The Pendulum Theory

The Pendulum Theory

At some point in my sales career I was introduced to “The Pendulum Theory”. It is a vicious cycle that most sales people fall victim too. The concept is significantly easier to understand then finding a solution.

If you are in sales you are well aware that every aspect of the sales cycle is tracked and measured. When a sales person begins their career or starts a new sale job, the first thing they do is pound the pavement and speak to as many prospects as possible to fill the sales funnel with new opportunities. These prospect meetings ultimately produce opportunities to deliver a proposal which in turn will result in a number of sales. The pendulum swings and reaches a high point. As the sales person begins to spend more time writing proposals and closing new business their attention moves away from prospect meetings. It is extremely challenging for the sales person to maintain a high number of new prospect meetings during this stage of the sales cycle. As a result, the funnel begins to dry up and the pendulum changes direction and begins a down swing. Depending on the length of the sales cycle from prospect meeting to close, the sales person finds themselves at a point where they need to increase the level of prospect meetings again and the cycle starts all over.

Needless to say, this is a frustrating cycle to the sales person and has significant impact on a small to midsize organization. Wouldn’t we all love to have a steady incline of sales performance? Nirvana is not as easily attained as it sounds.

So what can a sales person do to reduce the effects of “The Pendulum Theory “? Here are a few disciplines that can be followed but they are far from easy. My first suggestion is to respect the sales cycle and make every effort to add balance to your sales approach. Sales people should establish a goal of new meetings with prospects each month. The goal set should be attainable under the busiest of work conditions. No matter what is in the pipeline, a high priority has to be placed on reaching your new prospect meeting goal.

Another key discipline is the dedication to time management. It is so hard to block out time to prospect and conduct new meetings when your opportunities are in the final stages of the sales cycle, but if you are going to avoid falling victim to the pendulum theory, it is a must. Defining true sales activities from non sales activities is a critical piece of the puzzle. Client and prospect interaction should be done during business hours. Presentation and proposal development can be done before and after business hours.

Pursuit of the right type of opportunities is also critical to defeating the pendulum. Make sure that each opportunity has a high probability to close. I know, easier said than done but the effort must exist.
The final disciple I’ll share in this post is patience. Some would say that a patient sales person is not going to meet their quota. I disagree! Sales people should be aggressive with their client in an effort to close the sale but if that becomes the focus of all your efforts, something will suffer. That something is usually the filling of the funnel.

In summary, add balance, good time management skills and patience to your sales efforts and you will reap the rewards of a successful sales career. I hope the readers of this post will consider contributing their experiences.