If you're in sales, chances are pretty good you want to sell more. But selling more means better prospecting, which is often a salesperson's least favorite activity. In fact, we've done our best to boil it down to an equation:
X hours spent prospecting = Y number of conversations = Z dollars in sales
Does that sound familiar? The problem with an equation like that is that in order to increase your sales, you have to have more conversations and do more prospecting. And that takes more time!
I'm not sure about you, but one of the last things I have is more time! In fact, almost all the CEOs, business owners, and salespeople that we work with already have a booked calendar.
So how can you increase sales if you can't increase the time you're spending on it?
Several years back, my team worked with a client that had that exact issue. We helped them increase their sales while actually decreasing the time it took.
Uncovering the problem
Our client sold commercial roofing. When I initially sat down with the business owner, the conversation went something like this.
"Mike," he started, "I have a problem."
"What's that?" I asked.
"I need more sales, but I don't have time to go after them! Can you help me?"
After spending some more time visiting with him, I realized we would be able to help him. So my team and I began digging into their current sales systems, including the approach they were taking, the dollar figures attached to different sales, the length of their sales cycle, and the different types of properties they worked on.
Working together, we discovered that there was a huge variation in the length of the sales cycle from sale to sale. The dollar amount didn't differ that much, but some sales took five to ten times longer than others.
As we dug further in, we discovered that whenever a property was owned by multiple people living in different states, the sales cycle was way longer. Not only that, but the close ratio was much lower in those cases.
Something needed to change!
Making a difficult change
I get it, nobody wants to let revenue go. And our client was no different. But as we like to say in Sandler, "Every minute you're spending with the wrong person, you're robbing the right person of your time."
In this case, my client's prospects with the long sales cycle and low close ratio were definitely the wrong person!
So our client made the difficult choice to no longer pursue or follow up on prospects that fit that profile. If the building had multiple owners across different states, they would refer them to somebody else.
Do you think that was an easy decision to make? Of course not!
But the difference it made was huge! Those prospects were taking a significant amount of time but made up only a tiny amount of revenue. Once they stopped pursuing those sales, their business went up!
When we work with organizations and sales teams trying to improve their sales, we usually find that they need to improve their prospecting process and behaviors, not talk to more prospects. There are a number of tactics and concepts that, if understood, can help.
Here are just a few of those tactics and concepts for improving your prospecting:
- Your prospect is only sharing symptoms
- Speaking your prospect's language
- The prospect's side of a sales interaction
We also have plenty of tools available to help optimize your time spent during the sales process. First up is a video to show you one huge thing you should eliminate in your sales process.
Next up is a fantastic book, Prospect the Sandler Way. Author and Sandler trainer John Rosso shares 30 core principles for mastering lead development.
You can read more and even download a free sample chapter here:
Finally, you may want or need the hands-on help we gave the roofing client we talked about in this example. If your team needs help in order to deliver consistent, dependable results, we would be happy to have a conversation.