I’ve lost count of the number of sales leaders that approach me and tell me that they have a problem ’closing sales’, when in fact their real problem is how to qualify the right opportunities IN or OUT of their pipeline.
If sales professionals get really competent at nurturing, qualifying and advancing opportunities, closing is a natural next step. If they don’t master the skills required in order to do this well, the result is a pipeline that is over-exaggerated, stagnant and largely fictitious. Furthermore, accurate sales forecasting is virtually impossible.
You might want to do a quick assessment of your own capability, or that of your sales team on the following:
- Planning and executing effective client meeting
- Needs analysis dialogue skills;
- Engaging people with different Social Styles;
- Qualification rigour and Opportunity progression;
- Understanding the client decision process;
- Identifying and accessing key stakeholders;
- Building trust and rapport;
- Handling pushbacks or concerns;
- Pipeline management and forecasting; and
- Effective bid management.
Quickly scribble down a rating for each from 1-10 (1 = we have little or no capability and 10 = we are world class) … and don’t be ‘soft’ on yourself.
If these skills are mastered, PIPELINE FICTION will become a thing of the past.