Come on, admit it - you're guilty of re-gifting and it haunts you every time you see the person who gave you the gift you secretly rejected. But what if the concept of re-gifting could be applied to strategically improve your sales performance and without any regret? Here is why I think you should consider giving some of your 'prospects' to the competition this Christmas.
Time is the most important resource in sales. Our use of time, more than the number of available prospects in the market, is what constrains performance. The amount of effort required for winning small and more difficult deals is not that much different than the time and effort required in winning larger opportunities when there is value alignment. I see sales people regularly wasting their precious time with 'prospects' that represent a low probability of becoming customers. The best thing you can do as a sales person is to intelligently, not lazily, 'qualify out' of low probability business so you can invest heavily in the opportunities worth pursing.
The most successful sales people target well and then qualify meticulously. They out-invest their competition on the deals they know they can win. These are the opportunities where you have access to the right relationship to influence and create best value in their eyes, where you can discover and also influence their evaluation and procurement processes. And most importantly, where you can engineer a winning strategy.
How do you decide which prospects to re-gift to your competitors this Christmas? It's simple - don't become stuck or delegated down to people who exhibit these traits: They don't know what's gong on in terms of timing, decision criteria and process. They are disconnected from real power. They endlessly ask for more information. They deny you access to senior stakeholders and decision-makers. They cannot explain the business case. They have no interest in discussing risk. They cannot articulate what the project or initiative needs to deliver in terms of business outcomes.
Be gracious as you cast your unsuitable prospects adrift as part of a deliberate strategy to treasure the time and resources of your organization. Wish them all the very best - it's a small world and there is every chance they'll be back if you do it right. Yes, you may also choose to move them into the lead nurture program run by marketing.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: comedy_nose
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