After seeing the first half of (the excellent) Billions, I noted the odd Sales steer.
I’ve since read how a trading insider feels Billions is the first show that gets Wall Street right.
Some of the jargon used has plenty of resonance in our selling.
“when you ‘hedge’ you take twice the risk and make half the money”
How can you ‘win’ no matter what? I think there’s common understanding of what hedging your bets means. Yet do we practice this with our funnel? If the above wisdom is right, it means that the more bids we pursue, we actually make less sales. Surely we should weed out the potential losers. Those which only loosely align with our ideal customer and selling profiles.
‘I have seen an “easy trade” zero times’
Basically, a dead cert that’s fallen into your lap and will close quickly. Don’t get them confused with bluebirds though. Deals that drop out of the sky from nowhere and make you a mint. As the name suggests, they’re extremely rare. And really ought not be trusted.
short versus long
Going long on a stocks means you’re buying it because you think it’ll go up. Shorting means you’re getting out, expecting a fall. We go long on deals we think we’ll win. We short when we qualify out. Solution sellers don’t do enough shorting.
cut bait on your losers
I was delighted to learn of a sibling for the flagstone of prospect theory. Investment bias is where traders keep a stock that’s lost in the false hope it’ll rise again one day. Because you’ve invested, you’re better off staying put no matter how bad it all seems. Again, there’s (almost) no bigger waste of a salesperson’s time than coming second. Cut that bait.
I am not uncertain
A technical piece of legalese. The jargon that says you (illegally, from insider trading) know there’s no risk on a trade. We don’t sell in such form, yet how ‘certain’ can we be that the deal that just asked for the huge discount will only come in because we drop our trousers?
winning the meal
There’s many similar examples of this in Hollywood’s depiction of Wall St (see Michael Douglas in 1998’s A Perfect Murder and Richard Gere from 2012’s Arbitrage). Whilst we may not suffer their level of brutality when dining with prospects, it does serve to remind us that there should be a point to why we’re entertaining.
Finally, a mention for the principled investor. Not solely interested in “alpha” returns (monies beyond merely matching market performance) these take a seat on the Board of firms they buy stock in. We have the old “would I buy?” test when pitching. Also termed I Am Sold Myself. Do you know your answer, and why?