the sea.
- Know when to let go. This is different for every situation, but you should always have a limit and know when it's the right time to let go. Whether you do a weekly pipeline review to move stale accounts out based on time or touches, periodically survey the rooms of your house to find unwanted or neglected items, or list out toxic people you want to let go of in your life. You owe it to yourself to have a plan and a process for reviewing different elements of your life and understanding when it’s time to let go. Be honest with yourself about it.
I'm certain that once you’re comfortable letting go and have a process for it in place, you’ll see an immediate change in your life, your career and hopefully your cluttered closet.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. When do you think is the right time to let go of an account?