Do you sell like an ostrich?

2 min readAugust 5, 2020

“Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.” Samuel Beckett.

In school I was taught that ostriches buried their heads in the sand to avoid danger.

It’s a great visual. But, it’s untrue.

When ostriches encounter danger they can’t escape, they don’t bury their heads in the sand.

They flop to the ground and play dead. (Which, to me, seems like counter-intuitive behavior when you’re being hotly pursued by predator…)

It’s a common sales behavior too.

Rather than ask direct questions of their buyers to determine exactly how it’s going in their estimation and where they stand with them, sellers flop to the ground and play dead.

A willful ignorance of what your prospects think about you is a primary symptom of poor pipeline management.

By you, I mean you (personally), your company, your selling, your product. Everything having to do with buyer’s experience with you, the seller.

The buyer’s experience with a seller accounts for a healthy portion of the factors they take into account in their decision-making about which vendor to choose.

And it’s difficult to maintain the fiction of a healthy pipeline if supposedly qualified prospects aren’t deriving value from the experience of working with you.

Feigning ignorance of the looming danger won’t make it go away.

The solution is shockingly simple. There are no fancy sales techniques involved. Here it goes…Just ask your buyer how you’re doing.

Solicit reviews of your performance (and their experience of you.) Get in the habit of doing this at the end of every sales interaction you have. A phone call or video call. Or at the conclusion of every email or text exchange.

“Was this call useful for you today?”
“Did we achieve your objectives for this call?”
“Did we completely answer all your questions?”
“What’s your biggest takeaway from this meeting?”
“Was there one topic you wish we’d covered in more detail?”
“How do we stack up, at this moment, compared to the competition?”

It’s as simple as asking:

  • How’d we do?
  • Did we meet your expectations for this call?
  • At this moment, where do we stand with you?

If your prospect doesn’t think you’re doing a good job in helping them gather the information they need to make a good decision, then it’s best to know that as soon as possible.

If you need to course-correct your account strategy or sales execution to stay in contention, you can’t wait until the 11th hour and 59th minute to find that out.

The symptoms of ostrich selling are everywhere.

Wasting time on deals that never close? Flop.

Experiencing lots of “No decisions?” Flop. Flop.

Unexpectedly losing deals you thought you were winning? Flop. Flop. Flop.

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About the Author

Andy PaulringDNA

Bestselling author of Amp Up your Sales and Zero Time Selling, Andy Paul is #8 on LinkedIn’s list of the Top 50 Global Sales Experts to follow. With more than 170,000 followers, Andy is a highly sought-after speaker and sales sage who interviews the world’s foremost sales minds and extraordinarily interesting people to bring you strategies and insights that you can use to generate epic wins and massive value.