I’m going to just come out and say it.
90% of what’s in most sales people’s pipelines is pure junk.
Let me explain. When companies bring me in for sales training in Boston, one area we always explore is the existing sales team’s current pipeline. Inevitably, sales people will boast about how many excellent prospects they have that are just about to close. “I’m expecting at least half of these sales opportunities to close by the end of this quarter…” the optimistic sales person will tell me.
Liar! And I’ve proven it. If I go through that sales person’s list of likely-to-close sales opportunities and call those prospects, saying the following, “Hello ______, my name is Marc Wayshak and I’m calling on behalf of John Jones with [My client’s company]. I just wanted to very quickly ask you if you thought there was any chance you are going to do business with him in the next quarter.”
Without fail, 70% to 90% will say something from, “Oh yes, John is a nice guy, but we realistically aren’t going to be doing anything for a while,” to “No, we aren’t going to be working with him.”
The sales person was lying to himself all this time, simply because he is spending all of his time trying to persuade prospects rather than disqualify prospects.
Great sales people only want to spend time with qualified prospects, but that requires that they take the time to understand if the prospect is a fit. If the prospect isn’t a fit, they waste no more time chasing.
If you were to go through your current sales opportunity pipeline, how many of those deals should be removed from the list? Please share your comments below.
Written by Marc Wayshak, author of the book Game Plan Selling and provider of sales training in Boston.
Written by Marc Wayshak, author of the book Game Plan Selling. which shares the sales system developed through his sales training in Boston.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.