The Path of Least Resistance

You have to keep it moving.

The sale that is. As a salesperson, you have to keep it trundling along; otherwise, the transaction will stall and possibly grind to a halt.

We’re having some work done to our cellar at home – I’m converting it into a home office so I can work from home in comfort. With high-speed broadband and an inbuilt video studio, I’m very excited. The original cellar is a Victorian coal bunker built underground since the house doesn’t have rear access which was a significant problem for the coal merchants of old. So they dumped it through the hatch at the front, and the coal flowed into the cellar.

Now the coal has long gone – King Coal has a bad rap nowadays and rightly so as it’s a dirty fuel. The cellar has a sewer system which gathers rainwater and damp, runs under our basement, through to next door and out into the main sewer. You see sewers rely on the disease that inflicts many salespeople – the path of least resistance – the easy path, the one that causes no grief and is comforting.

Sewers use gravity, and the pipe runs underground at a slight gradient until it reaches the main sewer, which also has an angle to its next stage.

This metaphor is fundamental in selling because our sales process must run downhill on a slight gradient, ensuring it never stalls or blocks. If a sewer is blocked, someone has to clear it, likewise, if a sales process stalls, the salesperson must clear it to ensure it keeps moving.

We have to keep it moving:

  • Assess the client’s timescale early on. Is it urgent to secure?
  • Are you speaking with the right people, constantly check? Use the phrase “Apart from you, who else might we value talking to?”
  • Gain trust at every level and increase your rapport with every meeting. You don’t have to like someone to do business, but it doesn’t half help matters and keeps it moving along.
  • Velcro every encounter with the next meeting. Ensure you agree with the next step and recall this when you meet again. Never, never say you’ll phone to catch up. There must be a watertight reason to contact them back. If they stall then qualify them, do they want to proceed or not.
  • Have an agenda for every meeting, even five-minute ones; you can drive it and keep it moving.

The path of least resistance can help you so long as you keep it moving. Oddly enough the waterproofing technology they’re using requires a sump and pump system to move the excess water upwards, and out to the gulleys, modern technology has moved on since the Victorians.