Is your sales pipeline full and over brimming? That should be great but sometimes it is a fallacy … also how often do you use the word “IF” in a presentation? That little 2 letter word could be shooting your sales success in the foot. Lets find out how!
The Fallacy Of A Full Pipeline
Larry was a salesperson with 3 years’ experience selling printing services. He was constantly busy doing proposals and following up on the many prospects who regularly called him for quotes. Clearly, he had developed great relationships with his prospects and customers.
While his sales manager was happy with his efforts (the company measured salespeople partially on their pipeline, which was the number of proposals outstanding), he was concerned about Larry’s closing rate.
To make matters worse, Larry seemed to have a severe time management problem and was just not able to find time to prospect for new business.
Salespeople often think that they’ll be successful if they make lots of proposals.
Of course, it’s difficult to get a sale without making a proposal, but a focus just on generating a large number of proposals typically causes one to shortcut the qualifying process.
When a prospect is not properly qualified, the closure rate drops significantly. It’s a rare prospect who would decline a salesperson’s offer to submit a proposal, even when they know there’s only a slim chance that they’ll ever buy.
Prospects find it easier to say, “Thanks for the proposal, I’ll look it over. Call me next week.” And next week they have another excuse as to why they haven’t made a decision. In the meantime, the salesperson’s “pipeline” and expectations grow.
Making a proposal is not selling.
Anyone can make a proposal.
In fact, if all a company wants to do is get as many proposals on the street as possible, they should hire someone for minimum wage and just churn out proposals.
Salespeople must learn to qualify thoroughly before making a proposal.
They must learn how to get a commitment from the prospect that if the proposal meets their needs, they’ll give them the order. (Try getting this commitment without properly qualifying. It doesn’t work.)
Fill your pipeline with quality, not quantity.
Never Use The Word “IF” In A Sales Demo
Do you want a tell-tale sign that your demos aren’t very good?
Listen to how many times you say “if.”
Every time you say “if” deduct 10 points. If you collect 20 or more points, you’re doing a terrible job. That’s how bad it is if you’re using “if” more than once in your demos.
I’m sure many of you are wondering, what does saying “if” have to do with delivering a good demo.
Let me explain.
When doing demos, it’s our job to share the features and function of the product that meets the specific and pre-identified needs of the prospect.
Unfortunately, when we say “if” we aren’t showing the features and functions that meet the client’s needs. In reality, we’re saying we don’t know what their business needs are but we’re going to show them the feature anyway.
Let me clarify.
Imagine you’re a rep for WordPress. You’re doing a demo for a prospect, and you say, “If your organization has multiple authors and editors who have different approval levels, you’ll like this feature”.
It’s “if-then” statements like the one described that destroy a demo.
By inserting “if” into demos we telegraph to the buyer that we have little understanding of how their business works, what’s important to them, or what they need.
It’s ill-prepared sales people who are unfamiliar with the business processes, goals, objectives, and needs of their prospects use “if-then” statements Sales people use “if” as a way to sling features like spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks.
Sales people who use “if” in their demos are hoping that by saying if you use this or if you do this or if you have that, the buyer will eventually say “yes,” we do have that, or we do use that, in order to figure out what the prospect needs.
This type of selling is lazy and doesn’t do anyone any favours.
Before a salesperson does a demo, they must know what’s important to the buyer, how they run their business, what their processes look like and more. There is no time for “if” statements in a good demo.
If your using “if” in your demos, it’s time to stop. You’re just telling your customer that you have no clue what they need or how you can help and that you’re hoping they will share their requirements with you and that’s not their job.
Don’t make your buyers do your job.