If you are in sales there is probably someone on your heels wondering when you will close some business. If you are new, they are looking at you to get your first appointments, have good conversations, qualify potential buyers, and then CLOSE these deals.
When you are talking to potential qualified buyers – those who are in similar industries as your existing buyers and have similar needs, it is simple to qualify and then close business. The business use case is similar to what your other buyers in their industry and with similar needs also need.
What is hard is when you DON’T have qualified buyers. Perhaps you can’t get anyone to engage in conversation or maybe you have people willing to talk to you but ultimately not qualified. After you spend lots of time learning about these folks and working to educate them, you find they really don’t fit as an ideal buyer for your company’s products and services. The company information goes into your pipeline but you never close the opportunity because it isn’t qualified.
These are deals dead in their tracks for now. They are not real.
What do you do?
Take them out of your pipeline and move them back to “UNQUALIFIED.”
Think of the steps in your sales process and once you get to the “QUALIFIED” stage, you have real opportunities. These opportunities have to get past the “Qualified Wall” – a real place in your mind where deals cross into once they are truly qualified.
To be qualified, what do you need?
You need to know all of the answers to some basic questions about your prospective buyer and this opportunity – things like:
- What does your buyer need?
- How does your solution fit for them?
- What other options do they have?
- Do you know all of the players involved in this decision?
- Have you talked to each one of them? If not, who has spoken on your behalf?
- If they decide to do nothing, how does that impact your buyer?
- How soon will they move forward and why?
- Have they found, or will they be able to find, budget to pay for your solution?
Scrutinize your pipeline – what is truly qualified and what is not?
It’s time to clean it up – focus on those qualified deals that can and should close. Move the rest back.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide and is a Top 25 Innovative Sales Blogger. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.
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