Nancy is Lost in the Woods


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Sales Autopsy
by Dan Seidman


I'm a single mom and doing quite well as a financial advisor. In fact, my income more than makes up for that of a two-parent family.

My closing ratio is so high that I don't really look at any prospect as poor. Everyone has some money to move into my recommended investments.

So when I set an appointment in a rural area of Connecticut I wasn't worried. Land owners often have great money-saving habits and even a small increase in return could have a large impact on their savings.

It was evening as I drove up a long road to a large log cabin where nobody answered the door.

Around the back I trudged, calling out the man's name who had agreed to meet me.

The rather large, rugged looking fellow was in the rear of the house and led me into his living room.

Down I dropped into one of those big wooden chairs you see in front of Cracker Barrel restaurants. The room was Spartan in its design and decoration. Two other chairs sat atop an area rug and a low-burning fire provided all the heat for the room.

We chatted for about 25 minutes when he suddenly jumped up and asked to be excused.

Moments later my host stood at the door with a monstrous ax over one shoulder. It was one of those double-headed ones you see in fairy tale books or horror movies.

Terror took me in an instant and all I could think of was that my kids were going to grow up orphans.

I was frozen in my chair as my prospect walked toward me, turned and swung the ax - at the third chair.

It splintered and with a few more hacks and grunts, the wood was reduced to the size of fireplace logs, which was exactly their intended purpose.

The room heat increased as the man tossed pieces of the dead chair onto the fire.

And I broke into a sweat which had nothing to do with the temperature.

My nerves were completely shredded, and though my brain was still in "fight or flight" mode (would've picked flight), I had the sense to realize that if my prospect was chopping up furniture for heat, he had no money.

I graciously and quickly ended the meeting, walked to and into my car, locked the doors and drove home.

POSTMORTEM: Simple lesson here, it's actually the number one problem salespeople encounter - disqualify prospects quickly, preferably by phone, before face-to-face time is invested. Set 3-5 criteria that identify your perfect prospect and ask questions early on to decide whether they fit for you. Disqualify quickly, you'll save yourself plenty of unwanted and unwarranted surprises.


"For lack of training, they lacked knowledge. For lack of knowledge, they
lacked confidence. For a lack of confidence, they lacked victory."
-- Julius Caesar, internationally acclaimed dead guy


Contact Dan Seidman, living, award-winning proof that great sales training increases revenue. 1-847-359-7860 or