Sell in Reality to Sell
Efficiently and Successfully

Sell in Reality to Sell Efficiently and Successfully

by: Rob Reed

Although we’d like to think every individual or company on our account list or within our geographic territory is a potential customer, the reality is that this is simply not the case. I’ve read a statement (that I tend to believe) which states you’ll win 1/3 of the business regardless of what you do; you’ll lose 1/3 of the business regardless of what you do; and it’s that 1/3 that remains that will determine your success or failure in selling. Maybe these ratios are different for you, but the important reality is that you won’t win every possible sale.

It is important, then, to identify very early in the sales process if the potential customer is not a good fit for your products or services – the 1/3 that you’ll most likely lose. Afterwards, you can transfer that effort and time to that 1/3 that you can truly influence and win. Organizations and sales management sometimes make this difficult by saying “we can and should win every sales opportunity out there.” You know, the old “power of positive thinking can achieve anything”.

To do this, create or define a “probable-win” customer profile. That is, identify criteria or circumstances that typically lead to a successful sale for you. A few examples may include:

Budget already approved.
Already use other products/services from your company.
Verified dissatisfaction with current vendor(s) from multiple sources within potential customer.
Clear buying decisions that have been verified by multiple sources.
External pressures driving decision timeframe (i.e. government regulations, sunset of software application, legal requirements, etc.)
High trust level already established with potential buyer(s).
Current satisfied customer.

Then evaluate each of your sales opportunities and informally rank them according to your criteria. Most likely there will be some easy ones that you can eliminate simply based on your past experience. Move the ones that look the most promising to the top of the list. These also are typically easy to decipher. The ones in the middle, however, will be slightly more problematic. Spend as much time as necessary on your top, or “A,” accounts; and spend little, if any, on your “C” accounts; devote your remaining time to your “B” accounts.