Do You Use Sandbagging In Sales?

According to Investopedia, sandbagging is when you lower the expectations of a company or individual’s strengths and core competencies to produce greater-than-anticipated results. This strategy means essentially low-balling expectations so you can then exceed anticipated results.

It feels great when you delight your customers and go above and beyond what they were expecting. But, according to Jay Fuchs with HubSpot, you should usually steer clear of sandbagging. That’s because when everyone on the sales team resorts to sandbagging, the team can ultimately suffer.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Fuchs’ thoughts on when you might want to sandbag in sales—but why you should avoid doing so.

Sandbagging might be appealing … when you want to divert attention from bigger deals. When you have one of your bigger deals in the works, you may not want to call attention to it. The more people who know what’s on the line, the more stress you may feel. While you might want to keep important deals under wraps, Fuchs says you should still avoid sandbagging.

Sandbagging might be appealing … when you do not want to disclose particularly risky deals. Fuchs gives an example of having a potential deal in the works. However, based on experience and intuition, you feel that you ultimately will not close the deal. If a sales director finds out about the deal, you will be expected to deliver on it even though you don’t think it’s possible. You might be tempted to sandbag to give yourself space to lose, but you just end up selling yourself short in the long run if you make this a regular practice.

Sandbagging might be appealing … when you want to end your quarter with a bang. According to Fuchs, this is the most conventional application of sandbagging. It makes sense because the practice revolves around under-promising, so it looks like you are over-delivering. Some sales professionals accrue and do not record some deals over a quarter or secure some surefire business without closing it right away. While you might land a bonus, you may not reach your full potential.

Sandbagging might be appealing … when you want to start the next quarter on a high note. Just like you may be tempted to sandbag at the end of the quarter, you can also look to sandbagging to carry momentum into the next quarter, says Fuchs. Most sales professionals like the idea of starting a quarter with solid deals already in place. And if you have already met your goal, you may be even more tempted to hold off closing or reporting deals when they will mean more in the future.

All sales professionals want to be successful. While sandbagging might give sales reps a quick win, the strategy doesn’t do much for your team’s long-term growth. Rather than allowing your reps to be less than honest, you’re better of training them to be upfront so you can forecast accurately and pinpoint areas where your reps may need more help.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jay Fuchs is a junior staff writer for the HubSpot blog.

filed under September 2020
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