Sales professionals often chase leads in their pipeline, whether they’re qualified or not. It’s easy to think that the more leads there are, the more chance there is of winning; but this isn’t the case. Spending time chasing people that aren’t in the market to buy or aren’t interested is a waste of time; time that could be better spent focusing on more promising opportunities.
Too many opportunities end without a buying decision, i.e. the customer decides to do nothing. Imagine how much better things would be if your team just focused on those qualified leads that actually have potential, but how do you get your team to recognise when there isn’t really an opportunity there? Equally, even if the buyer is serious, don’t let your team waste time chasing deals they can’t win. Instead, get them to spend their time and energy on the deals they can win.
Sometimes you have to think about the bigger picture, it’s not just about how many calls you make that contributes to hitting your sales target. You can be a busy fool and still miss targets. Slow down to speed up! Think about what you are doing and figure out how to hit your target successfully month after month.
Identify bad deals earlier.
It’s fairly easy to identify when a prospect is serious and when they aren’t. Usually, they will show an interest and get back to you promptly. If they aren’t interested, then there’s no point in continuing to try to sell to them. It will just put them off even more and waste your time. Before you spend too much time on any opportunity, ask yourself the following:
- Is there a business need?
- Does this customer intend to buy?
- Does the customer have a realistic budget?
- Can I actually win this deal?
Learn to identify the profile of a good opportunity.
In the beginning, some prospects can seem worthwhile but in the end, they turn out to have been just a waste of time. By asking the right questions and delving deeper at the outset, you should be able to establish if the opportunity is worth pursuing. Try and answer the following questions when contemplating whether to pursue a sales opportunity:
What is the problem the prospect needs to fix?
What business problem is the prospect facing that you can offer a solution to? If they don’t have a problem you can fix, then there is no point in selling to them!
What is your Unique Selling Point?
There are probably a lot of other competitors offering a similar solution. So why should the customer buy from you? Figure out if your product or service will be a good solution for the prospect’s needs, or if you can offer something original that will add value to your customer’s business.
Is there someone ready to approve the sale?
It’s one thing talking to a customer who seems genuinely interested, but it’s a good idea to try and gain insight early on as to whether they actually have the budget available at that time. Does the person you are talking to have the authority to sign-off funds for the sale? Or is there someone else you would need to speak to? Try and find out who the decision makers and influencers are. These are the people you want to network systematically with.
Is the timing of the sale right?
Is the customer ready to buy within a sensible timescale? This is important, as all the other factors may be in your favour, but if the customer wants to wait too long, then the opportunity isn’t worthwhile or real at this moment. If the opportunity is one for the future, put on the back burner and stay in touch with them sporadically. It is far better to focus your effort and attention on the customers that are in the market to buy sooner rather than later.
Do your research.
Researching your customers and their business may take up some time, but it will save you time in the long run. It helps you build relationships and better understand their world. Remember people buy from people, and people often buy from people they like, or have good business relationships with.
Invest in software that can save you time.
Sales software and qualification tools help you qualify your opportunities and manage your pipeline. They can help you identify which opportunities are qualified and which aren’t. Using a well-designed software tool, will have you qualifying your opportunities in no time and securing those important sales.