70 Ruthless Qualification Part 3

Ruthless Qualification Part 3

 

Qualifying a sales opportunity is not a single, isolated event. It’s not a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing. 

 

Ruthless Qualification occurs throughout the entire sales process… every step of the way… from Preparation to Proactive Prospecting to Discovery to Validation and Proof, even down to Negotiations.

 

Each opportunity you and your sales team decide to pursue represents an investment in time, resources, and energy. You don’t want to waste these investments. 

 

Sell Internally First

When multiple members of a selling team are involved, it is important to sell internally first. Here’s why:

 

  • You will be more effective in getting sales resources to help work on your opportunity. In order to energize your team to work selling opportunities, you need to get their buy-in.

 

  • You can establish an internal advocate within your company. This could be your sales manager or another executive. Treat this internal team like an external customer. 

 

  • You can articulate to your team the qualification you have done in advance and describe why it makes sense to spend valuable time and effort to tackle this specific opportunity.

 

Involving your key team members in the qualification steps will help you make a joint decision on whether and how to proceed. 

 

Dragging your team through a poorly qualified opportunity wastes precious time and resources and will make it more difficult to get them on board next time.

 

Enlist the advice of your sales team so you can decide together whether to pursue an opportunity, pull the plug, or change your strategy. Then they will be more enthusiastic to follow your lead. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

69 Ruthless Qualification Part 2

Ruthless Qualification Part 2

 

Ruthless qualification describes the need to rigorously qualify sales opportunities throughout engagement with your customer. Identifying the right sales opportunities frees up time and resources so that instead of wasting time on sales cycles where the customer’s eventual answer will be “NO!” you can focus on customers, opportunities, and strategies that will result in winning a higher percentage of deals. 

 

Ruthless qualification can help you avoid situations where you invest significant time in sales opportunities that are hanging by a thread. You know those situations: you rack your brain trying to figure out how you can move your opportunity forward, but your prospective customer is not really engaged and seems to be uninterested in solving business issues. The customer isn’t placing a high priority on your project because they are distracted with other, seemingly more urgent projects or business issues. 

 

When things don’t seem to be going anywhere, a much better approach is to disqualify a prospective customer early through ruthless qualification. 

 

Find out what your customer’s requirements are early on and whether your customer will agree to your evaluation plan. Gain access to customer executives who will eventually make the final decision. Develop a sponsor who can coach you. If none of this is possible, make the difficult decision to walk away. Then go find better opportunities that you can win.

 

Learn to employ “ruthless qualification” so you can be smarter about the opportunities you want to pursue. Review every opportunity in your sales pipeline and be honest about your ability to advance and win those opportunities. Be prepared to ask for the “No” and the other difficult questions that will qualify or disqualify these opportunities.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

68 Ruthless Qualification Part 1

Ruthless Qualification Part 1

 

Ruthless qualification is an approach to rigorously qualify your sales opportunities at every step in the sales process. To qualify “ruthlessly” means to ask the tough questions and requires honest answers along the way. Here are seven good questions you should ask yourself:

 

1) Are you closely engaged with your customer? Is the customer spending time and resources with your team? Who else is the customer spending time with, like partners or competitors?

 

2)  Can your solutions deliver substantial value? Can you prove it if asked?

 

3) Is your initiative a priority for your customer?

 

4) Have you identified a sponsor or champion within your customer’s organization who will advocate for your solution? Does that sponsor or champion have the power and influence to get a deal done?

 

5) Have you identified multiple sponsors within your customer organization so that you are not “single threaded”?

 

6) Have you identified the personal and professional wins for your sponsors?

 

7) Have you mapped out who within your customer organization prefers your solution and who prefers your competitors? Do you have a plan for winning over or neutralizing those who are against you?

 

If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, it raises red flags about your potential to win. These also show the areas where you still need to do some work. 

 

If you are unable to check the boxes and change the “no” answers to “yes”, you need to make the difficult decision to walk away from the opportunity. Then you can spend your team’s time, energy, and resources on more highly qualified opportunities where you have a much better chance of winning. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

67 Say What You Mean – No Problem

Say What You Mean – No Problem 

 

A prior briefing discussed “Junk Words and Phrases” and how you should focus on eliminating them from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. Remember that Junk Words and Phrases are just extra words that creep into your language, but they provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional.

 

“No problem” is a junk phrase that has crept into the business world from more informal social settings. For example: 

 

A patron at a tavern asks the bartender: “Can you get me another drink?

 

Bartender: No problem.

 

In the business world, this is usually an affirmative response to a specific request, as in: 

 

“Can you explain more about how you would improve our sales forecasting?”

 

“Sure. No problem” 

 

When interacting with customers, a response of “no problem” is lazy and is off target. Your customer really doesn’t care whether it’s a problem for you—they just want to understand more. That’s why they asked. 

 

Instead, use an affirmative response like this:  

 

“Can you explain more about how you would improve our sales forecasting?”

 

“Yes,” “Certainly,” 

 

or even “Sure. Glad you brought that up. You will love this.”

 

Next time, you are tempted to respond with “No Problem”, remember that is a Junk Phrase that should be stricken from your vocabulary… except maybe when you are at a tavern. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com.

 

66 Reinvention Commitment

Reinvention Commitment

 

Throughout my career, I’ve been aware of the need for reinventing my approach, my skills, and myself. 

 

I began my career on the technical side, where what was most important was how much I knew. 

 

When I transitioned to a sales role, I quickly learned that it wasn’t how much I knew. What was most important was how I could effectively articulate a powerful customer message. 

 

Initially, I was terrible at presenting. I was nervous and hated the thought of speaking in front of a group. 

 

With substantial hard work and practice, and the help of some outstanding sales leaders, I reinvented myself to become a good, then a great communicator. 

 

After several very successful years, I was faced with new challenges. Customers were becoming much more discerning before committing to purchase a solution. They needed compelling reasons to act, which no longer seemed compelling. 

 

I was trying to use the same selling tactics that worked in the past, but the market had changed. My old sales approach was no longer effective. 

 

Then, significant health issues kept me grounded. I used that time to learn the latest selling techniques. 

 

Thankfully, I was later able to return to a full-time selling role. Once again, my commitment to reinvention turned out to be a key factor in generating new successes for me. I became a top producer on high-powered selling teams for two of the best corporations in the world. 

 

Bottom line is that I made every mistake possible and experienced some unfortunate setbacks during my career. What I have repeatedly realized is this: Commitment to reinvention helped me bounce back after getting knocked down. 

 

My hope is that by embracing the insights in these briefings, you will understand the importance of reinventing yourself throughout your sales career.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com