How much more effective could you be if you weren't in such a hurry all the time?
My daughter was too busy to look at the giraffes…
We had just gotten to the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World and we were looking around. There's so much to see that you never want to stay in one place for too long because of what could be happening just around the next bend.
“Come on, Daddy, let’s go see something else.”
“Ok, Gator, but that’s a GIRAFFE. Right THERE!”
I’ll admit that I’m not always the guy you want to go with to the museum or the zoo. I stop. I read. I learn.
I may hold up the group from time to time but I really get something out of the trip. I’m not in a hurry to see everything. I’ll get as much as I can out of what I see, and if I really like it I’ll come back.
A funny thing happens when you act like you’ve been there before, or that you could come back again if you like… You get way more out of the experiences you have.
I think this is a good metaphor for salespeople…
How often do you see a lead or a prospect all the way through to a reasonable conclusion? It doesn’t matter if that endpoint is a yes or a no, many opportunities are not seen through all the way to the end. If an opportunity doesn’t close right away, a lot of salespeople move onto a new shiny object, with a sense of urgency to feel like they're accomplishing something. They hope the next one will be the sure thing that makes their number for the month.
You’ve heard me say this before, selling is hard. Embrace that fact and move through a process.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently who runs an IT support firm. He had been outsourcing his lead generation while letting his account managers focus on the middle and bottom of the sales funnel. After a reduction in the size of the lead gen team, revenue actually went up.
Why? Leads were treated differently and with greater importance. They weren’t taken for granted. When leads and opportunities are harder to come by, you’d better make the most of the ones you have. More time was spent, more effort was given, closing rates went up, and new business increased. I was not surprised to hear this at all.
Most salespeople fail to hit their targets because of a weak pipeline. That pipeline is not always weak because there aren’t enough leads. Often it’s because the opportunities at hand aren’t explored enough.
Despite what you may have heard, the seller’s job is not to be handed an opportunity that is 57% of the way through the buying process and convert it into revenue. Your job is to identify an opportunity, explore that opportunity, and present that prospect a unique means of helping them achieve their objectives. Often, they don’t even know what those objectives could be if it weren’t for a salesperson to show them the possibilities. You can't assume that your prospect knows how to buy from you. It takes a little more time to show them how.
To me, this is the difference between a sales professional and a professional salesperson. The sales professional stops when the path is no longer clear, while the professional salesperson digs deeper to learn more and explores new ways to deliver value.
I don’t want this piece to run on longer than it needs to, but I want my message to be clear. You need to explore each opportunity until it is absolutely clear that you can or cannot help. This requires a bit of a mirror moment to decide whether or not you’ve done all you can do up until that point, but don’t stop until you get there.
New leads are often new distractions, particularly when they’re handed to you regularly. Don’t take them for granted just because there are plenty more where those came from. Invest some time and effort into the process, and you'll be able to convert more business with more leads.
Increase Your Prospecting Success
The Five Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting is full of insanely simple prospecting advice most salespeople ignore. Do yourself, or your team, a favor and grab a copy.
About The Author
There’s a big difference between knowing how to sell and being able to. Jeff Bajorek spent over a decade in the field as a top performer. He’s been in your shoes. He knows what it will take. He can help you succeed.
Jeff shares his sales strategies and methods through writing, speaking, and leading sales workshops and training programs. His book The Five Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting focuses on five simple, common-sense fundamentals most salespeople ignore. When Jeff is not writing, speaking, or training he is co-hosting his business, life, and leadership podcast, The Why and the Buy. Jeff's unique approach has been featured on the Sell or Die Podcast, The Salesman Podcast, Business Growth Time, The Nice Guys on Business Podcast, and more.