Ever wondered what the meteorologist said to the Sales Rep? "Nice forecast!" Indeed, meteorologists and salespeople might seem worlds apart, but they have more in common than you'd think. Here are three compelling reasons why the world of sales and weather forecasting are alike:
Timelines Are Essential
In meteorology, forecasts come in various flavours - 24-hour, 5-day, and 10-day predictions. In sales, our timelines are typically 30, 60, and 90 days, with that crucial 90-day forecast aligning perfectly with quarterly reports, especially for publicly traded companies. As you expect a timely weather forecast, you've grown accustomed to seeing those predictable intervals in your sales forecasts.
Data Isn't Everything
Meteorologists employ an arsenal of sophisticated equipment to gather abundant data points. However, even with all this data at their fingertips, they still rely on their expertise to interpret it and predict the weather accurately.
In sales, we have our forecasting tools, often called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. These systems collect a wealth of data on existing sales opportunities. However, it's up to the sales rep to decipher this information, drawing on their past experiences in similar situations to calculate forecasts about when a prospect will make a purchase.
Sometimes, It Goes Wrong
Meteorologists have made remarkable progress, even giving us a 12-minute warning before a tornado touches down - an incredible feat! While sales might not be a life-and-death matter, anyone in a forecasting call with certain executives might argue otherwise. The key takeaway is that you can't predict every twist and turn. You must consider all the relevant data, apply your experience and judgment, and occasionally even trust your gut to make the call.
Meteorologists are held accountable to the public for their forecasts, and salespeople are responsible to their companies, particularly their managers, for their projections. It's safe to say that when a sales forecast goes awry, it can be a tough pill to swallow.
No one likes being off the mark, and we take pride in our ability to read the situation and interpret our prospects' verbal and non-verbal signals.
So, why does it matter that sales and meteorology share common ground? It's about analogies and perspective. The analogy is for those outside the sales world to help them understand our challenges better. The perspective is for our fellow sales professionals.
Remember: You can't always be spot-on, but always strive to be. You rely on data, but life can throw curveballs. So, the next time your local weather reporter gets a forecast wrong, cut them some slack.
They're trying to predict the future like you are in the sales world!
Sales Strategist | Solopreneur and SMB Catalyst | Fractional Sales Leadership
Honest and informed sales advice that speaks to your gut, aligns with your principles, and reflects what I stand for.