Squeezed Too Hard

One of my best friends in high school was named Perry.  He was a great trumpet player.  He was also fun and full of mischief… so naturally, we got along famously! His father owned a small convenience store.  Perry worked there often.  On many Saturdays, I would join him and work for a few hours.  

There were other Saturdays where Perry and I would ride his family’s horses.  This fact will actually be quite funny to my Texas friends, because I rarely get on a horse these days.  But in high school – we all thought we were bullet proof and invisible. 🙂

Perry would normally saddle the horses, with my novice assistance.

One of the parts of saddling that always made me laugh was the tightening of the cinch strap.  For those who don’t know, the cinch strap runs from side to side underneath the belly of the horse near the front of the saddle.  It is what keeps the saddle in place.  Since the horse usually has quite a bit of air in the lungs and stomach area, Perry would use his leg to “bump” the air out of the horse as he pulled the cinch tighter.  Failure to do this would result in a loose saddle that would slide around later.

Let me tell you, the last thing you want as you are riding is to have your saddle slide to the underbelly of that horse.  It will scare you! And it will annoy the heck out of the horse!

The reason this process always made me laugh was inevitably, as Perry would “bump” the horse and tighten the cinch… the horse would drop… well… err…. horse biscuits!

I would tell Perry, “You squeezed too hard!  You squeezed the crap out of that horse!” [edited for content] 🙂

In sales leadership, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to “squeeze too hard” when it comes to how you lead your team.

Sales leaders (me included) tend to be control freaks, to a certain extent.  We have been good at our jobs – that is why we were promoted into leadership positions.  As a result, we are completely convinced that we know the best way to do anything.  And we tend to “dictate” the how in the process – when we should be encouraging the how, but only requiring the results.


“Leadership requires the strength to sell people on your vision –

and the courage to give them the autonomy to execute their strategy.”

– Jeff C. West


Don’t get me wrong.  You must have a sales process that works, and is duplicatable.  However, allow enough flexibility in the “how” of the process so that you don’t squeeze the… well… you know… out of your team.

Lead them… don’t squeeze them.


In what part of your sales process do you need some extra accountability?

Photograph “Quarter Horse” via free images.com

Contributor: Andreas Krappweis