Why Sales is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

On Sunday morning, thousands of serious runners and fun runners will gather in Blackheath to begin the 37th London Marathon. Some will be dressed in running shorts and vests, others as superheroes or Teletubbies. On the surface, running and selling might not have very much in common, but as you explore the ways prospecting, sales and running are similar, it’s very clear that sales is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance and persistence You’ve probably heard that it takes somewhere between 8 and 12 “touches” to get a prospect to understand what you offer and how it will benefit them. As a sales professional, you know that it makes sense to spread these points of contact out over a few weeks because the timing matters. If you called and emailed the same prospect every hour for a day there’s a good chance you’d ruin your chances of ever making the sale because that kind of behavior is irritating. But if you wait too long between contacts you might have to explain yourself from the beginning again to help them remember you. It can take a while just to get to the starting line As you watch the marathon on television this weekend you’ll notice that the fastest runners (usually professionals and Olympians) get to go first so they don’t have to fight their way through thousands of tubby amateurs in fancy dress. That means most participants have a slow trudge just to get to the start line. In sales, you might have a long stretch of fruitless outreach before you finally get your prospect on the...
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