Are You Stuck in a World of Maybe?

Stuck in a world of maybe's

My sales coach, Theophan Mckenzie was the first person to focus my attention on maybe.  In an early part of my sales training I made the decision to write off tens of thousands of dollars of new business.  Theophan responded, I couldn’t lose anything I didn’t have.  His point was I had been holding on to a bunch of prospective clients who were maybe’s.  These clients weren’t going to buy from me, but I was holding out hope they would some day.

Get to a Yes or a No as quickly as possible

I learned good sales people ensure they get a yes or a no, as quickly as possible.  They know their product or service isn’t for everyone.  If it isn’t for you, they move on to find someone who is a good fit.  Getting stuck in a world of maybe adds no value and instead wastes their time.

This reminds me of my coach training where I learned the four committed responses  to a request:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Renegotiate
  • Commit to give a response later

Maybe isn’t one of them because there is no commitment behind a maybe.

So why is this important to you?

As leaders we are making and receiving requests every day.  If maybe is a common answer, we have a problem with commitment.  When we are making requests and living with maybe’s, are we willing to accept a no and move on?  If we are receiving requests and responding with maybe, are we willing to make a commitment?

The problem with both of these scenarios is a growing backlog of things stuck in the world of maybe.  Nothing is happening to them.  They sit there waiting for a conclusion.  We either live in hope they will change to a yes, or if we are giving a maybe, we prefer to sit on the fence and not make a decision.  In either case, we aren’t taking action and we aren’t generating value.  We are stuck.

How many maybe’s are you sitting on?  Is it time to get off the fence and take action?