Ryan hated the pipeline review meetings his sales manager scheduled every two weeks. These meetings were meant to help the sales team validate the actual work being done towards hitting goals and meeting objectives, but they also helped determine what opportunities really weren’t opportunities at all. After enduring these painful exercises for nine months, Ryan had had enough of his manager constantly blowing up all the work he thought read as probable big wins. So when he posted his pipeline this time and his manager basically said nothing was valid, Ryan couldn’t take it any longer. In total exasperation, Ryan shouted at his manager, “What do you really want from me? Can’t you see how hard I’m trying?” And since his manager couldn’t take it any longer, he quietly replied to Ryan, “Please stop lying.” Stunned by this rebuke, Ryan was insulted at the thought of being called a liar. Week after week, Ryan called on existing customers and new prospects looking for new opportunities to grow the business. Why would a manager not see how hard he worked and how committed he was?
Making calls and declaring them opportunities isn’t the same as making calls and creating real opportunities. Ryan totally missed this important distinction and had confused the two realities. A genuine opportunity requires a sales person to collect important facts and essential information about why someone would be committed to buy, when they would buy, what the existing vendor was doing wrong, who the real decision maker was and what it really takes to do business. Ryan was uncovering interest in hearing about his products, but falling way short on finding out why someone might buy his products. To the sales manager, Ryan’s claim of hard work that turned up good opportunities was less than honest. He didn’t mean to call him a liar, but he did mean to shake Ryan up enough to get serious about doing his job.
Ryan needs to get tougher and do his whole job, not just the easy stuff of finding interest. The real job is determining intention, even if there is no intention to buy or to switch vendors. Ryan needs to not only talk about all the positive features and benefits, but also uncover anything in the way that could derail even strong interest in his products. By pointing out obstacles like a long-term existing relationship, the fact that his products cost more, a lack of local tech support or any other potential deal breaker, Ryan’s efforts would have produced a more reliable and profitable pipeline report. But by telling his manager that his prospects were high probability, Ryan was being less than honest if he hadn’t done all that was required to validate his pipeline.
As Ryan needed to learn it isn't always quantity over quality. As you spend time prospecting in your area are you able to recognize the leads as quantity or quality for your pipeline? How do you make sure you know the difference between a good prospect to place in your pipeline or one to move down line?
Final Thoughts for the Morning:
“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”
― S.E. Hinton,
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.