Do you end up hearing bad news at the end of your POCs and wonder if you should have not bothered in the first place? Do your prospects keep asking for quotes but never end up buying?
If you are building the right business cases and your funnel is well designed, you might need to start firing your prospects.
As controversial as the statement sounds, you only have x amount of hours in a day and only so many days in a month. Your quota is not going to fix itself, so you need to fix your pipeline.
Fixing your pipeline starts with choosing the right opportunities to go after.
POC or not, as a sales individual you need to know when to cut your losses and move away from a prospect. Does that mean you just stop talking to a prospect? No, all it means is that you have a clear conversation with your prospect. Sometimes these conversations can be difficult but the tough conversations are what will save you from long hours spent without result.
Here are 3 major indicators that might mean your prospects are wasting your time and you might need to have that difficult conversation.
When you cannot solve your prospect’s problems
A well-made presentation or a good feature set is good to have but understanding business problems will make sure you can understand your prospect’s problems. If as a sales individual you cannot solve your prospect’s problems, you need to take a step back and have a difficult conversation with your prospect.
As a sales individual, not just your time but your prospect’s time is also valuable. So the moment you see your product/solution cannot solve your prospect’s problems you need to have a clear conversation with them.
Will you lose the sale? Maybe, but you will win your prospect’s trust. Not to mention sales that don’t solve problems will not last for long, there will be churn.
It’s a small world and what is not working for your prospect today may work for him tomorrow. Not to mention, your product/solution might evolve to meet your prospect’s requirements.
Our experience has shown that sales individuals usually avoid this half of the conversation, this means that they end up hearing a no after they have spent a considerable amount of time on their prospect.
When your prospects refuse to explain their problem but keep asking for product information or a quote
This is a lesson that many sales individuals learn the hard way. We understand handling RFIs is not an easy task but handling RFI’s is a skill that we will discuss in a future blog post. What is important is that as a sales individual you make every effort to first understand the business case of your prospect.
Go back to all your deals where you were happy to quote a prospect and they never got back to you. All you could do was send follow up emails and voice mails. If your prospects refuse to speak to you and are not willing to give you a business case, you might as well direct them to the website for pricing or simply let them know you cannot quote them without first understanding their requirements.
Sounds difficult? It is! We promise it get’s easier and you will be surprised how many serious prospects will be okay to speak to you.
When your prospect wants a discount but cannot fault your product/service
I want a discount! You have done all your hard work but at the end of the day all your prospect can say is “I like the product but I want a discount.”
It’s hard not to give a discount and close a sale. Especially if you have put in all the hard work on the prospect. Having said that, ask yourself, how many times have you given a discount and the prospect has still not bought?
You will be left wondering if you have done everything you can if you do not handle pricing objections as described in our earlier blog post.
Sadly, the competition is really easy to find these days and your prospect might just end up getting a quote from you to get a lower price from your competition.
To conclude, never shy away from a difficult conversation. The tough conversations are what save you time and eventually help you meet quota. Not to mention, know when to fire your prospects.
This post first appeared on http://www.insideselling.org
Rajiv Sharma – Insideselling.org
Head of sales @ Hiver