Letting go of deals may seem like horrible advice for a salesperson. But in reality, some deals just aren’t going to close while others shouldn’t even be made. Instead of clinging to each and every deal in the pipeline, reps should instead just let go. “…use a consistent, buyer-centric process to qualify and continually re-qualify prospective customers,” Julie Thomas advises in a LinkedIn Sale Blog article. “Letting go of low-potential deals will improve your odds of closing real deals.”
Letting go prevents wasted time
When you devote time to qualifying “no-decision” deals, you’re simply wasting that time. As Thomas points out, there are generally only three outcomes for a potential deal:
- You win and the prospect buys from you.
- You lose and the prospect chooses an alternative.
- The prospect does nothing — there is no decision.
Inevitably, you’re going have prospects who simply won’t make a decision; trim those out of your pipeline now by letting go. This will boost your productivity and your close rate. "You don’t want to waste precious time on dead end leads," adds Director of AdMall Sales Denise Gibson. "Time is precious with sales. Use it wisely."
A qualification system is a must
The most effective way to clear your pipeline of no-decision deals is to have a rigorous qualification system in place. “Clients and prospects aren’t static; things change during the course of a sales cycle,” she writes. “Although you may believe everything is progressing toward a sale, unexpected circumstances often pop up.”
Think of qualification as a process rather than a singular event; it should continue throughout the prospect’s pipeline journey. As a deal moves along, revisit it and ask the following questions:
Should they buy from us?
Is our product or service worth the investment?
Can they buy? Am I targeting the person with purchasing authority?
When will they buy?
Not liking the answers to any of these questions during the journey can be a sign that letting go may be the best choice.
Get tangible results
Still not convinced? Thomas shares some stats that reveal tangible results of trimming away no-decision deals. “High-performing sales reps consistently qualify opportunities and are rigorous about prospecting to build a solid sales pipeline. In fact, top sales performers score a 7.3 compared with a 4.5 for the rest of the reps in building a high-caliber pipeline, according to new research,” she writes. Having a qualification program in place, and sticking to it, works. Also, Thomas reports that “Cutting the no-decision rate in half increases the close rate from 33.3% to 40%.” As the stats show, letting go of these deals actually pushes you closer to success.
A full pipeline isn’t always a healthy profitable one. Letting go of deals may feel uncomfortable at first, but just be patient and soon you’ll find your productivity and close rates improving.
Photo by Bethany Legg