Throughout my time as a business development manager, I witnessed a trend among other sales professionals I worked with when meeting with new potential customers. They were meeting with, and working on projects for, prospects who weren’t a fit for our products, service and overall business model. After some reflection, I realized that I too had spent hours working on projects for prospects who were never going to pan out. How much time have we all wasted on the wrong people?
As I dug deeper into my new reality, I started thinking about how our current customers made the decision to buy from us. Price might have been a factor, or that we solved a problem no one else could. The reality is, we were a good fit for what the customer was looking for. No matter what that deciding factor was, we qualified.
That’s it! They either qualified or disqualified us based on their need. Well then, why can’t I as a sales professional qualify or disqualify my prospects based on what works well for me, my product offering and my company?
The answer, we should!
As a sales professional, we need to begin realizing that not every company is a fit for what we are selling. There are several reasons why a company might not work. Their current supplier could be doing everything right, and at a competitive price. (Shocking to believe, I know) They could have a project they want to work on but no real time table or budget for the solution. If there is no budget for what you provide, it might not make since for you to continue working with them.
I was once working on an account that seemed perfect. They had a need, with a budget, and I had the solution that fit. However as we proceeded, our delivery dates did not match with what they insisted on. Also, after filling out the customer application, their credit was so bad we couldn’t approve an account for them. Looking back on this now, there were a few signs that could have saved me lots of time if only I would have paid attention or asked more questions.
As a sales professional, it is our job to put ourselves in situations where we have a legitimate chance of selling our product. The pickier we become with who we sell to, the higher our close percentage will be. When we stop spending valuable time with customers who don’t meet the requirements of our services, they should become disqualified and removed from our active target list. By doing so, we will free up more time for customers that will be a fit and potentially will give us what we want. The coveted P.O!
Don’t just be a sales professional. Be a professional at sales!