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Keep Moving The Deal


The most effective and productive salespeople have processes and systems that they can rely on and hold themselves accountable to consistent behavior. Every great sales person has a sales or opportunity pipeline; a methodology of having enough (quantity) and quality, a systematic process of moving a sales opportunity from one stage to another. You could also say, they have a way of disqualifying the prospect before the prospect uses them for all the information they need and hides. The trap that many sales professionals fall into is they fail to have enough in their pipeline and therefore have a sense of urgency to find opportunities, or they have not been able to objectively move the deal with data that the prospect is providing from the sales persons questions. The result: unpaid consulting, many quotes leading nowhere and sales cycles taking way too long to close if at all. Sound familiar?

What’s the answer? Twofold; one is have a systematic approach with great questions, one we call a prospect qualification checklist. One that is customized for your sales process, timeline, decision makers and great questions that lead to why customers would buy from you, matching budget and time requirements, and understanding the prospects decision making process. What happens? Saves you time, gives you credibility with your prospect and customers since you’re working on their issues not your own. No premature presentations without learning why, how much and when they’ll make a decision. Secondly, sales professionals need a visual pipeline, one that addresses moving the deal from one stage to the next. One of the best I’ve seen is Dave Kurlan’s pipeline using the analogy of a baseball diamond, and from his bestselling book, Baseline Selling.

The best approach is to use both in conjunction. What do I mean? Well, if you can visualize a baseball diamond, and just like the game of baseball, one needs to advance bases by going to first base, then by the rules of the game we advance to bases second , third and finally home . Many things can happen in the game of baseball such as being thrown out, pop ups, strike outs and leaving people on base without scoring. Or, with the right base hits, advance to where we finally score runs and win the game. So, if you can figure out a prospect qualification checklist that ties into your company and market, and coordinate that with your visual pipeline then you have a great system. For example, let’s say a first base opportunity for you is scheduling a meeting with a customer or prospect where they have identified an important reason for you to visit, and that ties into number one of your prospect qualification checklist. Now, you just have to figure out after that meeting what has to happen between myself and my customer to advance to the next base. What questions do I need answered, what commitments from the customer and so on. I can continue to do this for third base and finally come up with what I need to do to be at 90% or greater to close this deal and bring them home. That’s a system and that’s selling. By the way, customers buy for their own reasons, not yours.

Jim Dunn

Jim Dunn

Jim Dunn has been a regional franchise owner of Sandler Training since 1992. Dunn Enterprises' Mission is to help people and companies realize their full potential and to train and coach business professionals who believe in growth achieved through on-going reinforcement.