What does your sales funnel look like? Is it full of junk? What is the % of leads at the top of your funnel that actually become customers?
I see way too much time being spent on keeping names in a sales funnel just for the sake of keeping a sales manager happy.
It’s time we go on a diet with our sales funnels. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth coming back to again because of one simple reason — it will give you more time to sell. When we peel back the curtain and really look at what’s keeping the typical salesperson from selling more, it is a lack of time to actually spend selling.
The rule to which we need to adhere is qualify fast. When we fail to determine the value of a lead early on, we will quickly see the cost go up of keeping the lead around. The cost is in the time we spend trying to determine what to do next.
One of the fastest ways to begin the qualification process is to ask the lead to make a small commitment. I call them “micro-steps.” The objective is to begin understanding if the lead really is a valid prospect. One micro-step might be the lead is willing to meet with you in person or on a conference call. If the best the lead will do is read your email, we have to question if they’re worth pursuing.
Another micro-step I like to use is asking for their opinion on something. The way this can work is by asking them at the end of a phone call to read a brief document you’re going to send them and ask for their opinion. If the “lead” won’t even do that, we can again begin to question if they’re capable of being called a prospect.
My objective with any lead is to validate their potential as rapidly as possible to allow me to focus more of my time on my best prospects and waste less of my time on leads with zero potential.
Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.
Mark Hunter, your next keynote speaker:
Mark Hunter, CSP, “The Sales Hunter” is recognized globally as one of the top sales speakers, known for his challenging insights, high-energy, and passion to create change that he delivers each time he speaks, whether it be a sales kick-off meeting, corporate function or association event. Mark Hunter is the author of the best selling book, High-Profit Prospecting. Here’s what others are saying:
Mark presented “Accelerate Your Sales Prospecting” at the February 2015 Institute for Excellence in Sales program in Northern Virginia. He nailed it and gave the 150 selling professionals and business owners in attendance amazing tips, strategies and tactics they could implement that day. The sales leaders at our program universally acknowledged Mark as one of the top speakers we’ve ever had.
- Fred Diamond, Executive Director, IES Washington DC
At our annual company sales meeting we’ ve never seen a speaker work so hard, with advance preparation, with such genuine style of delivery, and with such hunger for results. If you weren’t on the edge of your seat….you were in a coma. Period!
- Mark Allen, Regional Manager, Marlin Companies
Mark’s strategies are innovative, easy to follow and easy to use in the “real world.” He customized his strategies to directly speak to the issues and challenges facing our unique business, and he helped us encompass specific selling examples. This training was very applicable to our sales staff, both at a senior and junior level, as it reinforced important sales techniques.”
- Danielle Pakradooni, Blue Man Group
Copyright 2017, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.
Couldn’t agree more! Prospecting is not walk in the park. Just like in dieting, there are a lot of diet plans at your disposal. However, finding the right diet plan that will work out is crucial. In prospecting, not every leads could be converted to prospects and potential sales. It is best to take advantage of the best lead generating channels and cultivate its outcome. Not all diet plans work same as not all leads are delectable.
Hey Mark, I love it when more and more people in the sales industry are embracing what Selling to Zebras has been training people on for the last 17 years. Better late than never 🙂
The other thing that applies to what you are absolutely correctly telling people is that the 80/20 principle really shines when applied to prospect lists. When you look at Salesforce and Forrestor reports that B2B companies are only closing 15% of their forecast deals, you see that relationship right in your face. Sales teams need to focus on the 20%, but as you say, it has to be the right 20%!