The Worst Sin in Sales (and Marketing)

“The worst sin in sales is not to lose a deal, but to lose a deal slowly.” – John Barrows.

There is a lot of wisdom in these words, both from a sales and marketing perspective. It is obvious in sales that time is literally money, and more time spent chasing bad deals means less time for good ones. So it’s clear you should find out which prospects are unlikely to buy as quickly as you can, and agree to part ways.

The same rule applies in marketing, but it’s more subtle. How long does it take for customers to decide whether they love your brand or if they hate it? In theory, it should be instantaneous upon seeing your website or marketing materials. If it takes prospective customers 20 impressions to understand if they are the target audience, then you’re wasting a lot of time and money.

Just like in sales, proper qualifying and targeting is essential in marketing. If you haven’t taken time to understand your target audience deeply (creating buyer personas helps), you’ll risk something far worse than hate– apathy. Accept that rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you should be something to someone. A narrow, differentiated target focus will allow your customers to decide quickly whether or not your brand resonates with them and allow you to allocate your marketing dollars to customers that care.

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