Even if you’re calling on high qualities leads, a certain percentage of them won’t be potential prospects, usually because they don’t really have a need for your offering, or they do have a need, but no money to buy. As you know, eliminating these “opportunities” from your sales cycle, means that you’ll spend more time with real ones.
- TWEAK #7: Refocus on the elimination of bad leads. Make certain that you’re not falling into the trap of thinking about prospecting as “getting as many as possible into the pipeline.” Instead, realign your thinking so that your initial conversations with a sales lead are not for the purpose of selling, but rather to identify which leads are most likely to become customers – and which are least likely.
- TWEAK #8: Improve your listening skills. When a potential customer is speaking, listen carefully to what’s actually being said, rather than waiting for something that will give you hope of making a sale. For example: if you ask: “how would you handle this problem if you didn’t have a solution like ours?” and get a response like “we’d probably struggle along for a few more years”, the prospect may not be serious about buying.
- TWEAK #9: Remember what’s important. The key issue when developing an opportunity and making a sales is always value. First, the “prospect” must have the budget to buy, or at least some budget dollars that could be spent, if the need is great enough. Second, the prospect must have that need, and the need must have a financial impact that’s overwhelming larger than the cost of your offering. Anything less, and you’ll never be a priority, so you ought to move on.
- TWEAK #10: Reward yourself for disqualifying a lead.Remember, every lead that you ELIMINATE from your list is a victory, because it means you won’t be wasting your time. Treat the elimination of a lead from your list as much a victory as the conversion of the lead into a real prospect. Celebrate the winnowing process! If you don’t, you may find yourself sneaking questionable prospects into the pipeline.