B2bsales's Blog
"We help people stop selling."

Our own Rose-Colored Glasses

Th ere is a glass sitting on a table, and it has water in it that reaches
halfway up the glass. Is the glass half full or half empty?
Actually, both are accurate, it depends on your view. And talk
about “views”…the old saying that “Some see the glass as half full,
and some see it as half empty” is a terrifi c illustration of seeing things
through your own fi lter. Most views of life are merely subjective.
Suppose you are a sales manager, and you hear one of your salespeople
say, “I had a great meeting, and this guy is very interested. I feel like
it is ninety fi ve percent closed.” You analyze the account yourself
and realize it really was not qualifi ed properly, your sales rep did
not discuss the dollars it would take to get the job done, and most
importantly, the fellow he spoke with is not the ultimate decisionmaker.
You would put a fi fty/fi fty chance on this at best.
How did you and your salesperson come to two such diff erent
conclusions about the meeting?
Well, the salesperson bonded with the prospect. Th ey talked
baseball for twenty-fi ve minutes of the meeting, and laughed about
their toddlers’ curiosity in the team. Th is convinced your salesperson
that he won the prospect over, and he would buy.
On the other hand, you feel that, since the proper questions were
not asked and the proper presentation was not done, the proposal is
bound for either failure or luck—and it would be strictly luck—but
has a fi fty/fi fty chance of either.
Which of you is right? Which of you is wrong? No one really
knows, which makes forecasting pretty diffi cult and illustrates the
point that we see things through our own “fi lters.” Th ese fi lters, just
like ones on sunglasses, can make the world appear darker, rosier, or
bluer. Most often, two people will not see the same occurrence at
Why do you and your salesperson see this sales call so diff erently?
It is mostly because of those fi ltering glasses. Th e sales guy sees the
bonding as a huge buying sign, because that is what he looks for
when he buys. You, the sales manager, see the technique of the call,
which was fl awed, and without the proper steps. You feel it can not
work unless luck steps in and lends a hand. And since you do not
believe in luck, only in fact and process, you have a very skeptical
view of the outlook for this particular prospect signing a contract.
You believe that all of the “T”s need to be crossed and the “I”s dotted
before the prospect will buy.
So who is correct? While time alone will tell whether this
particular prospect will sign or not, the larger truth is that there is not
always a right or wrong answer to how you view situations. Everyone
sees things very diff erently. How important is that to know? Well,
let’s take this from a few angles. First, that of a sales manager. Do
you see how an enthusiastic salesperson can paint a picture so rosy
that they have it practically booked and it is not even close?
Or take it from the point of view of a salesperson. A sales rep
may call on a quiet, thoughtful prospect and conclude that this
prospect does not like her because he does not become gregarious
and friendly during the pitch. In reality, it is simply that she is calling
on a reserved, studious, deep-thinker type. He was merely going
through the questions he felt were important, sticking to business,
and mentally reviewing her answers instead of reacting to them
verbally. Actually he had all intentions of buying the product, butthe fi lter she sees through is, “He did not talk to me…that means he
does not like me,” which to her, means no sale.
Sometimes we see through other people’s fi lters. As salespersons,
we do this most often in the presentation stage. Rather than giving
all of the “features and benefi ts” of the product as we see them, we
give them as someone in corporate decided we should see them. We
are not even being true to our own vision.
Th is reminds me of a car sales encounter I had years ago. I was
looking for an SUV. After looking at several vehicles of the “Th is car
reminds me of something that totes a small village” type, I looked
at a smaller version. I began telling this salesman a little about my
situation. He obviously had some training because he did ask me a
few questions. “Is anyone in your family tall?” was one of them.
“No, no one is tall” I answered with curiosity while walking
toward the car. I got in the car to drive, and he proudly started telling
me about the twelve extra inches of headroom that this car had as
opposed to the other I had been looking at. He had asked me the
question but did not truly listen to the answer because someone in
Marketing obviously felt this was an important feature. My response
to his question made it plain that, to me, this feature would not be
particularly important at all.
It is best if we can see a situation as clearly as possible…with
a minimum of fi ltering, whether rosy, gloomy, or simply distorted.
But note that I said “as clearly as possible.” I recognize that seeing
things completely unfi ltered is a near-impossibility. Still, for the
most accurate assessment of your chances with a prospect, your most
accurate assessment of what the prospect you are facing wants (in
the case of my SUV, headroom was clearly not one of my issues and
there was no need for it to have been mentioned), and your most
accurate assessment of the best tack to take in any sales situation,
try to remove the filters as much as possible and see the situation as
clearly, as plainly, as true-to-just-the-facts as you possibly can.
It will help you to react more appropriately to what is going on,
deal more appropriately with the client, and assess the encounter
more accurately after the fact.
Is the glass half full or half empty? Both. It is all in your viewpoint. Try to make your viewpoint as unfiltered as possible.


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