by John Golden
In recent weeks there has been much excitement among royal historians in the United Kingdom but not as you might think related to the impending royal birth but rather to the apparent discovery of another royal in a car park in Leicester. Initial DNA tests being taken on a skeleton that has been unearthed suggests it may in fact be the remains of Richard III, the last of the Plantagenets and indeed the last English King to be killed on English soil.
Depicted in the Shakespeare play that bears his name as a Machiavellian character, Richard's short reign (which was of dubious claim to begin with due to the incarceration and disappearance of the rightful heirs to the throne) ended at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. His defeat by Henry VII signaled the end of the War of the Roses and the ascension of the House of Tudor from which the current monarch traces her ancestry.
The interesting part of this story is that Richard for all his faults is reputed to have fought very bravely in his final battle and when the tide was turning against his forces, he charged into the middle of Henry's army with a view to taking out Henry himself. History records that he got within a sword's length of Henry before his horse got bogged down in the mud and Richard was overpowered and killed as a result.
To relate this story to sales, I would ask you how many times have your salespeople ended up bogged down late in a sales cycle like Richard's horse as they desperately attempt to overcome late stage objections, scope creep, misunderstandings and a host of other "sudden" obstacles? Their valiant efforts and those of their colleagues and managers frequently count for nothing as they flail away on their immobilized deal only to be vanquished by a competitor or the prospect that never becomes a customer. This is all too often related to that very opportunity not being properly qualified and analyzed before it went into the pipeline in the first place.
I would encourage you to read our whitepaper "The Feel Good Funnel" (no registration necessary!) to learn more about how to avoid being left mired in the mud shouting the sales equivalent of "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse."
Also, if you enjoy the use of historical battles as sales metaphors I would encourage you to take a look at my new book, "Winning the Battle For Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World's Greatest Military Victories."