Brian just made a proposal to a buyer and received the same response he has heard so many times recently. “Thanks for the proposal. Appreciate you coming in. We’ll give it some consideration and let you know.” The buyer seemed unimpressed by the entire conversation and our sales pro knows that the chance of getting any business here is between slim and none. This late breaking news flash just in: “None” won out.
Salespeople continually spend far too much time with prospects unworthy of their time and presentation. The warning signs are there, but they are ignored. They stay with their losing hand hoping to catch an improbable card “on the river”. This happens primarily because salespeople typically have weak pipelines and are desperate to meet with anybody willing to talk to them or fog a mirror. Their primary strategy is to get lucky.
Salespeople need to audition each contact quicker to measure their worthiness to see your “magic dust”. Your time is valuable and prospects think nothing about wasting it. They want your information and don’t care about the agony and effort they are putting you through with their antics.
So, before investing any serious time with a buyer, make them pass an interview in order to qualify for you.
If you can honestly answer “yes” to the following questions, then they most definitely have earned the right to your time. If not, find a different product for them or find a better prospect.
- Are they open and willing to talk?
- Will they allow you to ask about their GPS, Goals, Priorities, Struggles?
- Do they know what they want or at least, what they want to do?
- Do they want it in a reasonable time frame?
- Assuming you “wow” them, can they make an investment?
- Are they willing to work with just a couple of potential solution providers as opposed to putting it “out to bid” with as many vendors as possible?
- Do they understand “price” and “cost” are two different things and are they willing to let you make a profit?
All buyers need to earn your continued involvement with them, it’s not a one-way street. If they don’t pass the test, explain to them (without a hint of arrogance or frustration) that there probably isn’t a good fit. Their hesitancy to share information and/or their inability to articulate what they want is just another step to nowhere for both of you.
Don’t hang in there hoping that they will turn into a great prospect because they probably won’t. Disengage and move on to someone else inside the organization who actually is worthy or to a different prospect that has better potential. There are plenty of good opportunities out there if you’ll ramp up your business development efforts.
Related: A Story About Motivation
Both sales managers and sales reps should review pipelines on a regular and frequent basis. Make sure unworthy accounts are taken off the pipeline or at least put on hiatus until their status can be reconfirmed. Schedule a fact-finding meeting to ask tougher, Reality Testing Questions to confirm they are worthy of your time.
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