Last week, the US Senate voted 60-39 in approval of health care reform efforts being advocated by President Barack Obama. After this land markbill was approved, laudatory remarks and far flung compliments were pilled high upon Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, and the “chief sales officer” of this bill.

As a sales professional, I live my many rules. One of my favorites is slow down for yellow lights.

Too many salespeople, in an effort to “close the deal quickly” gloss over important details. In doing so, they fail to understand the full expectations of the prospect. Then, only after the deal is done, is it realized that timelines and end deliverables were unrealistic. What happens next? An unsatisfied customer.

The un-enlightend salesperson (you notice I didn’t use the word professional) will hit the gas when he spots a yellow light. Why? Because he has to get the deal done before the end of the year to meet quota? Because he is afraid that if he hashs out the details of the work the prospect might see something he doesn’t like and change his mind. Because he is unwilling to have “tough conversations” with the prospect about uncomfortable subjects that are necessary before the deal can be closed.

Mr. Reid followed the exact course of many salespeople. He hit the gas when he saw the yellow light. A final 2,000 page bill to re-work 1/7th of Amerca’s economy was voted on before Senators had a chance to fully read it, just so he could deliver a “victory” to the President before Christmas.

A bad thing can happens when you speed through yellow lights. Accidents.

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