Kill More Opportunities

American Psycho

To drop an opportunity may seem a bit counterintuitive when trying to be more successful, but hear me out. Imagine playing a game of tennis. You have one ball flying at you, you run to it, and hit a killer shot. Now, imagine 5 coming at you, one after the other. You have to divide your focus and energy to attempt to hit each one. The probability for hitting even one solid shot declines.

As a guy in sales, each of your potential customers is like a tennis ball. Are you scrambling around, trying to juggle every opportunity whether it is hot or cold? Or are you prioritizing them and focusing on the most important?

Sales Guys Are Passionate

Two strengths us sales guys have are passion and confidence, which can also become our weaknesses. We all want to win, and this causes us to hold onto deals longer than we should at times. While confidence is needed in sales, overconfidence can cause an overestimation of our ability to close any and all deals.

As a result, we can hold onto deals way too long; fighting for them for that sense of accomplishment. However, when too much energy is focused on a deal that barely closes, how secure is that sale, how happy is that customer, and how many solid deals did you lose in the mean time?

Win Deals Fast, or Drop Them Slowly

At my last company when we won a deal, it would be active in our CRM system on average for 90 days. Deals we lost? We kept them in our CRM system for on average 200 days! That’s almost as crazy as the number of sales guys who don’t use LinkedIn.

Anyway, our sales guys weren’t stupid or lazy, but they wanted to win! They were determined to close deals and not give up. Now, we did win deals in 200 days, but it was the exception; not the rule.

Myth of Sales Productivity

I’m on the record as saying that sales time is elastic, and that sales guys will work as much as possible to get the job done. That being said, if you’re working too many deals, you can spread yourself thin and hurt your close rate. Not only does improper use of time hurt your sales, but it takes away from your life outside of work. You can’t forget there are little league games to coach, ballet recitals to watch, or even non-business related rounds of golf to play. When you remove the things that don’t matter, you make time for those that do.

That’s why deals that are going nowhere are such killers. First of all, they sap your energy and emotions. Second, they keep your eye from the deals that matter.

When To Drop A Deal

While every company is different, there are a few common signs that let you know it is time to drop a deal. (You can also use Spiro’s smart app that suggests what opportunities to drop and when).  Here is what to look out for:

  • When a customer is not getting back to you it is a sure sign. The last cutoff date is if you haven’t heard from them in over one month. Then, it is time to cut your losses and move on.
  • Prioritize your deals and drop the ones that are low priority for commissions, quota achievement, geography, etc.
  • If customers are not truly a good fit for your product or service, pushing it on them is not going to typically result in a long term loyal customer. You are more than likely setting yourself up for problematic issues in the future.
  • If customers are interested, but at some point in the future, make a note on your calendar and shift your focus to customers interested now.

If you ruthlessly focus on the deals you want to win, you will increase the odds of winning those deals.

Learn More

See how 4 simple illustrations can motivate you to be a better salesperson. When you start your sales calls, we advise you to be very clear in stating your goals.


 

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Moustafa Hassan.

About the Author

Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence -- or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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