Pipelines Can Kill
Pipelines can kill. Yes you read it right. In sales we live and die by our pipelines. But – is it the pipeline that is actually killing us?
My answer would be yes. Why? I have found that the typical sales pipeline is bloated with unqualified prospects. Sales people have been trained to keep adding prospects to the pipeline for two usual reasons. 1st – the sales person may be trying to keep their managers happy with lots of activity. 2nd – they may be hoping that the more opportunities in the pipeline the better their chances of closing more business.
The salesperson is either trying to please management or hoping something will close. Pleasing and hoping are not solid sales strategies.
What is missing? One simple word – qualifying.
I have found at least ½ of all prospects in a typical pipeline don’t belong. I will examine my clients’ pipelines and often think to my self – “Are you kidding?” The average sales person is wasting insane amounts of time with phone calls, emails and meetings with people that will never buy!
Here is the REVOLUTIONARY new counter-culture idea. Personally I don’t have a pipeline for my own prospects – I have a table. That’s right. I like the idea of a table instead of a pipeline. Tables have a limited number of seats whereas a pipeline just goes on and on – inviting sales people to keep dumping more and more unqualified opportunities into the pipeline.
At my table there are a limited number of seats. That is right, a limited number of seats. Prospects need to earn a seat at my table.
Tim – why would you possibly want to limit the seats (prospects) at your table? Aren’t I reducing my chances to sell? No you are actually increasing your chances. How?
Because I know I can only help so many clients at one time. That is true of most of us. So it is my job to focus on the people who really need my help.
The more time you spend with prospects that really need your product or service the more you will increase your closing percentage. I strongly qualify all of my prospects from the beginning. If I can’t help them then I can’t offer them a seat. It is that simple.
There is nothing more demoralizing for a sales person then when they are chasing an unqualified prospect. You make calls – then when they don’t pick up you leave a voice mail and then send an email only to be ignored again.
So try to think of your “pipeline” as a table with a limited number of seats. It will force you to do a real good job of qualifying all prospects from the beginning. The result will be less wasted time, more posture and confidence all on the way to closing more deals!!!
Click here for a FREE Lunch and Learn at your next sales meeting. The Pizza is on me and the advice could be Priceless!
I will share the strategies you and your sales team can use to build a pipeline full of QUALIFIED PROSPECTS who are looking to buy!!!