Over coffee last week with a long time, and highly respected colleague in the sports marketing space, we got on the subject of his recent online SAS project. Only months earlier he and his partner were taking their newly launched site to colleagues or pre-established relationship decision-makers for reaction and potential new business partnerships. In other words…”Friendlies”. The feedback was unanimously positive and encouraging, and not surprisingly, strongly shaped their perception of their business’s revenue potential. Some of the comments as recalled by my colleague were:

“He/She really get’s it!”

“They love our idea / concept”

“They said this program is exactly what they’re looking for”

“They’re sure it will be a hit”

Call it the seduction of the compliment. Every digital sales VP has heard these words in the wake of of a key sales call by one of their sales people. Every start-up CEO has heard the same words from their VP Biz Dev. Every agency president has heard the words from their top account lead. Those happy, feel-good comments that gets every management team fired up for their start up project, their ad sales budget, their new business pitch.

Mind you, nothing wrong with good sales calls that elicit good reaction, and I’m not suggesting that the positive feedback he was hearing was insincere. However, the more we talked the more it became clear that indeed, talk is cheap. Head nodding, positive comments and encouraging feedback are the reactions of someone who’s convinced you have a good product. But the road to failed product launches are littered with prospects who are only convinced you’ll be successful.

What you need are prospects who are persuaded to become customers. Convince vs persuade. It’s often the difference of life and death of a new product, or new sales initiative. It was an undergraduate 101 Speech / Communication / Business foundational lesson: the difference between convince and persuade is getting the listener to take action.

You must close. You must get them to sign on the line that is dotted. Going to the one yard line is not a touchdown. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks.