Often it is not a solid deal - meaning it is not qualified, or in other words, your buyer is either not really ready to move forward or they will not be moving forward with you. You or one of your sales colleagues may have one of these (or more) on the report that you turn in when the boss wants to know what deals are pending that you think are going to close.
Here are 3 steps to begin to determine if the deal you are reporting is one you can count on as coming to closure soon.
1. You consider it a "Qualified" deal: this means that you have enough background about your prospective customer and this particular opportunity to know information such as why the timing is now for them, what all of their alternatives are, and what value of your offer will do for them.
2. You know they have prioritized because they have been talking with you about this and they can envision buying your solution and how it will improve their life/company/team. They are in ongoing communication with you.
3. They have talked to others about you, your company and your value to buyers - not what you say about it, but what friends and social contacts have to say. Reports are more positive than negative. [unless you are a heart surgeon, all of your feedback does not have to be positive - it just needs to be more positive than negative.] People tend to be skeptical about any business that has only glowing feedback.
I wrote a post a while back on Sales Productivity Tips for your Pipeline that might be timely.
This means the converse might be true if you have problems in a deal -
The deal is not qualified - you don't know whether they have budget for it, if all those in the decision making process are in the loop, what other more pressing issues they have going on, and why now is the time for them to buy.
They have "gone dark" - you can't get them to respond by e-mail or by phone. What once was a brisk return of phone conversations and emails has turned into a one-sided, nervous conversation.
You have no great testimonials or endorsements online or in the industry niche you are serving for potential buyers to research. You have not heard from reference accounts that the buyer has talked with them.
Create your potential sales deals with a solid foundation and you won't have to worry about many issues a rookie sales rep does. Start at the bottom with all the detail - keep track of it in your CRM system so that when you need to review if you have covered all of the bases - you will be able to tell with certainty, not guesswork. The road to becoming more professional in your industry depends on it.
Lori Richardson speaks, writes, and trains on sales strategies for B2B mid-market technology front-line sales teams. Why not sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter, “Sales Ideas In A Minute” or the award-winning blog rss feed?