Too many salespeople suffer from having to discount the price to close the sale. We can talk all we want about the need to create value for the customer, but if the salesperson still decides to cut the price, then clearly something is not right. To understand this problem, we need to go upstream and look at the start of the sales process.
Often, we can attribute the need to discount to the reality that we have bad prospects. Salespeople spend too much time trying to turn a bad lead into a great customer. All leads are not created equal, and all prospects don’t turn out to be customers.
Consider the following example: If you’re looking for someone to fix your car, you don’t call your dry cleaner. If you want someone to fix your car, you look for an auto mechanic. Likewise, if you want a certain type of customer, then that’s the type you need to be prospecting.
It’s not just essential to prospect; it’s essential to pursue the right prospects. Too many sales pipelines are full of junk that is only doing one thing: keeping salespeople from spending time with great prospects. The sooner we realize that the problem with discounting might be connected to prospecting, the sooner we can embrace a prospecting process that targets the high-value prospect.
Traditionally, the approach has always been to never give up on a prospect, because with enough effort, even the most stubborn prospect will eventually see value and buy. That might have been true 10 years ago, when the pool of prospects was limited. Today, the marketplace is exponentially bigger, thanks to the internet.
What this means is the prospect you don’t like might very well be a prospect someone else does, and we need to get over the mindset that we have to protect every prospect as if they were gold.
Today, our approach must be: If we can’t qualify the prospect quickly, then it’s time to move on to the next one. This does not mean we give up completely and view prospects as if they’re nothing more than a reset button on a video game. No, what it means is each prospect is not worthy of an equal amount of our time.
A bad sales myth is the one that says your most valuable asset are your leads. I disagree with this. Your leads are not your most valuable asset. Your most valuable asset is your own time, and the sooner you know how important your time is, the sooner you’ll stop clinging to prospects you can’t move through your sales process.
If you’re my prospect and I can’t qualify you, then I must be willing to let go of you and move to a prospect where my time is going to have a greater return.
This is why it’s absolutely imperative that we have different contact strategies based on the prospect with whom we are dealing. Moving a name out of a prospecting sales funnel and into a “marketing awareness” funnel is not a sign of giving up on a prospect. What it means is the prospect is not going to take time from you that could be better spent with a high-value prospect.