We haven’t heard the last of the tortoise and the hare.
While he’d won the rematch, the hare couldn’t shake the fact that him and the tortoise had won one race each.
And the comprehensive win hadn’t completely silenced the comments he still heard from the other animals about losing the first race.
He decided that he had to back up his performance, break the deadlock, and win a third and deciding race.
So, he went to the tortoise and challenged him to another race.
The tortoise wasn’t stupid, he knew that even if he tried his hardest the hare would still beat him easily.
And, while the hare hadn’t boasted as much as he had previously, the tortoise didn’t want to give the hare the satisfaction of winning again, if he could help it.
“We’ve run the same course twice,” the tortoise said. “Why do we use a different course?”
Supremely confident, the hare didn’t think it mattered what course they ran – he’d still win – and he readily agreed.
“Sure. You pick the course and I’ll see you at the start line.”
So, the tortoise mapped out a course and the start and finish lines were drawn on the ground.
A smaller crowd than the previous two races turned up. No one really believed that the tortoise had any hope of winning.
The race started and the hare was off. Once again, he quickly left the tortoise far behind.
Having learnt his lesson from the first race, he didn’t stop and kept going along the course the tortoise had chosen.
Suddenly he came to a river.
It was too wide for him to hop across and he tried wading in, but it was too deep for him to cross safely.
And he couldn’t see a bridge or place to ford the river nearby.
Oh well he thought, I’ll just have to run along the river until I find a place that I can cross.
The tortoise is so far behind and I’m so fast, I’ll still win therace. So, off he went.
Quite a while later, the tortoise reached the river. He waded in and quickly swam across.
Reaching the other side, he kept on his slow and steady pace towards the finish line.
Hours later, exhausted, the hare stumbled across the finish line and was greeted by a couple of worried looking animals.
“We were about to send out a search party. What happened to you?”
Ignoring them, the hare asked, “where’s the tortoise?”
“I’m afraid you lost again. The hare won hours ago. The race is over.”
What can The Tortoise and the Hare’s decider teach you about succeeding in sales?
1. Play to Your Strengths
The tortoise knew that racing again on the same course would have led to the same result as the second race.
He’s a tortoise and not built for land speed!
So, he chose a course where having to cross a river would give him a huge
advantage and he could use his strength of being a good swimmer.
As a salesperson, you’ll have a number of strengths and weaknesses.
Look at your strengths and how you can utilise them to close more deals. Also be aware of your weaknesses and how you can improve or minimise them.
For example, you might find it hard to prospect for new leads but when you get a lead, you’re an ace at making the sale.
So, instead of spending a lot of time and effort prospecting, you could work with someone who’s good at prospecting, allowing you to focus on what you’re good at – turning prospects into customers.
2. Don’t Give Up
Both the tortoise and the hare didn’t give up.
The tortoise, when faced with a seemingly impossible challenge of beating the hare in another race, didn’t walk away. He worked out a strategy that would give him a good chance of winning.
For the hare, when faced with the river he couldn’t cross, he didn’t stop and give up. He looked for another away to get across the river. He eventually got there. Yes, he lost, but he still crossed the finish line.
In sales it is very easy to give up. Your prospect says “no” or “not now” or you have a run of deals which you can’t close.
Whatever is stopping you, if you stop and give up, your chance of closing the sale is zero.
Instead, if you keep going, keeping following up, keep learning, keep bouncing back, keeping look for another way to cross the river, you’ll get there.
Sales is often a marathon, not a sprint. It takes persistence and resilience.
3. Let Both Failure and Success Go
The hare came into the race on the back of a win, while the tortoise had lost the previous race.
Buoyed by his easy win, the hare felt and acted like he was invincible. He didn’t think about the fact the tortoise wanted to change the course and how that would affect his ability to win.
It’s easy to pull both the feelings of success and failure from previous sales into your next sale.
If you’ve had a good run and closed a big deal, you might walk into the next sale supremely confident – potentially overconfident. Like the hare did for the third race.
Or if you have been struggling, you might meet a potential new customer feeling a bit down and not sure in your ability to make the sale. The tortoise instead, looked at what he could learn from the race he lost in order to put himself in the best position to win this race.
Regardless, of how your last sale (or sales) went, put it behind you. Your next sale is completely independent of what has happened before. Follow your process, be confident (not overconfident) and put yourself in the best position to win.
Overall, there are some good lessons from the third part of the story of The Tortoise and The Hare.
Understand what you’re good at (and not good at) and play to your strengths. Don’t be afraid to work with others who are good at what you’re not.
Don’t give up. Sales is all about sticking in there – following up and being resilient.
Finally, whatever happened in your previous sale doesn’t matter – good or bad. Your next sale is a new race. A new chance for you to put your best foot forward and get the result.
We have a number of events and programmes specifically designed to help salespeople and business owners consistently reach the finish line. Get in touch to find out more.
Sharn Piper – CEO
M: +64 27 733 4333