You need prospects. You need lots of prospects. Well, great news! There are lots of prospects out there ready to engage with you. However, not all want to actually do business with you, and even less of them want to be a partner or have a win-win relationship. They will engage with you though and it could cost you your 2018 target or even your job.
As a good salesperson with a good product or service you know you can close deals, but eventually, those deals turn into customers and customers that are not ideal are target killers. Here are some examples:
- Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible): He’ll give you the deal, but it will be a deal no one else was able to fulfill or close. Your competitors wouldn’t touch it. There’s no way you can pull this off.
- Tommy DeVito (Goodfellas): Sure, it all feels good for now, but your heart skips a beat every time the phone rings and have to look over your shoulder all the time. You just don’t trust him.
- Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones’ Diary): She’s not really sure what she wants so she’ll play both you and your competitor, likely leaving you both broken-hearted.
- Montgomery Burns (The Simpsons): He will beat you down on price, even lower than you thought you’d have to go. It will be a bad deal at the same cost of sales and somehow he’ll get you to thank him for it.
- Tommy Boy (Tommy Boy): The deal is the wrong size. ‘Fat guy in a little coat’. It’s only a matter of time before it falls apart. Those seams aren’t gonna hold.
Every one of these prospects will give you a deal. Some will take incredible effort to close; some will require you to use your trump card for special pricing; some will call you back after the sale, pulling you out of the field because they are high maintenance or are just ticked off; some will meet with you over and over and over and over; and some will give you a portion of the business they promised at the drastically reduced price you accepted.
The time and effort you spend trying to nurture, close, and fulfill these deals will take away from time you could spend with prospects who will become long-lasting, profitable customers interested in partnerships.
If you want to avoid a missed target in 2018, make a commitment now to not settle for just any deal. Set your sights on IDEAL. How do you find ideal prospects? Look at your customers. Who are your best, most profitable customers? If you look at your best current and past customers, you will start to see common attributes. You can then look for those attributes in prospects. This will help lessen the odds of you running into a bad deal.
Here’s what to do:
- Write down the names of your best customers. (long-lasting, give referrals, happy with you, fairly easy to service or fulfill, and profitable)
- What products or services did they buy? (Product groups, service lines, subscriptions)
- Outline attributes they share. (Company size, department size, order volume, geography, industry or segment, seasonal needs, business cycle)
- Look at your inventory or service capabilities. (What do you have on hand right now? What can you service today?)
Once you have this information written down, you can start to organize it to create an image of your ideal customer. That ideal customer will give you very specific traits to look for as you search for an ideal prospect. Before you leave the office or pick up the phone you should know the following about your ideal prospects:
- What are the top 2 or 3 types of business or industries are they in.
- What size are they?
- Where are they?
- What product or service will they want most and can I confidently service it?
- How much will they likely want to buy?
- Are they transactional or partnership driven?
Once you applied this filter to you get your ideal prospects your prospect pool will shrink dramatically. You will have fewer people to have to visit or call but your odds of success will go through the roof! You will save a ton of time, you will save yourself and your client aggravation, and you will make the job of your service and fulfillment teams easier and yes, you will hit target quicker. You will not only sell more deals, but you will find that you will see improvement in service or fulfillment, and increases in overall retention. How awesome is that?!?!
Make 2018 the year of IDEAL!
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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!