We lost $1 million dollars in potential sales. Here’s what we learned.

silence is deadly in sales

Our goal is to reach out and chat every 2-3 days if possible so leads don’t go cold. 

1: Silence is deadly

Total potential annual revenue lost: $408,000

What happened: We were feeling ourselves a bit. We had a ton of revenue in the pipe, and 4 different major leads lined up with SOWs on their desk. Then, two days go by, and no response. A week, nothing. Finally after 2 weeks, we get an email from each one saying something happened and they would let us know when they were ready. When you hear that, you’re dead. 

Lesson learned: It’s hard to follow up with people and make contact when they don’t want to chat. There’s not much of a lesson here, no magical pill we discovered that solves this issue. We just make a concerted effort to talk to leads every 48 hours to 56 hours. It usually breaks down into: 1) Intro call, 2) follow up, 3) pitch, 4) follow up, 5) SOW, 6) follow up… you get the idea. 

Credit to Kamie Crawford, who is the main reason we watch “Catfish.”

2: Forecast requests are a red flag

Total potential annual revenue lost: $180,000

What happened: Hot take, we know. But here’s the thing – light forecasting work, no big deal. Totally understandable and doable. But when you have a lead ask for a 12-month forecast for channels that require lots of assumptions? Then they analyze every point, your forecasting model, your assumptions, and everything else under the son… those haven’t panned out for us. 

Lesson learned: Look, we love data. It’s what we live and breathe. But more often than not, when a lead is overly granular with forecasting requests, that means one of two things: 1) they’ll micromanage you to death, or 2) they’re going to have unrealistic expectations they want you to meet day one. This goes for huge deals too. We had a high-six figure deal that required some forecasting. But you know what they didn’t ask us? What the logic behind a weighted slope on a linear regression model was.  

If you’re a Porsche, don’t sell yourself for Honda prices. Have more respect for yourself.

3: Know your worth

Total potential annual revenue lost: $230,000

What happened: You need to know your worth. That’s it. That’s what happened. As opposed to our first year when we would jump through pricing hoops to make customers happy, this year, we decided no haggling. And you know what? Revenue spiked. Deals became larger. Yes, some leads still asked for a discount. We were better about saying “no.” The ones who couldn’t justify the costs declined to work with us. If they had worked with us, they would’ve ended up constantly doubting themselves, us, and the strategies. 

Lesson learned: Do yourself a favor: raise your prices. Do your customer a favor: let them go if they can’t meet your price. We guarantee you there are people who will happily pay you what you deserve for what you do. 


You ever had to climb out of a well? No? Good. It’s nearly impossible. 

4: It's not your job to convince

Total potential annual revenue lost: $198,000

What happened:  We had a lot of sales leads where the main point of contact couldn’t make a decision. Trying to convince those leads to sign was like trying to climb out of a well with no assistance: Nearly impossible. And worse, it took time away from other leads who were better fits.

Lesson learned: As a sales executive, it’s not your job to convince someone to buy from you. It’s your job to find people ready to buy and match their needs with a solution you can provide. If they’re hemming and hawing too much, that’s not on you. You time is too precious to be wasted climbing out of a well. 

Trust your gut. If they don’t vibe with you, move on. Don’t set up your team to fail.

5. Vibes (still) matter

Total potential annual revenue lost: It doesn’t f@#$ing matter.

What happened: It was the middle of the afternoon and we were heated. Not because it was August, but because we were about done with the person on the other side of the screen. For an entire hour we pitched our strategies, and were only met with condescending and aggressive language. He was the CEO of a major CBD brand that was willing to spend close to $200k with us. We interrupted him in the middle of the call and said this wasn’t going to work. Another potential customer said they were hyper focused on every dollar that was spent in their ads. That’s not how we operate (for a variety of reasons we’re happy to explain, just ask). 

Lesson learned: We operate with efficiency. If we have to take time dealing with managing unrealistic expectations, micromanagement, or douchey attitudes, we won’t be able to get the results we want for our customers. And our team’s mental health suffers. Which is never good. 

Super quick note on ad campaigns: Most Facebook and Google PPC campaigns have something called a “learning phase” and if you mess with the spend, or don’t spend enough, you can’t move out of that phase. This will negatively impact your ad campaigns.