I just can’t figure out why so many salespeople have a hard time getting to NO.
We see well-meaning sales pros spend inordinate amounts of time and energy avoiding what should be obvious; that prospect is not going to buy what you are selling. Period, get over it!
One thing that stands out with top performers is their healthy pipeline. They can speak to every opportunity. They know where it is in their process, when it will close and who the prospect decision makers are.
They achieve this level of success by being very stingy with THEIR time. They don’t pursue opportunities that have no chance of closing. They are confident in their qualifying process and are merciless on cutting leads that have no happy ending. The emphasis here is on process. The common denominator with successful salespeople is they OWN their sales process.
Their pipelines get real skinny, real fast as they weed out opportunities that will consume their time. As a result, closing ratios are typically higher and sales cycles are usually shorter. They have time to work really strong leads and nurture bigger clients.
Here’s a radical idea; fire some prospects. Make your life easier and say NO to your prospect when it becomes obvious this deal is going nowhere. Here are few clues to make you far more efficient and lead to greater success.
- This opportunity is just a bad fit. You don’t have a product or a solution for this prospect. Try as you might to conjure some way to make this sale, it isn’t going to happen. Either your competitor has a better fit, or your industry hasn’t found a fix to this problem. Say NO now.
- After initial investigation you find the spec, or decision making process is tilted toward your competitor. You’ll spend a crazy amount of time fighting a losing battle. Hey, he got there before you and outsold you, accept it and move on. Say NO now.
- Your gut tells you this project just isn’t that viable, or it is clear your contact doesn’t have the power to make a purchase. This one will really consume your time. Say NO now.
- No matter how much time and energy you throw at this, it just isn’t going to happen. The ROI isn’t there for the prospect, or it will never meet your profit goals. You know it. Say NO now.
- Last, but by no means least, one day you get a request to quote something from someone who has never purchased from you and it is clear your competitor is in tight with them. Don’t waste your time. Say NO now.
So let’s start with no as an outcome. Unless you (and maybe your sales manager) can come up with some viable way to justify the expense of YOUR time and energy to pursue this lead, cut it from your pipeline. You might misjudge one along the way, but think of the time you will have saved that can be devoted to working on real projects with real outcomes.