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Podcast: Does Your Pipeline Have A Timeline?

Nov 29, 2021 6:45:00 AM


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Carlos believes that sales success is simply a game of numbers, and his commitment to relentless

prospecting has proven him right quarter after quarter, year after year. However, all that prospecting creates problems, for Carlos often finds himself so overwhelmed by follow-ups and open opportunities

 that he loses track of some of the best deals he has on the street. Living like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off is not much fun, and Carlos knows his energy will drain, burnout looms and his results will start to wane, falling victim to his pattern of letting people take as long as they want making decisions and dragging out the sales process. But this is how he started, how he learned early in his career, and now he can't seem to get off the treadmill of chasing decisions and selling in a totally reactive manner.

Carlos is typical of more salespeople than he realizes. His early sales training, or most likely, lack of sales training, taught him that people who think it over often will eventually buy from him if he doesn't ask for an answer. Doing anything that puts a potential win at risk is the last thing he wants to do, so the only strategic thinking he does is to prospect unendingly, even if it makes life miserable. In the end, his pipeline is so full that he can't establish priorities and every prospect can dictate their own timeline for a decision. Sure, he's successful but has no idea how to control his time and manage his decision processes. His prospects own him.

The most successful sales people realize that if there is no deadline, there is no deal. Strategic selling requires a defined schedule so the process can be managed to meet a deadline that both the sales person and the prospect have agreed upon. The deadline becomes a tool that a salesperson can use to employ reverse timeline strategies to manage the prospect's behavior: "In order to reach a decision by our deadline, here is what we need to do." During the Fact Finding and Discovery steps of the sales process, you must get the prospect to share their timeline for a decision and also share why that timeline is important. Without those two critical pieces of information, the salesperson will most likely be taking a long ride to frustration when an opportunity starts to languish in the pipeline for too long.

And even the least experienced salesperson realizes that time kills deals.

Critical Thinking:
How are you tracking your pipeline? Is this something you write down and visualize all of the information about your leads or are you just making mental notes? Maybe you haven't realized there is a lead hanging out in there for a long time and you could be on the bus. Review your current pipeline. Are there any decisions you are waiting on that maybe you should check in on to find out if you should close it or kill it?

The Drill:
Final Thought for the Morning:

"I tell myself I have time, but the itch forming along the back of my neck and across my shoulders says otherwise." ~ Erica Cameron
"Wasted strokes, like missed deadlines, are preventable and costly." ~ Lori Myers

Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week

LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.

THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.