Oil in Your Pipeline
How much money is in your sales pipeline? If you’re looking at your outstanding proposals and trying to project how much will come in next quarter, it may be less than you think. According to the sales engagement software company ClearSlide, 58 percent of forecasted sales never close.
Why do your deals stall? Often, sales stall unnecessarily because of flaws in your sales process. It may help to ask yourself some tough questions, for example: Are you giving your customers real value or just “pitching?”
James Muir, author of The Perfect Close, explains the problem:
“Often, the salesperson has only been providing information about their products and services, and when we fail to provide any form of additional value, buyers assume this is all we’re good for…Once they receive all the information about our solution that they need, they have no reason to continue engaging with us. Typically the final piece of information a prospect receives before going silent is our proposal—the price. Thus having received what they perceive to be the last useful piece of information from the salesperson, they cease communicating because they have no further use for us.”
One way to keep your prospects engaged and the sale moving forward is to take advantage of The Investment Effect: the more effort someone puts into something, the more likely they are to see it through. Give your prospects some post-meeting “homework,” for example:
“Read these articles about color in the workplace and let me know if that it makes your choice easier.”
“Look through these inspirational photos and let me know how the color schemes resonate with you.”
Finally, ask yourself whether you truly have enough opportunities. If 58% of your forecasted deals aren’t closing, your pipeline isn’t nearly as full as you think. Always be looking for new business.
Phil Bernstein is a marketing consultant and sales trainer who works with TV advertising salespeople and their clients across the United States. He works with about 200 local businesses each year. Got a question for Phil? Email him at [email protected]. We’ll try to answer in a future issue.