A Lesson About Sales from an Avocado


This post is a riff off my Short + Sweet weekly business tip!

It's common to hear all kinds of closing techniques and tactics for sales, everybody seems to have the magic formula. There's a lot of razzle dazzle out there about getting people to actually pull the trigger and become customers.

So I'm just going to come out and say the unsexy thing: The truth is people will buy when they are ready.

This doesn't let you off the hook. Not by any means! Your job is to make sure you laid all the groundwork properly. Not only do you have to build rapport and ensure that your prospects are not only an impeccable fit for your business and you for them, but they also like and trust you, They need to fit squarely into your niche of an ideal customer (easier said than done), AND have the appropriate budget and expectations. To top of all off, if your timing isn't lined up with when they are really truly ready, the client may not be ready to buy. 

A large majority of your prospects will be interested, but they won't be ready yet. So when you are hearing "No" usually the real answer you are hearing is, "Not yet." 

Start-up founders give up too dang soon. If you're in it to win it with your business, you need to be in it to win it with every single one of your customers.

Which brings me to the story about the avocado.

It was summer in Hawaii. We were on a plantation that grew coffee, macadamia nuts and pineapple and each evening we'd sit on the deck near a huge avocado tree and watch the sunset. One day we noticed there was a huge avocado growing on a low branch. We took to spending the evenings talking about how delicious it would be, how much guacamole it would make, and when it'd be ready to pick. Each night we'd sit and watch the huge avocado grow, marveling at the size as the branch it grew on. It was bending over more and more each day with the weight of the huge avocado. 

One morning we came outside to see the monster avocado in a huge pile of mush on the ground.

We were so disappointed. We never had the joy of picking the avocado and actually enjoying it, and now it was splattered all over, and nobody would enjoy it but the bugs.

The avocado is your prospect who didn't say no, and didn't say yes. They remain in the tree, growing. But if you don't reach out and pick the ones that are ripe and ready, you'll find them fall off the tree and onto the ground, for someone else who happened to be in the right place at the right time to enjoy instead. If you don't keep in touch, you'll never know when they're ready.

There are a lot of ways to stay in touch. I talk a lot in my course about a CRM and using this to keep track and manually reach out. You can also have an email list and a drip campaign to provide value and stay in touch. Some people have events, some like to frequent trade shows. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you DO something, and that something is meaningful and personal and keeps you in touch.

Don't rely on them remembering you and reaching out when they are ready. Because this almost never happens. It's up to YOU to stay in touch with them.