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Thursday, March 30, 2006

I was reminded the other day just how important strong qualification is in the sales process.

A bumped into a contact that I had met some 9 months previously. When we last met they were launching their business and were considering our services. At the time, they had already engaged a "lead generation" company to help find opportunities for them and wondered how we could help. In the end, because the other company was delivering a steady stream of "leads", they decided to run with them. I wished them good luck.

However, this time around it was a different story. Sure, they got lots of leads which, of course, meant lots of meetings, and then more meetings, and then more meetings...

9 months later they hadn't landed a single deal and had basically run out of cash. Part of their problem was the ongoing (and escalating) cost of sale.

In my book, when it comes to building a strong sales pipeline that will deliver results, the key is in qualification. Understanding which deals to pursue, and which ones to keep on the back-burner (or drop) is essential.

As my old Sales Manager told me many years ago when he handed me a wad of leads from a trade-show "your job is to make these go away".

As if to underline this point, on The Apprentice last night, the teams were set a task to sell second-hand cars. When their Sales Manager gave them the some training what did they emphasize again, and again? "Qualification". Once the selling day started it became obvious why.

Poor qualification = time wasted with the wrong punters = lost selling opportunities.

Set a strong qualification criteria and only pursue those where you have a high probability of success. And the scary thing is, when you do this you'll find the ones that would have wasted your time, will start to get much more serious.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 7:57 am |   | Links to this post  

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