The average solutions salesperson wins 2.5 out of every 10 deals. A big reason for that performance stems from chasing unqualified opportunities. That is the blunt truth. Every funnel yields a large number of opportunities that are stuck and are not moving into the final pipeline phase. There are 4 things that every salesperson MUST do with their funnel. Fill it, move it, close it….or kill it.
Being brutal with the qualification approach will clear out the opportunities that are not viable leaving the ones that are. There are 6 vulnerabilities that are present within each opportunity that need to be addressed before it can be closed.
Ask these critical questions:
- What is the strategy?
- Do you understand the decision process?
- Do you have the right relationships?
- Can you navigate the political environment?
- Do you have a compelling value proposition?
- Can you create deal momentum?
A sales foundation for advancement and closure is based on information. The more you know about the client, their business, the people, the politics, and their key initiatives—the better prepared you are to sell your solution. The majority of salespeople will conduct fundamental research on their clients but fail to cover all of the critical items for a higher probability of success. Remember…the key to success is information.
Looking closer at the value proposition, there are guiding questions that are integral to the development of a sales strategy that will help determine if yours is compelling enough for client engagement:
- What am I trying to do? Can I explain it in very simple language that anyone outside my industry would understand?
- How will my solution move the needle for the client? Will it affect their revenue, their expenses, their margin, customer acquisition, or churn? How will it affect their internal processes?
- Who wins politically as a result of the adoption of your solution?
- Why should they buy the solution? What happens if they do nothing? Is there any pain associated with taking no action?
- Why should they buy it from your company? What makes you different?
Answering these questions in a clear and concise fashion is tough. The lack of answers may be the vital clue to help you become unstuck in that opportunity. Coaching and gaining insight into the account opportunity is the next step. While discussing or coaching the opportunity, we have to learn to avoid the following deadly phrases: “I believe,” “I assume,” “I think,” or “I suspect.” Winning a deal is about having FACTS, not assumptions. If you do not know for sure, find out. Leaving any of the questions unanswered may well kill the deal.
The more strategic information you have, the better your chances of winning. Strengthening your areas of vulnerability and your value proposition will immediately make a measurable impact in your ability to advance and close more business.
Review the top 3 deals in your pipeline. If you were to lose these…which of the 6 vulnerabilities would be your major weakness? Walk through the value proposition questions to determine if you can answer them. If not, start asking the tough questions.