sales leaders who moved my cheeseOne of the hardest things to adjust to as a sales representative is when someone moves your cheese (and I know!).  

Let me back up a little here.

At a recent prospect meeting, a VP of Sales stopped me in the middle of a presentation and said, “Your company helps sales leaders move salespeople’s cheese and help reps find it.”  

Over the years in SaaS sales I have heard a wide range of sales objections and buying signals. Helping move cheese, though…that was a first! The head of sales left the meeting, returned with the book and then left again. For me this was an ultimate cliffhanger that took priority over the Detroit Tigers game that night.

Here’s what I learned:

Who Moved My Cheese: A Lesson for Sales Leaders

Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D. is a must-read book for anyone who is part of an evolving organization — especially in sales. The book details two small humans and two mice in a maze looking for cheese. Every day, cheese is put in the same part of the maze. Eventually the cheese portions start to get smaller and smaller until there is no more cheese in that beloved spot. Now the individuals must find where the new cheese was placed. Sound familiar? Keep on reading!

The mice have one goal: Go where there is cheese. The little people have complex thought processes and feelings of anger and denial about their cheese being moved, which hinders their ability to get cheese. The point? Don’t be like that. Don’t complain or overcomplicate. Just go where the cheese (the opportunity) is. And when you have cheese, don’t get lazy. You might lose it.

There are many more lessons in the book, but this summary is critical for sales leaders and their teams.

The “Cheese” in Sales:

Of course, cheese can apply to all sorts of sales opportunities. To get you thinking, here are a few examples of ways cheese might be moved in sales and how to cope:

  1. Inbound leads slow down: Rather than complaining to marketing or pushing lukewarm leads into a meeting, consider asking customers for referrals or consider the p-word: prospecting. (Want tips for better prospecting? Check out this post.)
  1. You’re prospecting and hear “not interested”: Don’t blame your engineers, the economy or last night’s political debates. Have mouse-like tendencies in learning why the prospect is not interested. There could be an opportunity to overcome an objection. Or maybe there’s not, and you find yourself faced with a dial tone. The second you hear the dial tone, pick up the phone and find your cheese!
  1. After a demo someone says “not interested”: I’ve seen this plenty of times as an evaluator, from peers and also personally. Did the customer meet your ideal profile? Where in the sales process were you? Did you spend enough time upfront identifying the prospect’s pain points and researching their business and industry? Canned demos are for YouTube not you or your team. Feeling depressed or rejected doesn’t change the outcome; a different approach will.

No matter what you sell or who your company’s buying audience is at some point someone will move your cheese. Are you ready to go find it?  

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A Must-Read for Sales Leaders: Who Moved My Cheese?
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A Must-Read for Sales Leaders: Who Moved My Cheese?
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Sales leaders: No matter what you sell or who your company’s buying audience is at some point someone will move your cheese. Are you ready to go find it?
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Level Eleven
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