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Don't Dream It's Over: 1 of the Biggest Sales Challenges

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Oct 07, 2021

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “how do I/we increase sales” or “how do I become more successful in sales?” It starts with recognizing when your pursuit of a prospect is over.

In this blog, the two fundamental truths of more effective selling.


If you are a consistent reader of this blog (and why wouldn’t you be), you know by now that I have an affinity for music. You also know that my favorite decade of my life was the 80’s. And when those two things intersect, watch out!

Considered by some to be a one-hit-wonder, the Australian band Crowded House got to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 when they released “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in 1986.  

“Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over.”

So, let’s apply that majestic ballad to salespeople and the one thing above all things that they struggle with the most. That’s right, recognizing that their pursuit of a prospect is over (even when the prospect hasn’t told them in those exact words). Many salespeople can’t even begin to think that it’s over. Most don’t want to entertain the possibility. 

So, the question before us today is simple – why? I mean, it’s not like it has not happened to them before.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “how do I/we increase sales” or we are asked, “how do I become more successful in sales?” And the best answer I have is that you get better when you recognize two fundamental truths:

  1. You are going to lose more often than you win.
  2. When you are going to lose, you want to lose early.

Have you ever stopped to consider what your “pull-through rate” looks like? We use that term to explain a simple algebra equation:

Number of new clients / Number of initial sales conversations = pull-through rate 

If you have 100 initial sales conversations (or go on 100 prospect calls) in a year, and you wind up with 15 new clients, then your pull-through percentage is 15/100 or 15%. So, if that is your pull-through rate, don’t you think you should go on your calls with a bias for disqualification? Statistically, there is a far greater chance of you not doing business with a prospect than there is a chance that you will do business with them.

Stop dreaming and start asking questions. Ask questions that allow you to confirm that your prospect has a problem they have to fix and that now is the time to fix it. Operate with a bias for disqualification so you are not so surprised when the conclusion is that now is the time for you to move on. No is ok provided you hear it at the right time in your sales process.

Sweet dreams.

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Topics: Questions for Prospects, qualifying sales prospects, sales challenges


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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