In this article, we discuss and identify the three main reasons why salespeople get duped into believing a specific opportunity will close and why some deals are not worth chasing.
- Weak pipeline
- Failure to ask tough questions
- Afraid to pull the plug
“Reality is merely an illusion. Albeit a persistent one.” - Albert Einstein
Throughout my sales coaching career, I have yet to meet a salesperson who does not understand that sales will require hard work. Yes, they might all have a different willingness to put in that hard work, but they understand that selling is not for the faint of heart. They know that there will be some rough days. They also understand that when they accomplish what they need to each week, they will generally be tired come Friday afternoon. They don’t mind working hard.
But what they do mind (and this is universal), is chasing hard after a deal that, as it turns out, they had no chance to win. They were punching above their weight class. And as a result, they wasted their time. In my opinion, there is nothing more expensive to you as a sales professional than spending time pursuing an opportunity that you have no chance to win. Simply put, you can’t get the time back.
So why does it happen so frequently? If you knew you were lost, when would you want to know that? I am guessing before you wasted more gas going in the wrong direction. Right?
I believe we can identify three main reasons why salespeople get fooled:
- Weak pipeline – We know that weak pipelines "make cowards of us all." If you have not eaten in a while, any food looks good to you. It won’t matter if it is the right food…or if it is good food. It is food so you will eat it. Which is precisely why you should not go grocery shopping while you are hungry.
- Failure to ask the tough questions – The best day to lose an opportunity is the first day. The second best day to lose one is today. Are you asking the tough questions of your prospect that will allow them the opportunity to self-select out of the decision? Or are you asking the easy questions to get you to the next step in the process? What are you pretending not to know?
- Afraid to pull the plug – Sometimes opportunities start well, but then the salesperson is met with radio silence from the prospect. And rather than “politely” confront the prospect with what the radio silence means, the salesperson keeps chasing. Radio silence can mean the problem has gone away, the problem has been swallowed up by other priorities, or the prospect has solved the problem with someone else.
So, is it time for you to “get real” with a prospect in your pipeline? The time you save is yours.