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SalesGrowth MD, Inc. | Denver/ Englewood, CO

Sales Pipeline

Everyone wants to know what business closed today. Or this week. Or this quarter. But is that really all we should be asking?

 

This year, on Fridays, Dave talks about the attitude, behavior, and techniques of successful sales managers as he shares his thoughts on the 49 Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

 

LinkedIn is a powerful prospecting tool. That fact is beyond a shadow of a doubt.

What IS somewhat in doubt is exactly what that means in terms of how it is used. My personal position is that LinkedIn is great for identifying potential leads, getting introduced to those leads, and nurturing an online relationship.

I frequently ask senior leaders and owners of client firms how they prefer to buy or be sold.

I ask them questions like 1) How do you feel when you pick up your phone only to find it is a salesperson on the line and do you respond favorably to their call? 2) How do you respond to strong closing tactics? 3) How do you like it when sales people are aggressive and use obvious sales “moves” to try and keep you in the sales process? And other similar types of questions.

Every salesperson lives for the thrill of the closing the deal. That magical moment when you realize the sale is going to happen is one of the greatest experiences for professional salespeople. It’s what keeps them going through the all-too-frequent rejections.

Remember, though, the lyrics from the classic Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler: “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” The song was about poker of course, but that advice can be applied to sales situations as well.

There are only a few weeks left in Q4, which means that lots of sales professionals are asking themselves a familiar question right about now: How do I make the most of the time between now and December 31?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a question similar to that. “The prospect seemed so interested when we spoke. They just wanted to think it over and asked me to follow up in a week. I did as they asked but then the prospect went dark.”

One of the most impactful Ted Talks I have ever seen was a presentation called "The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance" by Shawn Achor.

The presentation is about 6 years old but it is just as relevant today as when it was originally recorded. Check out the link above to judge for yourself.

One of the reason I love the talk is because of a key point Shawn makes which is especially true for folks in the selling profession. We are often conditioned to associate the achievement of sales goals and targets with the attainment of happiness.

In research by the University of Mississippi it was found that groups who preceded solving puzzles by asking themselves “can we solve this” outperformed the groups that told themselves “I can solve this” by 50%. In another experiment one group of participants were asked to write “I will” 20 times before solving a problem and the second group was asked to write “Will I” 20 times before solving theirs. You guessed it; the “Will I” group solved almost twice as many puzzles. It is great to be positive but the process of asking yourself “Can we do it”, like our friend Bob the Builder, actually causes your problem solving ability to kick into high gear.

Tell the truth, didn’t you just envision the guy from the Dos Equis commercial? I LOVE those commercials but even though the spots are clearly designed to be funny they illustrate a very common misconception. The misconception is that whoever has the most interesting stories, life, etc. is obviously going to be able to hold the attention of others as “The Most interesting Person in The World.”

A successful business depends on a successful sales pipeline, one that projects and produces accurate results. Unfortunately, many sales pipelines operate more like a clogged drain, with many of the same prospects, proposals, and “sure-fire” deals sitting in the same place month after month. These stagnant deals lead to inaccurate sales projections, and if left unmanaged, could result in lost jobs and even failure for the entire company. If your pipeline is clogged, follow these steps today to unclog your sales pipeline and get it flowing with accurate deals again.

Creating an effective sales pipeline can be a massive headache for sales leaders because reps have been known to stuff the pipeline with opportunities that have zero chance of closing. In a previous life, I took over a product specialist role selling a web-based media monitoring and crisis communications program. My first six weeks in that role was spent culling a $3 million pipeline down to $160,000 of real, qualified opportunities

Many salespeople put far too much pressure on themselves to close every prospect they speak to. You might ask; “isn’t that their job?”

The answer would be; “absolutely NOT!”