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May 7th, 2003  

Sales & Sales Management Newsletter
For Better Results, Goals & Success


This issue deals with prospect qualifying versus disqualifying - turning "hope" into a quantifiable sale.

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If You Can't Get a "Yes", Get a "No", Then Get Out!
by Ted Gulas

This spring found Billy Bob making another round of follow-up calls to prospects who expressed a strong and positive desire to purchase his products. All told, Billy Bob was spending close to 35% of his sales time following-up with customers at the final stages of the sales cycle. Despite his persistent weekly attempts, no tangible results were manifesting themselves. To make matters worse, these prospects seemed very convincing and positive in their interest for Billy Bob's solutions lending a sense of frustration to his efforts..

"Hope-ism" runs wild with the traditional sales person. As a result, they begin to believe the many positive things they hear in an initial meeting. By exhibiting the typical trust and optimism that characterize most salespeople, you have fallen into the prospect's game of hide and seek. This "hope-ism" precluded Billy Bob from setting proper ground rules so now he is stuck without a clear future or quantifiable next step with repercussions.

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Mary Sue, Billy Bob's sales manager, quickly realized the opportunity loss in this traditional selling model. She proceeded to outline a recovery plan that included a tactic for regaining control of the selling situation. As discussed earlier, tactics are no good in a vacuum. This meant she had to work on Billy Bob's attitude and convince him that his job was to disqualify his prospects. This meant his focus needed to be on getting a "no" by changing his self talk from "I may still have a chance" to "They are wasting my time".

To verify that self talk, Bill Bob needs to find a way to get through to the prospect and explain that he has not been reading the signals very well and, based on their failure to return his calls, he believes that they have no interest in moving forward so he's going to close the file. If they are truly interested, they'll tell Billy Bob. If not, he has just freed himself to spend his time on the highest pay back activity.


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